Archive for the 'Aircraft' Category

Dec 2

The Mysterious Disappearance of Flight 19

Monday, December 2, 2019 11:08 AM

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At 1410 hours on 5 December 1945, a group of five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers took off from the U.S. Naval Air Station, Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a routine overwater navigational training flight. The flight leader in charge of the unit, dubbed “Flight 19”, was U.S. Navy Lieutenant Charles Carroll Taylor, who had amassed some 2,500 flying hours in addition to the completion of a combat tour in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Taylor and his crew of 13 airmen, some trainee pilots, were to execute “navigation problem No. 1”, described by the Naval History and Heritage Command… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 21

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 4

Thursday, November 21, 2019 12:01 AM

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When last we left my grandfather, Seaman Thomas Schreck was settling into life at the Oran Naval Receiving station in Algeria. This was merely a stopping off point until he moved on to Tunisia where he joined the Auk Class minesweeper USS Sway (AM-120). This blog entry picks up on 16 May 1944. Tuesday May 16th Our convoy that went to Oran was bombed and they lost two Navy ships and five merchant. Guess we rate a star. First time we saw those French and English planes got scared. Nice ships. Played ball this A.M. Our crew against the Phillies. Beat… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 7

The Coal Barge at the Cradle of Naval Aviation

Thursday, November 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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AB-2 flying boat on Coal Barge No. 214

On 5 November 1915, Lieutenant Commander Henry C. Mustin made history when he made the first underway catapult launch from a ship, the USS North Carolina (Armored Cruiser No. 12) in the Curtiss Model F flying boat AB-2—experimental work that ultimately led to the use of catapults today. Several months before, though, trials of the device were undertaken using a less auspicious craft—Coal Barge No. 214.

 
Oct 8

The Retro Bomb

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 12:01 AM

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Author’s note: The term “retro bomb” is used throughout this article in preference to the alternate “retrorocket” which to the modern reader might cause confusion. The later term was often used at the time this weapon was in service, as a retrorocket as we know it today had yet to exist. On 24 February 1944, Patrol Squadron VP-63 scored their first victory against a German U-boat, marking almost two years of development and use of their unique weapon, the retro bomb. Two of their PBY Catalina aircraft drove U-761 to the surface and forced its abandonment off Gibraltar. Weeks after… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 3

Operation Sea Orbit

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 12:01 AM

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At the end of a six month cruise to the Mediterranean, the aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the cruiser, USS Long Beach (CGN-9) and the destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG-96), the first three nuclear powered ships of the U.S. Navy made a five month sojourn around the world. The tour demonstrated the power and ability of these ships, without taking on fuel or provisions the ships could still be battle ready when they returned to home port. As the force sailed around the world, a firepower show was performed for dignitaries of the various countries. To accommodate the dignitaries, a viewing… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 25

We All Scream For Ice Cream: World War II and America’s Sweet Tooth

Thursday, July 25, 2019 12:01 AM

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It’s late July, and in Maryland and most of the United States, this month provides one certainty: it is hot. There are plenty of ways to combat the heat, from taking a swim to just staying indoors in the relative protection of air conditioning, but there’s one form of cooling off that never gets old for me, and that’s having an ice cream. Something about that first taste always transports me – if I don’t get a brain freeze – to other sunny afternoons and happy days, and I can never eat an ice cream on a hot day without… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 10

That Time the Navy Learned the Way to Beat a Zero is to Catch a Zero

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 7:41 AM

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Japanese Zero crashed in marsh.

During the Cold War air-to-air warfare was alive and well. The Soviets had a huge air force, and their fighters were a viable threat to NATO aircraft. As a result, American fighter crews trained extensively in matters pertaining to shooting down other airplanes. Among the air-to-air training programs was a super-secret one called “Constant Peg.” In the late ’70s the U.S. Air Force came into possession of a few Soviet aircraft (MiG 21s and 23s) that Israel captured from Syria. Over the years that inventory grew to more than a dozen airplanes acquired from places like Pakistan and China. The… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 18

Aviator and Antarctic Adventurer: Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, Jr.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 12:01 AM

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While doing research for my last blog topic, the Trans-Atlantic Flight of the NC-4, I stumbled across a name that I’ve seen many times during the Naval Institute’s photo digitization project: Richard E. Byrd. Byrd was one of the men who was consulted for the flight plan of the NC-4, and his name titles a series of Antarctic expeditions I personally scanned and researched for our new digital photo archive. It wasn’t until seeing his name appear connected to the NC-4, however, that the realization I knew so little about this renowned adventurer himself hit me. Just who was Richard… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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