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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Carl Spaatz

General, United States Air ForceTinian Island

United KingdomWashington, DC
Military Veteran

Carl Andrew “Tooey” Spaatz was a general in the United States Air Force.

Spaatz was born in 1891 in Boyertown, PA. He went on to graduate from the United States Military Academy in 1914 and fought as a pilot in World War I. During the interwar years, Spaatz pushed for the expansion of the air force, and established a flight record when in 1929 he kept the Fokker C-2A plane Question Mark airborne for 150 hours and 40 minutes through aerial refueling.

Spaatz was named the first chief of the Air Staff for the Army Air Forces in 1941, and was transferred to the European operations where, among other duties, he studied Britain’s Royal Air Force to plan for future operations. In 1942 he became the commander of the Eighth Air Force, and began bombing raids on German-held territory, with a particular focus on targeting German oil fields. Spaatz also commanded Allied forces in the Mediterranean and in Africa, before returning to England in 1944 to take charge of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe. General Dwight D. Eisenhower described Spaatz as “the best air commander I know.”

After the surrender of Germany, Spaatz was temporarily promoted to oversee the Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, headquartered in Guam. He directed bombing raids on Japan, and with the directive of President Truman, oversaw the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. He was present for all three signings of enemy surrender, at Rheims, Berlin, and Tokyo.

In 1947, Spaatz was appointed the first chief of staff of the newly created United States Air Force. He retired in 1948 with the rank of general. Spaatz died on July 14, 1973, at the age of 83.

Carl Spaatz's Timeline
1891 Born in Boyertown, PA.
1914 Graduated from the United States Military Academy.
1929 Established airborne flight record of 150 hours, 40 minutes.
1945 Aug Ordered the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
1947 Appointed first chief of staff of the United States Air Force.
1973 Jul 14th Died and interred at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado.

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