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World War I flying ace Billy Mitchell made aviation history when he bombed battleships off Hatteras in 1923.
If asked to identify visionaries for flight, one might consider the Wright Brothers. Someone else with maven status for advocating airplanes, but perhaps not so well known was General Billy Mitchell. Largely unpopular during his time, Mitchell’s assertion of combining aircraft and naval operations gradually gained support through the efforts of the then Secretary of the Navy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
General Billy Mitchell’s efforts to establish airplanes in naval operations included building an airstrip at Cape Hatteras. The first mission, taking place during the summer of 1923, was proving sinking battleships possible. Ironically, for many people living in the area, it was regarded as much entertainment as witnessing an historic event.