Military aviation began in San Antonio in February 1910 when Lt. Benjamin Foulois arrived in Fort Sam Houston with seventeen (17) crates containing an airplane, accompanied by a number of student mechanics. Foulois, assigned to the aviation section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, had taken three (3) flying lessons from Wilbur Wright. Because of the winter weather at the Signal Corps facility in College Park, Maryland, flight training was moved to Fort Sam Houston. Foulois had orders to assemble the plane, learn to fly it, and train others to fly it. By the outbreak of World War I in 1917, the U.S. Army Signal Corps had thirty-five (35) trained pilots and 200 training pilots. Foulois proved that aviation could be a vital part of military operations and helped establish Texas as a major military aviation center. Foulois rose to the rank of major general and became chief of the Air Corps before he retired in 1935.
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