Archive for the 'Naval Aviation' Category

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 »

 
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 »

 
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 »

 
Jan 3

U.S. Navy’s All-Time Top Fighter Ace

Thursday, January 3, 2019 12:01 AM

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Future Captain David McCampbell, USN (Ret.) (1910-1996)

This oral history contains the candid recollections of the U.S. Navy’s all-time top fighter ace, Captain David McCampbell. He earned the Medal of Honor for his exploits during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944. Following initial service as an officer in the heavy cruiser USS Portland (CA-33), McCampbell underwent flight training and received his wings in 1938. From 1938 to 1940, McCampbell served with Fighting Squadron Four (VF-4), based on the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4). From 1940 to 1942, McCampbell was landing signal officer of the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-7) and survived her sinking in 1942, during the Guadalcanal campaign. After serving… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 16

Operation Desert Fox – 20 years ago – A “First” for Women

Sunday, December 16, 2018 8:00 AM

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Twenty years have passed since Operation Desert Fox, also known as the bombing of Iraq which took place December 16th – December 19th, 1998. The purpose of the attack was to degrade the ability of Iraq to use weapons of mass destruction. The main targets of the bombing included research and development installations, air defense systems, weapons and supply depots & the headquarters of Sadaam’s elite Republican Guard. The bombing was accomplished primarily by American and British jets and cruise missiles launched from the sea. Most of the targets were degraded or destroyed by the fourth night and the mission was declared a… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 7

Commencing the Attack on Guadalcanal

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 2:00 PM

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On 7 August 1942 the Allied forces began their first major counter-offensive against the Japanese at Guadalcanal. Since Pearl Harbor the U.S. had spent most their time recovering from the attack and re-building the badly damaged Pacific fleet. One high-poin, however, were the highly successful attacks known as “Doolittle’s Raids.” This “lull” in activity ended with the invasion of Guadalcanal. Code-named “Operation Watchtower,” Marines conducted a surprise raid of their primary target, the airfield, and quickly established a presence that allowed troops to arrive on the island. The initial invasion was such a surprise that the first Marines encountered little resistance…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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