An Airman's Story: Major Reed McKinley Chambers

Born on August 18, 1894, Major Reed McKinley Chambers left his home in Onaga, Kansas, young and enlisted in the Tennesse National Guard.

He served through the Mexican Expedition and then transferred to the Army Signal Corps (U.S. Airforce precursor) and was assigned to the 94th Aero Pursuit Squadron during World War I.  He is credited with seven victories.

His post-war project, Florida Airways (with partner Eddie Rickenbacker), went bankrupt due to damages suffered because of a hurricane.  As aircraft insurance did not exist then, there was no way to recoup the losses.

Major Chambers' next project, the founding of the United States Aircraft Insurance Group (with David Beebe), created the aircraft insurance industry.

He died in St Tomas, US Virgin Islands, on January 16, 1972.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

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