graduate

Bissel, Clayton Lawrence (1896-1973)


Photograph of Clayton L. Bissel

U.S. Army

Clayton Bissel graduated from law school in 1917 but joined the Air Service, becoming an ace in combat in France during the First World War.  Awarded a regular commission in 1920, he was assistant to Brigadier General "Billy" Mitchell for four years and was a lead pilot in the famous battleship bombing test. He spent five years as a flight instructor and attended the Command and General Staff School.  He was the only fighter ace of the First World War who had remained with the air service throughout the interwar period and was serving with the War Plans Division when war broke out in the Pacific.

In 1942, Bissel became Stilwell’s air chief. This brought him into conflict with Chennault, the maverick leader of the Flying Tigers.  Chennault despised Stilwell and quickly grew to despise Bissel as well. Things got so bad that Chennault eventually received his own air force command, the 14th, while Bissel remained in command of 10 Air Force.  In August of 1943, Bissel returned to the United States and worked in intelligence for the remainder of the war.

Bissel admitted to Congress in 1950 that he had helped cover up the Katyn massacre by the Russians through misuse of classification.

Service record

1896     

Born in Kane, Pennsylvania
1917

Awarded juris doctor from Valparaiso University, Indiana
1917-9

Flight training, Mohawk, Canada
1917-11

Taliaferro Field, Texas
1918-1-12
First lieutenant     
Commissioned into Aviation Section, Signal Reserve. Assigned to 22 Aero Squadron.
1918-7

148 Aero Squadron, France
1918

Commander, 638 American Fighter Squadron, Germany
1919-5

Commander, 27 Aero Squadron, Kelly Field, Texas
1920-1

Commander, Air Service Group, Kelly Field
1920-6

Chief, Tactical Operations Section, Air Service
1920-7-1

Awarded regular commission
1920-12

Air Service Field Officers' School
1921-6

Commander, 14 Squadron
1921-11

Assistant, Chief of the Air Service
1924-12

Secretary, Air Service Board
1926-9

Instructor, Air Corps Tactical School
1930-11-1
Captain

1931-8

Command and General Staf School
1933-8

Army War Collegesite:ibiblio.org/hyperwar
1934-7

Chemical Warfare School
1934-10

Intelligence and operations officer, 18 Pursuit Group, Oahu
1935-3-12
Major

1937-10

Commander, 18 Pursuit Group
1938-7

Naval War College
1939-7

War Plans Division, War Department General Staff
1940-11-16
Lieutenant colonel     

1942-1-5  
Colonel
Aviation officer, China-Burma-India Theater
1942-4-21
Brigadier general

1942-8-18     

Commander, 10 Air Force
1943-3-13
Major general     

1943-8-19

A2, Headquarters, Army Air Forces
1944-2-7

G2, War Department General Staff
1946-5

Air attache, Britain
1948-2-19
Brigadier general (permanent)     
1948-11

Headquarters, United States Air Forces in Europe
1950

Retires
1973-1-1

Dies


References

Air Force Link (accessed 2008-1-14)

Boatner (1996)

Boyne (2001)

Tuchman  (1972)



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