By lex, on December 21st, 2010
Naval aviation has a long and storied history, and the force is now coming up on its 100th anniversary. Happily, there is an organization to recognize that history, the aptly named “100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation Organization.”
And! They have put up a timeline.*
On the left hand side of the timescale we will learn about the first shipboard arrested landing. Further to the right we celebrate naval aviation’s first fighter ace (1918), the battle of Coral Sea and the Marine Corps’ first fighter ace (1942). This is followed in due time by the first combat vertical assault (1951), Marine aviator John Glenn being the first American to orbit the earth (1962), and the mine laying of Haiphong (1972). Apart from those oblique references, the wars in Korea and Vietnam are left for the reader to pencil in. Which is passing strange, since, according to CAPT Robert Rubel in his book article, “The US Navy’s Transition to Jets, *” in 1954 naval aviation “lost 776 aircraft and 535 men” and never quit, and Vietnam saw nearly a decade of non-stop, around the clock strike warfare, suffering punishing losses.
That was the Navy I was born into.
Moving into the modern era we learn of naval aviation’s first woman naval aviator (1974), our first African American Blue Angel (1986), first woman to command an operational squadron (1990) and our first female line officer to become an astronaut (1992). In 1995 we have our first female Marine aviator.
That was the Navy I left.
* 10-15-2018 Link Gone; no replacements found – Ed.