In July 1941 the air force in the Philippines was still a token force, unable to withstand "even a mildly determined and ill-equipped foe." Air Corps headquarters in Washington had been urging for some time that additional planes be sent to the Philippines and the Joint Board, early in 1940, had proposed an increase in air strength for the island garrison. The following July 1941 Maj. Gen. Henry H. Arnold, chief of the newly created Army Air Forces, came forward with the strongest proposal yet made for the reinforcement of the Philippines. This proposal called for the transfer to the Philippines of four heavy bombardment groups, consisting of 272 aircraft with 68 in reserve, and two pursuit groups of 130 planes each. These planes, wrote Brig. Gen. Carl Spaatz, chief of the Air Staff, would not be used for an offensive mission, but to maintain "a strategical defensive in Asia."



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