Today in Military History: Jan. 16, 1911, first RECON flight

Lt. George E. M. Kelly (L) and Walter Brookins (R) circa 1910-1911.

On January 16, 1911, the first photo reconnaissance flight is flown by Walter Brookins, the first pilot trained by the Wright brothers. He was accompanied by Lt. George E. M. Kelly. They were unsuccessful because ground troops hid in a wooded area and photo equipment wasn’t up to par to spot the troops.

Lt. Kelly died in a plane crash four months later at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Kelly was an Englishman who immigrated to America and after naturalization he joined the U.S. Army. He was the first American military aviator to lose his life due to a crash of an airplane he was piloting.

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