The Pittsburgh Press (August 30, 1943)
30th anniversary celebrated –
VAdm. McCain: U.S. Navy fliers and arms hailed ‘second to none’
Exhaustive training of men and procurement of best planes make naval aviation ready for big task ahead
By VAdm. John S. McCain, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air
Washington (UP) –
As naval aviation this week celebrates the 30th anniversary of the formal founding of a naval aeronautical organization, huge task forces, spearheaded by carrier-based aircraft, are poising for new piledriver blows against the enemy.
Because naval aviation was founded and has been built on a bedrock of exhaustive training, design and procurement of the finest fighting aircraft, and an operational plan of thoroughgoing coordination with all other Navy weapons, these impending offensives will succeed.
This is no boastful statement. The performance of naval aviation during the 21 months of war which have passed is proof that it can pass any test with flying colors. Current evidence of the fighting superiority of the naval airman is copiously found in the continuing Central Solomons offensive. There, naval air conclusively demonstrated its ability to carry on a sustained offensive over a long period. Previously, in Guadalcanal and elsewhere, it has shown its ability to smash the enemy from defensive positions.
Beginning on June 30, after Allied forces had landed on Rendova in the opening step of the current offensive, the Navy’s fighter pilots, teaming with the Army’s splendid air forces, flew long distances to beat off repeated Jap aerial counterattacks until the airfield at Munda could be taken and put into operation as an Allied base.
At the same time, dive and glide bombers daily dumped devastating loads of explosives on enemy objectives – 166,000 pounds in three days alone – thus contributing materially to the fall to the allies of that strategic installation. During the first nine days of that offensive, nearly 200 enemy planes were destroyed at a loss of less than 40 American aircraft.
Naval aviation has enjoyed a sensational growth.
From the 38 officers and 54 planes it had at the outbreak of World War I, it has been built into a force comprising a third of the Navy. It will have over 27,000 planes within four months.
Born in Pensacola
The first naval air station in Pensacola, Florida, could have been bought for what it costs to train a handful of naval aviators today.
It is this regard and painstaking effort to make certain the output of the finest combat aviator, that assures the American public that when the Navy pilot goes into battle, he knows how to fight. He is also equipped with invaluable knowledge of ships and seamanship, of navigation and recognition, of coordinated attack on enemy warships. In short, he is a well-rounded naval aviator.
Largely responsible for the excellence of the naval aviator is the policy of assigning outstanding combat aviators to direct the training of our fledging fliers.
A high degree of correlation between all branches of the Navy is necessary to achieve the coordination of attack without which enemy ship targets cannot be satisfactorily assaulted. That the U.S. Navy has been able to correlate its work is evident in the record.
To achieve an even higher degree of correlation and coordination, the post of Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air has been created. I have the high honor of occupying this post, and can say that naval aviation is integrated in all Navy planning, policies and logistics.
Army, Navy cooperate
I can further state on the basis of personal experience in the combat area, that no higher degree of coordination and cooperation could be found anywhere than that existing between the air forces of the Army and the Navy.
For the high state of efficiency in which naval aviation finds itself today immeasurable credit is due to the pioneering founders. These officers, often faced with opposition from within and without the Navy, gladly made any, and all, sacrifices to achieve a proper place for airpower, at a time when the airplane was viewed either as a toy, or an infernal machine, its exponents as exhibitionists or not too stable.
The late Capt. Washington Irving Chambers, USN; Lt. T. G. “Spuds” Ellyson, USN; and the present Commander, Air Force, Pacific Fleet VAdm. John H. Towers, USN; RAdm. DeWitt C. Ramsey, the present Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, and the late Capt. Ken Whiting, USN, who was responsible more than any other for the adoption and development of the aircraft carrier, were but a few of these pioneers whose efforts have resulted in giving to our country a first line second to none.