The U.S. Navy's relationship
with model aviation used to be very significant, even to the extent that for many
years the service sponsored the Academy of Model Aeronautics' annual National Model
Airplane (the Nats) contest. Navy bases served as the venue for the meets and a
large number of Navy personnel provided assistance with organization, facilities
preparation and management, promotion, event management, and awards ceremonies.
The stated purpose was to foster the love of aviation in young men along with a
familiarity with the Navy's environment so that when they came of age, enlistment
- or commission - would be a natural progression. This article in a 1951 issue of
Air Trails magazine, which preceded American Modeler, solicited
active modelers to join the Navy and gain apprenticeships in critical technical
fields such as electronics technician, aircraft mechanic, air traffic controller,
and meteorologist. Those with college degrees were sought after for assignments
as pilots and navigators. The Korean War (June 1950 - July 1953) was just getting
underway and the
Service System (aka "the draft") was in effect, so volunteering was a good way
to ensure you got the job you wanted rather than letting someone in an office decide
for you - although it was still no guarantee that the Navy's needs wouldn't supersede
its promise (see the small print in the enlistment papers you signed).
The Air Navy
Your Place in America's All-Out Air Effort
This floating air force is a technician's paradise for thousands of the highly-skilled
By Vice Admiral John H. Cassady
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Air
Before the airplane, the Navy's striking power was limited to the few miles'
range of a ship's guns and its field of vision was only what could be seen from
the top of the mast.
Since the first take-off from a ship's deck, the range has been extended hundreds
of miles as planes fly with bomb loads and return. Year by year, heavier and faster
planes with a larger operating radius are ship-based as carriers and their techniques
The field of vision has widened to include all within the radius of aircraft
reporting by radio. Everything on the ocean's surface is known, whether by day,
night, or fog, as airborne radar scans in all directions. Beneath the surface airborne
devices are probing farther and farther for lurking subs.
Control of the sea is essential to the winning of a war. Rich as our nation is
in raw materials, our industries would be badly handicapped without continuing shipments
of certain key metals, such as tin and manganese, and products of the tropical forest
and plantation which can't be grown at home.
Military operation at great distances from our shores are dependent on ocean-borne
supply. An airplane that flies several thousand miles must carry so much fuel that
it has little room for cargo. But a ship may sail with a full hold.
Because these fundamental conditions cannot change within present prediction,
the Navy has a tremendous job during the present emergency and will continue to
offer careers to fit and able young Americans.
The Navy and Korea
The fast carrier task force remains the Navy's most powerful striking weapon.
Its aircraft screen against enemy aircraft while destroyers and helicopters are
on guard against submarine attack.
In Korea, enemy air operations have been small and submarines have not been active.
But the fleet is always ready.
Korean experience has proved once again that a fast carrier task force can provide
support by planes and by the guns of ships for landings on enemy coasts, as at Inchon.
It can also assure orderly withdrawal.
With the Navy on the job, there can be no Dunkerque. Our. beachhead can be protected
by a perimeter of fire into which the enemy cannot penetrate.
In the present all-out mobilization, Naval Aviation once more is expanding. Heavier
carriers are being put into commission. The most modern planes and missiles are
being produced. A large helicopter program is under way, for antisubmarine work
and many other uses.
Win Your Wings
To become a Naval or Marine Corps Aviator, a young man between 18 and 25 with
at least 2 years of college may apply for the Naval Aviation Cadet program for 18
months of intensive training. On completion, he wins the Navy wings and is commissioned
as an ensign in the Naval Reserve or 2nd Lieutenant in the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve.
After 18 months' actual service, he is eligible for transfer to the Regular Navy
or Marine Corps.
After basic training at Pensacola, a cadet is advanced to fighter planes and
is trained to land on a carrier deck first by practice landings on a small area
marked on an airfield. On learning this, he has the thrill of his first landing
on a carrier at sea.
Aviators may specialize. Some choose jet fighters and make their transition from
piston-powered aircraft. Some go for the transports or patrol planes, including
the big flying boats. Others may become helicopter pilots and still others may prefer
lighter-than-air training, - to fly the blimps for offshore patrol.
Naval commissions may also be obtained by attendance at the U.S. Naval Academy
or in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps; by direct commissioning of civilians
who have special skills; and by promotion from the ranks.
As a gauge of opportunity, note well that almost half of the present officers
in the Regular Navy have had previous enlisted experience. By enlistment in the
Navy, it is possible to develop one or more of a wide variety of skills.
Navy Career Plan
For a Naval Recruit, there are 7 apprenticeships: Seaman, Fireman, Construction
Man, Airman, Hospitalman, Dentalman, and Stewardsman. There are 12 occupational
groups all told, including 6 for Seamen. These groups are subdivided into 62 major
career fields or ratings.
In these, there are no less than 1,100 separate Navy job specialties. Some 4,000
related civilian jobs are indexed as a guide to placing civilian specialists where
they best fit, when they enter the Navy.
It works both ways. Navy-trained specialists who. leave the service are in great
demand for private industry. In peacetime, it is a problem for the Navy to replace
its experts who go to highly paid jobs when their enlistments expire. Those who
stay in, however, can advance to Warrant Officer or Officer grades and earn more
than $500 per month, with allowances and many advantages.
The Navy urges young people to get as much schooling as possible before they
enlist. Recruits with at least a high school diploma are preferred. This is required
for Waves. But for men, there is no set educational requirement. Citizens of 17
and over who meet the physical and mental standards may join and be trained in service.
Air Career Fields
An Airman Recruit climbs the first rungs of the promotion ladder to Airman Apprentice
and full-fledged Airman. Of the 62 career fields in the Navy, 13 are in the Aviation
Group, as follows:
Aviation Machinist's Mate:
He keeps aircraft engines and other mechanical equipment in perfect working order.
Aviation Electronics Technician:
It takes skill to install and maintain the radio, loran, radar and other devices,
for navigation and warning. Experts in this field are in great demand both in the
services and in civilian jobs.
On long over-water flights, this aircrew member operates radio and electronic
The care of bombs, guns, torpedoes and rockets on Navy planes requires another
type of skill.
He directs traffic, for safe take-off and landing of Navy planes.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate:
He handles the planes prior to take-off and after landing.
Aviation Electrician's Mate:
In every plane is a maze of electrical mechanisms and wires. All must be kept
operating for safe flight and for the performance of the plane's missions.
Aviation Structural Mechanic:
While the Machinist's Mate is responsible for the engines, the structural specialist
maintains and repairs the wings, fuselage, control surfaces, landing gear, and other
parts and mechanisms.
This job is for packing and maintenance in perfect condition not only of parachutes
but of life rafts, life belts, and survival packets.
That's what the Navy calls its weathermen, on whose accurate predictions safe
The aerial photos which he takes are the modern means of getting quick intelligence
of the enemy's shore installations and fleet movements.
The training device man maintains flight simulators, such as Link trainers and
gunnery turret trainers, whereby Naval personnel learn to fly on the ground and
to shoot without bullets. Some of these devices are highly complex. For example,
the pilots and crew of a flying boat can "sweat out" a simulated bad weather flight
in which they will face as many realistic emergencies as might be encountered in
months of flying. When the real thing comes, they will know what to do.
If an airplane part needs replacing, a spare must be had immediately or the plane
is grounded. The many specialized parts, equipment and supplies require trained
personnel for handling and recording.
In each of. the foregoing 13 aviation career fields, the operation of an aircraft
carrier or Naval air station will require a number of job specialties.
Related Civilian Jobs
Anyone of hundreds of civilian jobs may develop skills directly applicable to
Naval Aviation and, conversely, the Navy's veteran "graduates" are found in all
manner of civilian enterprises.
An Aviation Machinist's Mate may become, at an aircraft plant or civil airfield,
an airplane inspector, A&E mechanic, airport serviceman, carburetor-man, or
An Aviation Electronics Technician may find plenty of work as an electrical or
radio repairman, radio electrician, or radio mechanic. An Aerographer's Mate may
become a meteorologist; an Aviation Storekeeper, an inventory clerk or expediter.
Women in the Navy are eligible for all appropriate ratings. In aviation, the
Navy considers it highly desirable to utilize them in the following: Aerographer's
Mate, Air Controlman, Aviation Electronicsman, Aviation Electronics Technician,
Aviation Storekeeper, and Parachute Rigger.
In addition, many women on other types of duties may be assigned to Naval Air'
For full details, read the U. S. Navy Occupational Handbook. You can see it at
any school, college, state employment office, or Navy Recruiting Office.
The Navy offers good pay, every chance for advancement, the finest food, education,
travel, and adventure. Young men and young women: complete your civilian schooling
if possible ... and look to the Navy for your career.
The U. S.· Marine Corps in battle carries its own umbrella. While the Army gets
air cover from tactical units of the Air Force, the Marines have their own fighter
squadrons for close support.
Marine aviators are trained to strafe the foe with bullets, bombs, and rockets
just ahead of their advancing buddies on the ground - or in seaborne assault.
Amphibious attack is the Marine specialty. For a time, it was thought the need
would diminish. Marine strength was being reduced. But Korea has shown that the
power to seize beachheads still can be decisive. Marine planes blasted the way not
only for their own ground units but for other United Nation troops.
In addition to fighter aircraft, the Marines have transport planes to supply
both their ground and air forces.
Use of helicopters over the battlefield has been pioneered by the Marines for
artillery spotting, rescue behind enemy lines, evacuation of wounded, and reconnaissance.
Transportation of patrols to mountain tops, which otherwise would take hours to
scale, is a typical 'copter mission in modern war.
Further use for amphibious assault is a Marine innovation, tested in maneuvers
over the past two years. This will take larger 'copters than are currently on the
Korean front in numbers. But watch the news.
No branch of the service instills greater pride, from its top general to its
newest recruit, than the U. S. Marine Corps. Both for men and women, enlistments
in the Regular and Reserve service of the Marines are still open.
Posted December 28, 2019