A writer of history will attempt to read the whole record of the past so far as he is able, but since he cannot print the whole record, he will select those events and circumstances that accommodate him, thus it is those selected items of occurrence become the written facts of history.
This narrative has grown out of a long-term interest in the men who took part in the early development of the United States Air Force. Many books and articles have been written that provide in depth treatment of the subject, but in general most tend to focus on the lives of a few well-known leaders such as Hap Arnold, Claire Chennault, Jimmy Doolittle or Billy Mitchell. This is not to say that the contributions made to military aviation by those men have been overstated. I just happen to have a natural curiosity for wanting to know more about the many other pioneer airmen who also shared in helping to shape Air Force history, but whose contributions may have been overshadowed by the presence of a more popular officer, thus their accomplishments may have been understated because of their lesser rank, or for being overlooked because their careers were cut short by any number of possible reasons such as an untimely death. One such man was Major Harold Geiger, USAAC.
Eight decades have passed since the death of Major Geiger one of the founding father's of the Air Force and time has erased or dimmed all hope for any personal recollection by those who may have known him. That is reason enough to be interested in reading a record of the man and I hope that this story will serve as the catalyst for a closer more in-depth search into the life of this versatile and important officer whom historians have failed to offically recognize as a vital link in the pioneering development of military aviation.
October 19, 2007
I am most grateful to the following individuals and organizations that assisted with the research for this account on the life of Major Harold Geiger:
The United States Military Academy, Mr. Alan C. Aimone, Senior Special Collections Librarian and Susan M. Lintelmann; Office of Air Force History, Mrs. Yvonne Kinkaid and LTC Michael J. Nisos, USAF (Ret.); Robert B. Casari; Professor I. B. Holley, Jr., Duke University, Department of History; J. Duncan Campbell, director and curator of military history, Pennsylvania State Museum, retired; and my wife, Laine, who gave me support for this project from beginning to end.
Special acknowledgment goes to Mrs. Gretchen Geiger Hodgins who gave me the inspiration to organize all the research material I had pertaining to her father.