Brief History of the Order of Daedalians

Click for more on Billy Mitchell.The Order of Daedalians had its genesis in 1921 when Brigadier General William "Billy" Mitchell, Assistant Chief of the Army Air Service, urged the creation of an organization that would perpetuate forever the deeds and memories of the first American pilots who, in W.W. I, were the first to fly our country's airplanes in time of war. Present to hear General Mitchell was then Lieutenant Harold L. George who, 13 years later, on 26 March 1934, at Maxwell Field, Alabama, as one of 35 W.W. I Regular Army commissioned pilots, formally established the Order of Daedalians to "... perpetuate the spirit of patriotism, the love of country, the memories, sad and pleasant, of our service during that period (W.W.I) and to further cement the ties of comradeship which bound us together in that critical hour of our nation's need...."

There were over 14,000 W. W. I aviators who were commissioned as officers and rated as military pilots no later than the Armistice on 11 November 1918. Virtually all have been identified, and each, whether living or dead, has a founder Membership in the Order of Daedalians even though some did not, during their lifetime, participate as active members. In the early years active membership was open only to Founder Members and their descendants (Hereditary Members.) In the early fifties Named Memberships were authorized for active or retired commissioned officers in the military services and their reserve components who are rated as military pilots of heavier-than-air powered aircraft. Named, as well as Hereditary Members are assigned to perpetuate the Founder Memberships of W.W. I military pilots, thereby insuring perpetuity for the Order of Daedalians. A qualified applicant interested in membership must be nominated by an active Daedalian and the application, endorsed by three other active Daedalians, must then be sent to National Headquarters for approval.

In 1959 the Order of Daedalians established the Daedalian Foundation to conduct educational, scientific and charitable activities in support of the Order's Tenets and Objectives. The Foundation is an IRS tax-exempt 501(C) (3) organization that relies on contributions,donations and bequests from the Daedalian membership to fund a comprehensive and varied scholarship program. The Foundation also publishes the Daedalus Flyer, the official journal of the Order of Daedalians.

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