Taught to fly by the Wright brothers, Henry H. (Hap) Arnold (1886-1950) was commander of the Army Air Forces in World War II and the only air commander ever to attain the five-star rank of general of the armies.

He was especially interested in the development of sophisticated aerospace technology to give the United States an edge in achieving air superiority. He fostered the development of such innovations as jet aircraft, rocketry, rocket-assisted takeoff and supersonic flight.