The activities of the various Allied Control Commissions extended into every corner of German industry. Every German factory or business was searched for arms, munitions, planes, etc. The members of these commissions, were mostly businessmen in uniform who were really looking for German inventions and exploitable ideas. What they could use, they confiscated. What looked to be of no commercial value was destroyed and every foreigner was suspect.

     In May, 1920 Major Benjamin D. Foulois was designated American Military Attaché (Aviation) in Germany. The war had not dampened the German imagination or their enthusiasm. Much information was still hidden below ground in tunnels and cellars which no foreigner could see and if the United States was going to reap any benefits from German research and advancements of the flying art, the only thing to do was to approach them openly and offer to pay for their inventions. That would be the mission for Major Foulois and his staff.

Assignment in Europe

     In March, 1921 Major Geiger was reassigned to serve as Assistant Military Attaché (Aviation), the Hague, Netherlands and was soon working in conjunction with Major Foulois at the American Commissioner in Berlin, Germany. Frances and daughter Gretchen accompanied him to Europe and on June 16, 1921, while in Berlin, Frances gave birth to a son, whom they named Willison Bridges Geiger.

The USS Los Angeles

     Early in 1922 Major Geiger participated in United States government negotiations with the Zeppelin Company in Berlin, pending the purchase and construction for the U. S. Navy of the largest rigid airship ever made at that time (658 feet long), the ZR-3 (Zeppelin Rigid III). Major Geiger was respected by Dr. Hugo Eckener, chairman of Luftschiffbau Zeppelin, having been very helpful in earlier negotiations to obtain an airship for the United States Army in 1919. This project had the dual effect of giving the United States the technological edge in zeppelin construction and providing enough money for Zeppelin to stay in business. Designated "hull design LZ-126," construction began that summer.

     Major Geiger along with Commander Horace T. Dyer, USN and Charles P. Burgess, the civilian expert in the U. S. Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics, were the first Americans (as observers) ever allowed to visit the Zeppelin plant in Friedrichshafen after the war. Over a three-day period, January 19-22, 1922 they were taken on an extensive tour of the plant and the Maybach engine works. On September 6, 1922, Major Geiger was one of five Americans to take part in the second test flight of the ZR-3. The flight lasted 9 hours, 32 minutes and covered 475 miles over Munich, Regensburg, Nuremberg, and Stuttgart.

     On the morning of October 12, 1922 the ZR-3 departed Friedrichshafen on its transatlantic flight to the United States under the command of Dr. Eckener with Major Geiger on board. Approximately 85 hours later on October 15th, shortly before 10:00am, it arrived at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, New Jersey and was officially turned over to the U. S. Navy.

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