Air University Press


The Vital Era

  • Published
  • By Captain David A. Loska, USAF

In the past century, few have done more to establish the Air Force and its logistics enterprise as we know it today than Maj Gen Hugh J. Knerr; fewer still are as unique. An early aviator, Knerr established the first airlift mission and led the procurement effort for the B-17 with Gen Frank Andrews before WWII. After which he led a campaign for the autonomous air force that put him at odds with the War Dept and the White House. During WWII, Knerr led logistics planning efforts to mobilize the Eighth Air Force in European Theater of Operations (ETO) and later amassed theaterwide authority of logistics, aligning the entire logistics effort of the Army Air Forces (AAF) in the ETO. Among many career accomplishments, Knerr ended his career as the USAF’s first Inspector General establishing the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and is accredited with designing the USAF’s dress blue uniform. Little known fact, Knerr’s aviation interests began as a child at the mouth of the wellspring, building kites and scrubbing toilets for the Wright Brothers at their bicycle shop. His memoirs penned in the months preceding his death in 1971, now published, give a personal insight into this formative period of the Air Force and offer the perspective only one of its architects could tell. Further, his pursuit of innovation, disruption of barriers, and challenges to the status quo are exceptionally relevant to present day Air Force as it seeks to accelerate change.

AuthorDavid A. Loska
AU Press CodeB-170

Author of The Vital Era in Which America Nurtured Leaders and Tempered Arms 1887–1950

Captain David A. Loska is a US Air Force logistics officer currently stationed at Kadena AB, Japan. He serves as an aircraft maintenance officer and is responsible for leading the supporting organizations of multiple types of aircraft and their strategic missions. Loska began his military service in the US Navy as an aircraft technician serving aboard the US Carl Vinson and the USS John C. Stennis. 

Captain Loska has published works on the topics of logistics, supply chain management, and military history. He considers it a great honor to help share General Knerr's story and preserve it for posterity. 

Loska is a doctoral candidate at Swansea University, UK, studying the defense supply chain. He received his master of business administration degree from Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY, and a bachelor of science degree in aviation technologies from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL.

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