Arago: Exhibits


The Army

On May 15th, 1918 the airmail service began in front of a number of important government officials, including President Woodrow Wilson himself. Mail, destined for New York was given to Lieutenant George Boyle, he mounted his JN-4H, and promptly flew toward eastern Maryland.

After this inauspicious start, the army flew the mail for two months, officially leaving the airmail business on August, 9th, 1918. That was when the Post Office Department took over the US Airmail Service in its own right.

Army Air Corps pilots Maj. Reuben Fleet and Lt. George Boyle 
Photographer: Unknown
Date created: May 15, 1918
Major Reuben Fleet of the Army Air Corps (left) and Lieutenant George Boyle (right) standing near a Curtiss Jenny (JN-4H) airplane on May 15, 1918. Major Fleet was tasked by the U.S. Army and the Post Office Department with arranging the first regularly schedule airmail service flights in the United States. The flights began on May 15, 1918 with flights between Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New York City. Major Fleet and Lt. Boyle were photographed at Washington’s temporary airmail field on the polo grounds near the Potomac River. 
The pair are admiring Major Fleet’s new wristwatch. The Hamilton Watch company presented each of the Army Air Corps airmail pilots with a new wristwatch in honor of their historic flights. 
Benjamin Lipsner Photographic Collection

Army Airmail pilot Major Ruben Fleet (on the left) shows Lt. George Boyle the watch given to him by the Hamilton Watch Company, in honor of the inauguration of the Army Airmail Service.