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Gen. Frank Andrews, a bomber enthusiast and advocate of an independent air force, who established the command at Langley Field, near Norfolk, Virginia, on March 1 , 1935. The Air Corps had achieved unified command over its combat units in the last major alteration in its command relationship to the Army General Staff until the series of reorganizations preceding the American entry into World War 11. The Army did not activate its own GHQ during the interwar period until the large-scale maneuvers of July 1940.

George C. Marshall, the new Deputy Chief of Staff, and a few other officials. The President surprised his audience by describing an Air Corps of 20,000 planes and an industry capable of producing 24,000 planes a year. Conceding that Congress probably would not approve an Air Corps of more than 10,000 planes, Roosevelt established as his immediate goal 7,500 combat aircraft and 2,500 trainers that, he believed, would serve notice to Hitler. Arnold later described the President’s call for expansion of the air arm as the most important event in the history of the Air Corps, a “Magna Carta” for air power.

When the President presented the new program to Congress on January 12, 1939, he asked for only 6,000 airplanes, 4,000 fewer than the first figure he had proposed in the secret meeting eight weeks earlier. The revised figure included the current inventory, excluding obsolete aircraft and those already authorized for purchase but not yet delivered-an aggregate of about 2,500 airplanes. As a result, new orders would total some 3,000 units and enlarge the Air Corps to 5,500 aircraft. The lesser number allowed for a more orderly development of an institutional structure for Army aviation.

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