Victor Herbert Strahm was born October 26, 1895 at Nashville, TN. He was educated through Western Kentucky Teachers College and the University of Kentucky (1917). He married Ruth Schultz on July 3, 1924.
He enlisted as a flying caded in June 1917 and completed his flying training in November. While overseas during WWI, he participated in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives as a member of the 91st U.S. Aero Squadron. He was officially credited with five aerial victories over enemy aircraft, thereby defining him as an "Ace". He earned the Distinguished Service Cross, Croix de Guerre and Silver Star. He remained in the military through September 8, 1919, resigning with the rank of major.
Interestingly, he re-entered the U.S. Army Air Service on July 1, 1920 as a 1st lieutenant and was promoted to captain in June 1928. Below, we see captain Strahm in 1929 standing in front of one of the Curtiss Hawk aircraft of the 1st Pursuit Group which performed during the National Air Races (NAR) that year (August 24-September 2).
Victor H. Strahm, National Air Races, Cleveland, OH, 1929
Strahm landed at Tucson three times. His two visits on September 7 and 18, 1928 were as a member of the 1st Pursuit Group out of Selfridge Field, Detroit, MI. See the link for information about these visits. They appeared to be a major logistical maneuver, moving a large group of military airplanes from Detroit to San Diego, CA and back. His third and final visit was on Wednesday March 18, 1931. He was solo in Boeing P-12-D 31-266. He was eastbound from Riverside, CA to El Paso, TX.
Strahm is pictured very briefly during the 1930 NAR in a motion picture film available at the link (look about 1:51 into the film). During the 1934 NAR Strahm served as a referee during a women's pylon race, the one in which Francis Marsalis was killed. He must have gotten on the women's wrong side when he canceled the remaining events. According to Oakes (p. 33), "... the referee, Captain Victor Strahm, cancelled the remaining events, an aerobatic contest and a barrier landing contest, because he and the Contest Committee felt the women were under too much strain following Frances Marsalis' death to do anymore flying." This kind of paternalistic sexism was rampant during the Golden Age.
He was an Army test pilot during the 1930's. During World War II he was assigned deputy commander of the 9th Air Force and deputy commander of the 33rd Air Division at Tinker Air Force Base, and commander of Barksdale Air Force Base at Shreveport, Louisiana. He retired a Brigadier General in 1953 after 36 years of service.
According to one source, on April 28, 1957, despondent due to ill health after heart surgery, he was found at his home with a bullet wound in his head and a pistol at his side. He was flown to Lackland Air Force Base hospital but died on May 11th at age 59.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 02/07/08 REVISED: 08/26/10