John Henry Towers

John Henry Towers

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John Henry Towers

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John Henry Towers (January 30, 1885 – April 30, 1955) was a United States Navy admiral and pioneer Naval aviator. He made important contributions to the technical and organizational development of Naval Aviation from its very beginnings, eventually serving as Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics (1939–1942). He commanded carrier task forces during World War II, and retired in December 1947. He was the only one of the early Naval Aviation pioneers to survive the extreme hazards of early flight who remained with naval aviation throughout his career. He was the first naval aviator to achieve flag rank and was the most senior advocate for naval aviation during a time when the Navy was dominated by battleship admirals. Towers spent his last years supporting aeronautical research and advising the aviation industry.

Early life and career

Towers was born on 30 January 1885 at Rome, Georgia. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in the Class of 1906, and was commissioned ensign in 1908 while serving aboard the battleship . He was later assigned to the battleship before reporting to the Curtiss Flying School in Hammondsport, New York, on June 27, 1911 for aviation training.

Pioneer naval aviator

Under the tutelage of aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss and Lieutenant Theodore G. Ellyson, Towers qualified as a pilot in August 1911, flying the Navy's first...
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