Archive for the 'Aircraft' Category

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 »

 
Jun 2

This Day in Naval History: June 2 – FIRST Aircraft Escort Carrier

Sunday, June 2, 2019 12:01 AM

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Aerial port broadside view of USS Long Island (CVE-1) underway.

On June 2, 1941, the USS Long Island (AVG-1) was commissioned as the first Auxiliary Aircraft Escort Carrier. The design led to more experimentation, turning merchant ships into aircraft carriers. By the end of World War II, there were more escort carriers than aircraft carriers. You are probably wondering what is an escort carrier? Don’t you mean an aircraft carrier? Wasn’t the first carrier called the Langley? Yes, the aircraft carrier came before the escort carrier. During World War II, there was a shortage of aircraft transport vessels. As a result, the escort carrier was created out of merchant ships… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 21

The Transatlantic Flight of the NC-4

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 12:01 AM

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While outside we enter the second-half of May and quickly descend into June, as I work away inside the archive, my mind inevitably wanders to the subject that seems to be on everyone’s mind this time of year: Summer travel plans. Even for those no longer bound to the timetable of the educational system, Summer is still synonymous with vacation and travel, myself included. But with my occupation, even my thoughts on travel end up turning in a historical direction. One hundred years ago, in 1919, our main mode of long-distance transportation today was still a scary, new technology that… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 8

The Eagles Return

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 12:01 AM

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On 8 May 1919, the waterfront of Halifax harbor was lined with spectators awaiting the arrival of three U.S. Navy seaplanes from Long Island on the first leg of their much-heralded attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Reports of their progress were received during the afternoon as they moved along the south shore of Nova Scotia and finally, at 7:40 pm, two of the aircraft, NC-3 and NC-1, landed safely in the harbor. These were Navy Curtiss or NC (Nancy) flying boats, designed as self-deploying anti-submarine aircraft and intended for combat duties. But when NC Seaplane Division One was commissioned… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 7

Carrier Carrier Pigeons

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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Letting the carrier pigeon loose from the seaplane while in air. U.S. Naval Station, Anacostia, Washington, D.C.

Admiral Alfred Melville Pride‘s early interest in aviation was followed by his enlistment in Naval Reserve for World War I in 1917, aviation training, and brief overseas duty in France. In 1922, Pride joined the commissioning crew of the United State’s first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley (CV-1), as one of her aviators. Pride recalled many years later one of the little-known facts about the earlier carrier—that when the Langley was built equipped with a carrier pigeon loft. Admiral Pride explains why in an edited excerpt below.

 
Mar 14

ASW Rise and Fall

Thursday, March 14, 2019 12:01 AM

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The submarine is an elusive creature. Designed to operate mostly alone, and stealthily, it has become a factor far out of proportion to its size in the battle at sea. Fighting the submarine requires a well thought out strategy, supported by carefully coordinated tactics, carried out sequentially, to implement such strategy. The slightest tactical omission can result in lost ships. The Submarine Threat in World War I During WWI, U-Boats severely threatened the Allied War effort. Waiting, submerged and silent, at choke points along Allied logistics routes, submarines quickly became a severe danger. To combat submarines, ad hoc measures: nets,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 7

Korean War Era Night Fighter Training

Thursday, March 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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Vice Admiral Gerald E. Miller, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

  Gerald E. Miller enlisted in the Navy in 1936 and served in the fleet for two years before getting an appointment to the Naval Academy, from which he was graduated in late 1941. He then spent two years of wartime duty in the light cruiser USS Richmond (CL-9) before he could go to flight training. Throughout his aviation experiences, Admiral Miller placed particular emphasis on nighttime flight operations. During the Korean War, he served on the staff of Rear Admiral E. C. Ewen, Commander Task Force 77, and then commanded a fighter squadron. During a mid-1950s tour in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Admiral Miller… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 5

Admiral Thach: A Tactical Artist

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 12:01 AM

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Standing about six feet tall and weighing a measly 135 pounds, it is hard to imagine how young Jack Thach felt as he prepared to begin his plebe training at the United States Naval Academy. It was the summer of 1923, and at his initial physical assessment, Jack’s frailty evoked great skepticism from the examining physician. Told to eat and exercise more, time would tell if Jack could translate his high school football success in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to achievement at the Academy. Two weeks into his first academic term, Midshipman 4/C Thach received failing grades in every subject. After… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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