Some call him the “badass of the badasses.” Some called him “Sunny.” His West Point classmates known him as “Pewt” or “Benny.” His immediate subordinates and headquarters staff simply referred to him as “The Chief.” Undoubtedly, Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold was a “happy” and “sunny” “badass” “chief”. An aviation pioneer instructed in flying by the Wright Brothers themselves, General “Hap” Arnold was one of the first three rated pilots in the history of the U.S. Air Force who, among many other things, supervised the expansion of the Air Service during World War I.
Subsequently, General Arnold rose to command the Army Air Forces immediately prior to America’s entry into World War II, and as the Chief of the Air Corps (1938–1941) and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces, he directed its hundred-fold expansion from an organization of little more than 20,000 men and 800 first-line combat aircraft into the largest and most powerful air force in the world. Perhaps even more famously, he became the only U.S. Air Force general to hold five-star rank, and held the grades of General of the U.S. Army and General of the U.S. Air Force, the only officer to hold a five-star rank in TWO different U.S. military services. As military careers go, it doesn’t go higher than that. Beyond impressive, it’s legendary.