One Hundred Years of U.S. Navy Air Power.

Author:O'Sullivan, Curtis H.
Position:Book review
 
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One Hundred Years of U.S. Navy Air Power. By Douglas V. Smith, ed. Annapolis Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2010. Photographs. Index. Pp. xv, 373. $52.95 ISBN: 978-1-59114-795-4

For those who expect tales of carrier warfare, this is not the answer, but there are plenty of excellent works that serve that purpose. This is a collection of essays that start with the first naval air flight, the early pioneers, the struggle to survive and find a mission in the labyrinth Naval Department. It covers the development of both aircraft and the doctrine to use them in 16 chapters written by 14 authors.

There is necessary overlap but not redundancy, as parts of the total story are told from different angles. Some figures appear more than once such as Bureau of Aeronautics chief RADM Moffett (19211933, until killed in the crash of the USS Macon) and "Bull" Reeves, the father of carrier aviation.

The book stresses the importance of the Naval War College in both developing doctrine and war gaming future combat commanders in its application. There is good coverage of 21 fleet problems (including four surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor) where theories were tested in real-life situations and World War II in the Pacific rehearsed. The most recent history is perhaps the least known, so coverage of the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Gulf II...

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