General of the Air Force. Pioneer airman who was taught to fly by the Wright Brothers, and commander of Army Air Forces in victory over Germany and Japan in World War II: born Gladwyne, Pa., June 25, 1886, died Sonoma, Calif., Jan. 15, 1950. "Hap" Arnold, as he was fondly known and called, dating from his early days at West Point, was in the class of 1907 at the U.S. Military Academy. From then on his life paralleled the growth of America's air power and he personally contributed to most of the major milestones of development during the long period until he retired in 1946. Three years later, by act of Congress, he received permanent five-star rank as general of the Air Force, the first such commission ever granted.