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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1903

Vol. V

(Born Cal.)

Thomas E. Selfridge

(Ap'd Cal.)


Thomas Etholen Selfridge: Born Feb. 8, 1882, San Francisco, CA.​a

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, Aug. 30, 1899 to June 11, 1903, when he was graduated and promoted in the army to

(Second Lieut., Artillery Corps)

Served: Garrison duty at Fort Morgan, Ala., to July, 1904; at the Presidio of San Francisco, Cal., to Aug. 22, 1906; Instructor in Ordnance and Gunnery, at the Military Academy, West Point, N. Y., from Aug. 22, 1906

(First Lieut., Artillery Corps, Jan. 25, 1907)

(Assigned to 5th Field Artillery, June 6, 1907)

to Aug. 12, 1907; with Professor Bell,​b pertaining to aeronautical experiments,

(Transferred to 1st Field Artillery, Jan. 30, 1908)

to Sept. 17, 1908.

Died at Fort Myer, Va., Sept. 17, 1908, due to falling aeroplane, in which he was an occupant: Aged 26.​c

See Annual Association of Graduates, U. S. M. A., 1909, for an obituary notice, with a portrait.

Buried, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

Thayer's Notes:

a The birth data I give here are from printed sources; all secondary, however.

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b Alexander Graham Bell. A photograph of Lt. Selfridge with Bell is shown on the Arlington Cemetery page (linked to above under his place of burial).

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c Lt. Selfridge was one of the very first persons to die in a powered aircraft, and possibly the first; the pilot on the flight was Orville Wright, designer of the plane they were testing. For extensive details, including photos of Lt. Selfridge and of the crash, see the Arlington Cemetery page (linked to above under his place of burial). Some additional details of his flying experience and of the accident are given in Turnbull and Lord, History of United States Naval Aviation, p4.

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Page updated: 10 Feb 15