Patrick, Mason

Patrick, Mason (Mathews)

(1863–1942) soldier, aviator; born in Lewisburg, W.Va. The son of a Confederate army surgeon, he graduated from West Point in 1886 as a classmate of John Pershing. Patrick pursued a quiet career as an army engineer until 1917, when Pershing put him in charge of the American Expeditionary Force's air service. From 1921, as chief of the postwar air service, Patrick fostered experimentation in aircraft design and established a chain of air facilities. He supported the 1926 reorganization that gave the aviation section a new name—the Army Air Corps—and a measure of autonomy.