Frank Purdy Lahm
(November 17, 1877 – July 7, 1963) was an American aviation pioneer, the "nation's first military aviator",Simpson, Dr. Alfred F. (1970). "Biographical Sketch of Frank P. Lahm", The World War I War Diary of Col. Frank P. Lahm, Air Service, AEF
, USAF Historical Study No. 141. US Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force Base. p. xvi. and a general officer in the United States Army Air Corps
and Army Air Forces
Lahm developed an interest in flying from his father, a balloonist, and received among the first civil qualification certificates issued. He met the Wright Brothers
in 1907 and used his interest in powered flight to become the Army's first certified pilot in 1909, In 1916 he became a career aviator, serving in the United States Army Air Service
and its successors until his retirement in 1941 at the age of 64, rising to the rank of brigadier general.
Lahm reached mandatory retirement age on the eve of United States participation in World War II but contributed to the growth of the Air Force both during and following the war. Because of his leadership and administration during its construction, Lahm is also known as "the father of Randolph Field