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Army's Air Service Started as a Component of the Army Signal Corps!

Updated: Mar 7

On Aug. 1, 1907, the U.S. Army Signal Corps established a small Aeronautical Division to "take charge of all matters pertaining to military ballooning, air machines and all kindred subjects”.


The Signal Corps began testing its first airplane at Fort Myer, VA on Aug. 20, 1908, and on Sept. 9, Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge, flying with Orville Wright, was killed when the plane crashed. He was the first military aviation casualty. 


After more testing with an improved Wright Flyer, the Army formally accepted this airplane, identified as "Airplane No. 1," on Aug. 2, 1909. 


The 1st Provisional Aero Squadron, later redesignated the 1st Aero Squadron, began flying activities a few days later. 


Assigned a role in the Punitive Expedition of the Mexican border in 1916, this squadron became the first air combat unit of the U.S. Army.

- Compiled from the Air Force Historical Research Agency

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