Post-War Duty

     The Army Air Service had no dirigibles during the war but wanted to get into the airship business after the Armistice. Colonel Chandler, Chief, Balloon Section, A.E.F., Lt. Colonel Geiger, and others concerned with lighter-than-air aviation saw a great future in the use of airships for regulating artillery fire, patrolling the border and coast, protecting harbors, performing reconnaissance, and perhaps transporting men and material. With the ending of hostilities in Europe Lt. Colonel Geiger asked for and was placed on research and investigation work in connection with dirigibles in England, France and Italy. He took and completed the course of instruction in the operation of dirigibles at the Center Ecole d'Aeronautique, Rochefort, France, and completed a partial course of instruction at the Italian Airship School at Ciampino, Rome, Italy.

     Early in 1919 the Air Service began building an airship station at Langley Field, Virginia, bought some small non-rigid airships, and began planning for larger, semi-rigid and rigid airships. Negotiations were held with the German and Italian governments concerning the construction of airships for the Army; however, under a later decision of the Joint Board, the Navy would be the only branch of the military to undertake development of rigid airships. In 1921 the Army did purchased the (ill-fated) semi-rigid airship ROMA from the Italian firm Umberto Nobile; however, under a later decision of the Joint Board, the Navy would be the only branch of the military to undertake the development of rigid airships.

     Lt. Colonel Geiger returned to the United States in June, 1919. In August, 1919 he was on duty in the Office of the Director of Air Service in Washington, D.C. and served there until March, 1920, when he was assigned to command the Army Balloon School at Ross Field, Arcadia, California (The present site of Santa Anita Race Track). On July 1, 1920, his temporary wartime rank reverted back to the Regular Army rank of major.

Foreign Intrigue

     In the spring of 1920 an American Military Attaché (Aviation) was needed in Germany who had practical knowledge and experience in both lighter and heavier-than-air machines. The Allies were putting the air terms of the treaty-of-peace into effect through the Aeronautical Inter-Allied Commission of Control. Since the treaty had not been ratified by the Senate, the United States had no representations on the commission. The net result was that the United States was getting nothing in the way of military, technical, and industrial data from the Germans who had been ahead of United States technologically throughout the war. If the United States did not have representatives in Germany who knew valuable data when they saw it, it could hamper American aviation progress for decades.

     Technically, since no peace treaty had been ratified, the United States was still at war with Germany. All official German sources of air information were available only to the representatives of the countries which had fought Germany during the war; however, since the United States had not signed the Treaty of Versailles, the English, French, and Italians would not give it access to any air information they had ac

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