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The Air Navy
April 1951 Air Trails

April 1951 Air Trails
April 1951 Air Trails Cover - Airplanes and Rockets Table of Contents

These pages from vintage modeling magazines like Flying Aces, Air Trails, American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler, Young Men, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, R/C Modeler, captured the era. All copyrights acknowledged.

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 Selective 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

The Air Navy, from April 1951 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsYour 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 improve.

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.

Aviation Electronicsman:

On long over-water flights, this aircrew member operates radio and electronic navigation devices.

Aviation Ordnanceman:

The care of bombs, guns, torpedoes and rockets on Navy planes requires another type of skill.

Air Controlman:

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.

Parachute Rigger:

This job is for packing and maintenance in perfect condition not only of parachutes but of life rafts, life belts, and survival packets.

Aerographer's Mate:

That's what the Navy calls its weathermen, on whose accurate predictions safe flight depends.

Photographer's Mate:

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.

Aviation Storekeeper:

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 propeller inspector.

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' Stations.

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.

Marine Aviation

The U. S.ยท 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

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