Chairman Wadsworth

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With the fate of Colonel Mitchell on the way to being determined by the reviewing authorities in the War Department and by the President, Congress began to bestir itself. It went about it in two ways:

Representative Black of New York (Democrat) offered a bill excluding wearers of the D. S. O. and Congressional Medal of Honor from being tried by court martial. Representative LaGuardia of New York (Socialist, former Republican) introduced a bill limiting sentences upon such medal wearers to 30 days —and made the measure retroactive so that Colonel Mitchell would be affected.

Congressman Blanton of Texas (Democrat) proposed a resolution 1) abolishing courts martial in times of peace; 2) making Colonel Mitchell a Brigadier General and Chief of the Army Air Service; 3) giving him $5,000 reimbursement for standing trial; 4) imposing on Brigadier General Drum (Assistant Chief of Staff) and Major General Nolan (Acting Chief of Staff) the same sentence given Colonel Mitchell by the court martial; 5) depriving Brigadier General King and Major General Graves, two of the Court, of half their pay for five years.

Representative Tillman of Arkansas (Democrat) contented himself by declaring:

"This Court finds Colonel Mitchell guilty of violating the 96th Article of War and harshly penalizes him by retaining him in the Army but suspends hm from work, command and duty with forfeiture of all pay for five years. The officers of this Court did not dismiss Mitchell from the Army, but retained him so that he could not pose as a martyr nor indulge in further criticism.

"The court martial seeks to inflict an unusual and cruel punishment. This sentence is a shameless one. If the Court dismissed the Colonel he could go to work, but he is retained without pay and cannot do so. This verdict insults free America.

"It seems that in this trial the usual military procedure was not allowed to take its ordinary course, but a Court was organized to 'get' the Colonel, and this spurred and booted inquisition 'got' him in double-quick time.

"I call upon the granite-faced and granite-souled President of this justice-loving nation to mitigate or quash this harsh sentence." Congress began to consider the more important question of what should be done about aviation in the Army and Navy. It had two options: to create a single united air service for Army and Navy under a Department of National Defense, as proposed by Colonel Mitchell and as proposed by a special committee of the House of which Colonel Mitchell's lawyer, Congressman Reid, is a member; or to follow the recommendation of the President's Aircraft Board, headed by Dwight W. Morrow, which recommended few major changes in organization except the creation of Assistant Secretaries in the War, Navy and Commerce Departments.

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