From Gen Billy Mitchell and the Ostfriesland to 21st Century Aerospace Power

On July 21st, 1921, Brig Gen Billy Mitchell and the First Provisional Air Brigade accomplished what everyone at the time said was impossible: sink the legendary battleship Ostfriesland.

The feat fundamentally transformed what it meant to effectively project military power. World War II, the Cold War, Desert Storm, and modern warfare are all inextricably tied to Mitchell’s vision.

Today, Airmen and Guardians embody Mitchell’s vision by proving the nation’s leaders ways to project smart combat power, not undue vulnerability.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary, the Mitchell Institute team widely engaged to retell the story with a message that we all must carry into the future: Victory through Aerospace Power! 

Explore more with the experts:

Aerospace Advantage Podcast: Episode 32

In episode 32, From the Ostfriesland to the B-21: Billy Mitchell and Modern Aerospace Power, John “Slick” Baum interviews Mitchell Institute experts on the significance of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the German battleship Ostfriesland. The story is first told in its historical context, and the experts dive into how Mitchell’s vision continues to define what it means to effectively project military power today and into the future.

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Keynote Remarks at the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Brigadier General Billy Mitchell’s Sinking of the Battleship Ostfriesland

Lt Gen (Ret.) David A. Deptula, Dean of the Mitchell Institute, was keynote speaker at the commemoration of the historic Ostfriesland sinking that changed the character of modern warfare. The event was hosted by the 1st Fighter Wing and backdropped by a flyover of F-22 Raptors at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia on July 21, 2021. Gen Deptula explains how Brig Gen Billy Mitchell’s vision of a more effective way of war through airpower is inextricably woven into his military career through peace and war. The uplifting message includes a caution if airmen do not educate and advocate for the superior options afforded by airpower, no one else will. The remarks are preserved as a Mitchell Institute Forum paper.

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Related Mitchell Papers

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The Force We Need Bombers for Maritime Strike Beyond the “Bomber”
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