Kenneth N. Walker: Airpower's Untempered Crusader - World War II Bombardment Advocate, Medal of Honor

Kenneth N. Walker: Airpower's Untempered Crusader - World War II Bombardment Advocate, Medal of Honor

English | 2012 | ASIN: B00908HUU6 | Pages | PDF | 3.01 MB

The same traits of character that marked Kenneth N. Walker's life led to his premature death. His most dominant characteristic, an inner drive that kept him at a fever pitch of intensity, was formed during a hard childhood. He joined the US Army in 1917 at age 19. Until 1928, his career was sound but unexceptional. He found his professional stride as a student at the Air Corps Tactical School in 1928-29, when he embraced the concept of the invincible bomber and made it his crusade. He served as bombardment instructor at the school from 1929 to 1934. Walker's years at the Air Corps Tactical School were critical years in the development of US air doctrine. In that process-an intellectual process that had to be primarily theoretical because experience was so limited-Walker advocated bombardment as the means through which airpower in the future would be expressed. He did extensive work on bomber tactics and plane development, the goal of which was to make the bomber capable of defending itself as well as carrying out its offensive mission. Since he envisioned defense against an enemy's air force being accomplished by bombers that would destroy the enemy's planes and facilities on the ground, he saw little value for the pursuit (fighter) arm.Although the phrase was first voiced by others, Walker became identified with the credo, "The well-organized, well-planned, and well-flown air force attack will constitute an offensive that cannot be stopped." He believed it so fervently and advocated it so vehemently that his very conviction seemed to overcome the nagging doubts of others. Even his supporters agreed that he was "rabid" in his single-mindedness. Claire L. Chennault, his most vocal and visible opponent in the long debate on air doctrine, called him a radical with a blind spot. With limited technology, low appropriations, and an isolationist foreign policy also affecting decisions, the Air Corps moved inexorably toward a doctrine of strategic bombardment as the primary mission of an air force.Chapter 1 - The Formative Years * Chapter 2 - The Spokesman for Bombardment * Chapter 3 - More Schooling and Command * Chapter 4 - Washington and AWPD-l * Chapter 5 - The Southwest Pacific and Fifth Bomber Command * Chapter 6 - Walker's Last Mission * Chapter 7- The Lingering Doubts

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