Benjamin Foulois

Ranked #211 on the list Best Military Person of All Time

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About Benjamin Foulois

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Benjamin Delahauf Foulois (December 9, 1879 – April 25, 1967) was a United States Army general who learned to fly the first military planes purchased from the Wright Brothers. He became the first military aviator as an airship pilot, and achieved numerous other military aviation "firsts". He led strategic development of the Air Force in the United States. Benjamin "Benny" Delahauf Foulois was born on December 9, 1879, in Washington, Connecticut, to the son of a French veteran of the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), and a Boston-born nurse. At age 18 he used his older brother’s birth certificate to enlist in the Army to support the Spanish-American War, but arrived in Puerto Rico just weeks before the armistice was signed. As an engineer, he fought off the rampant tropical diseases, and after five months, was shipped home and mustered out. On June 17, 1899, Foulois enlisted again, as a private in the Regular Army and was assigned to the 19th Infantry, where he achieved the grade of first sergeant. After service in the Philippines at Luzon, Panay and Cebu, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on July 9, 1901. Foulois was transferred to the 17th Infantry, and served in Manila,

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