Establishment of first Aeronautical Division

On Aug. 1, 1907, the U.S. Army Signal Corps established a small Aeronautical Division to take “charge of all matters pertaining to military ballooning, air machines and all kindred subjects.”

The Signal Corps began testing its first airplane at Fort Myer, Va., on Aug. 20, 1908, and on Sept. 9, Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge, flying with Orville Wright, was killed when the plane crashed. He was the first military aviation casualty. After more testing with an improved Wright Flyer, the Army formally accepted this airplane, identified as “Airplane No. 1,” on Aug. 2, 1909.