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Architect of Air PowerGeneral Laurence S. Kuter and the Birth of the US Air Force$
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Brian D. Laslie

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813169989

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813169989.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Architect of Air Power

Brian D. Laslie

University Press of Kentucky

On 30 September 1974, General Laurence S. Kuter, US Air Force retired, sat on a small chair in his apartment in Naples, Florida. He wore an open-collar button-down short-sleeved shirt and pants with a pattern of crossed golf clubs. His skin was a deep bronzed color thanks to the days in retirement spent on the golf courses of the southwestern Florida coastal city. At nearly seventy years of age, he still looked every part an air force general. With the general in his apartment sat two air force historians who were there to conduct an oral history interview to preserve the historical value of the general’s life from his earliest days through World War I and his experiences in the newly formed US Air Force of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. It was part of a program that Brigadier General Kuter himself authorized in the early days of American involvement in World War I when he directed that the Air Staff Historical Section gather history “while it is hot” and that “personnel be selected and an agency set up for a clear historian’s job without axe to grind or defense to prepare.” That directive, signed in July 1942, and the documents, interviews, mission reports, and other items collected during the war became the nucleus of the official archives of the US Air Force, now held at the Air Force Historical Research Agency. This was made possible because Kuter directed that that material be collected, preserved, and archived. Kuter himself might have been unaware at the time that so much of his own story would be captured by this program and that years later his personal remembrance of events would itself be archived away as an official report....

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