Oliver George Simmons (July 14, 1878 – April 9, 1948) was a pioneering aviator with the Wright brothers.
He was born in Philadelphia in 1878 to Eller D. and George O. Simmons, and his sibling was Mary E. Simmons.
He enlisted in the Signal Corps he served in the Philippines from 1899 to 1902. He married Dual Leaman of Rockville, Maryland, on July 12, 1904 and they had two daughters: Olive Simmons; and a second daughter who married Tom Lovell. He attended Catholic University, in Washington, D.C. and then returned to the Signal Corps to start his career in aeronautics.
He reported to the Army Signal Corps on October 14, 1909, as a machinist and was the civilian member of the detachment which serviced the first Army Wright biplane at College Park, Maryland, when Wilbur Wright trained Lieutenants Frank Purdy Lahm and Frederick Erastus Humphreys.
He traveled with Army airplane Number 1 when it was shown at the Chicago Electrical Trades Exposition and from there to Fort Sam Houston where Lieutenant Benjamin D. Foulois piloted the plane.
Over the spring months of 1910 he built a wheeled landing gear for the machine to replace the skid and rail system of the Wrights.
In the spring of 1911 the Signal Corps accepted the loan of a new model Wright from Robert J. Collier, which Lieutenant Foulois used.
On July 4, 1912, Simmons and acting Mayor Garretson of Perth Amboy, New Jersey flew a sack of mail from South Amboy, New Jersey to Perth Amboy, the first air mail in New Jersey State history.
In 1935 a bronze tablet was placed at the South Amboy post office to commemorate the event. For ten years, 1926 through 1936, he was president and general manager of the National Tool Company of Cleveland. He died at Bethesda Naval Hospital and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on April 13, 1948.
SIMMONS, OLIVER GEORGE
- PFC SIGNAL CORPS USA
- DATE OF BIRTH: 07/14/1877
- DATE OF DEATH: 04/09/1948
- BURIED AT: SECTION 18 SITE 30224-1
- ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard