United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1995 / A Heritage of Wings: An Illustrated History of Navy Aviation

Article excerpt

United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1995, 4th ed., by Roy A. Grossnick. Naval Historical Center, 901 M Street SE, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. 20374-5060, 1997, 881 pages, $73.00.

A Heritage of Wings: An Illustrated History of Navy Aviation by Richard C. Knott. Naval Institute Press, 118 Maryland Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland 21402, 1997, 339 pages, $49.95.

The purpose of United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1995, essentially an encyclopedia of naval aviation history and development, "is to provide naval personnel, historians and aviation enthusiasts with a general background on naval aviation history." Divided into 12 parts and 34 appendixes, the book features individual parts listed either by decades during peacetime (the 1920s or 1930s) or by dates of wars. The Vietnam War does not have its own section, as do World Wars I and II and the Korean War. Information on the Navy's involvement in Vietnam is included in the parts covering the 1960s and 1970s, probably reflecting the fact that many other events such as the space race happened concurrently with the conflict in Southeast Asia. Other combat operations involving Libya, Grenada, and Iraq have their own appendixes. Within each part, important happenings in Navy aviation history are dated and described, covering such monumental events from the Battle of Coral Sea to the obscure date when naval aviators first received flight pay. Grossnick's book also contains hundreds of photographs.

By reading this book, one can learn about some important though overlooked contributions of naval aviation. For example, it describes the Navy's early involvement in the development of early warning radar and guided missiles prior to and during World War II. By reading further, one learns about the maturation and employment of these systems by the fleet.

The 34 appendixes comprise half of the book's total length. Subjects covered here include the history of aviation training, naval aviation's contribution to the space program, the history of all aircraft carriers, and a list of all the different types of aircraft employed by the Navy. …