Gen. Carl “Tooey” Spaatz
This page is dedicated to the memory of my great uncle, Gen. SpAatz (1891-1974).
In 1967, my great uncle, Carl “Tooey” Spaatz, was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. His portrait stands in the entrance to the Reuben H. Fleet aerospace museum in San Diego. As a boy, I marveled whenever I saw it, though I didn't quite know who he was. In short, Gen. Spaatz was commander over American aviation throughout WWII, and later formed the Air Force.
“After VE day he was transferred to the Pacific and assumed command of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific as part of the Pacific Theatre of Operations, with headquarters on Guam, in July 1945. From this command, Spaatz directed the strategic bombing of Japan, including the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Spaatz had been present at Reims when the Germans surrendered to the Americans on May 7, 1945; at Berlin when they surrendered to the Russians on May 9; and aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered on September 2. He was the only man of General rank or equivalent present at all three of these acts of surrender.” In fact, he was responsible for first organizing the Air Force! “Unlike many of his contemporaries,” however, “Tooey Spaatz maintained his low-profile image to the end and never wrote his memoirs, since he thought that would be too self-serving.”
A PILOT DISTINGUISHED FOR BRAVERY
“An incident during World War I demonstrated exactly what he thought was his true military calling. Spaatz, then a major, was training fighter pilots in France. He desperately wanted to join the air war, but his superiors had denied his repeated attempts at getting a transfer to the front lines. In 1918 Spaatz took matters into his own hands. In a flagrant act of insubordination, he literally walked away from his post and joined the fighting with a nearby aerial pursuit group.”
- NAHF Enshrinement
- Early Aviators page.
- Air Force Biography
- “Carl A. Spaatz: an Air Power Strategist” (6/12/2006) Aviation History Magazine
- Letter authorizing him to drop the nuclear bombs on Japan
THE DEDICATED: The General's Advice to Maj. Olds
“… In the military, they mostly divide themselves into four major categories. There are the ‘Me-Firsters,’ the ‘Me-Tooers,’ the ‘Deadwood,’ and the ‘Dedicated.’ You are among the minority, the Dedicated. Stick with them, search them out, and work hard to be worthy of their company. You won’t be popular with a lot of your bosses who act dedicated but really aren’t and that can make life difficult at times. Beware of the Deadwood. Most of them mean well and, in their own way, try hard, are loyal, and are even useful. But too often they’ll botch things up and get you and your outfit in trouble.”
“Watch out for the Me-Tooers. These guys will tell you whatever they think you want to hear. They borrow thoughts and ideas from others and present them to you as though they were their own. They are the opportunists who look for every avenue to advance themselves without sticking their own necks out. They ride someone’s coattails and try to make themselves indispensable to the boss. Believe me, they are not to be trusted. You don’t want yes-men around you, but you can’t always avoid them.”
“The worst and most dangerous are the Me-Firsters. Most of them are intelligent and totally ruthless. They use the service for their own gain and will not hesitate to stick a knife in your back at the slightest indication you might stand in their way. They seem arrogant, but don’t be fooled. They are really completely lacking in true self-confidence.”
— from Fighter Pilot, by Robbin Olds.