surface force, their aircraft, and experienced aircraft
Guadalcanal. Carrier-based aircraft flew interceptor
patrols, offensive missions against shipping, and close
air support for ground forces until the island was
1943. U.S. Navy enters the helicopter field of
aviation by purchasing helicopters from U.S. Army.
Also, the Navy purchased a helicopter manufactured to
Navy specifications from the Sikorsky Helicopter
Companythe YR-4B. Westinghouse developed the
first turbojet engine (19A) for the Navy.
1948. The Navy commissioned its first helicopter
squadronthe HU-1, and the first carrier landing was
made by a U.S. Navy jet (the FJ-1 Fury lands aboard the
1949. The first use of a pilot ejection seat for an
emergency escape was made from an F2H-1 Banshee.
Also, a new fighter aircraft was added to the Navy
inventory (the F9F-2/5 Panther), and was manufactured
by Grumman Aircraft Company.
Carrier aircraft went into action in the Korean
conflict, which ended July 27, 1953.
1953. Naval aircraft conducted initiation test
operations aboard the Navy's first angled deck carrier,
the USS Antietam.
1954. Guided, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles
were perfected and placed into operation. The Polaris,
Sidewinder, Sparrow, and Petrel missiles became
The first successful Automatic Landing
System test was done on the USS Antietam. It was
designed to bring planes aboard the ship in all weather
without help from the pilot. Also, the first F8U-1
was delivered to the fleet.
operationally equipped jet plane in history to fly faster
than 1,000 mph.
Four naval aviators were selected as
prospective astronauts under Project
program of space exploration and manned orbital
flight. The Sikorsky HSS-2 amphibious, all weather,
antisubmarine helicopter made its first flight.
anniversary, and support of the space program was
made a priority as manned orbital flight became a
reality. Also, recovering space vehicles became one of
the Navy's responsibilities. A carrier recovery ship,
carrier-based helicopters, and specially trained crews
carried out this mission.
The United States becomes officially
involved in the Vietnam conflict. Naval aviator, Alan B.
Shepard Jr., became the first American to go into space
by completing a flight reaching 116 miles high and 302
miles down range before recovery by a Navy HUS-1
helicopter and the USS Lake Champlain. Also, the
worlds first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS
Enterprise (CVAN-65), was commissioned.
1962. The Naval Aviation Museum was established
at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, by the
Secretary of the Navy.
1964. Vertical replenishment by helicopters and
picking up stores and delivering them to other surface
combat ships began with the commissioning of the
combat stores ship USS Mars (AFS-1).
1965. The United States is fully involved in the
Vietnam conflict. Seventh fleet air units begin
operation Rolling Thunder, a systematic bombing of
military targets throughout North Vietnam waged by
land and sea based A-4 Skyhawks, F-4 Fanthoms, A-6
Intruders, and A-7 Corsair aircraft.
1967. Fire broke out on the flight deck of the USS
(CV-59) and soon spread below decks
igniting bombs and ammunition. Heroic efforts brought
the fire under control but damage to the ship and aircraft
was severe. These were 132 dead, 62 injured, and two
missing and presumed dead. Also, the Aircraft
Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) was
established by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) on
all operating aircraft carriers except the one operating
with the Naval Air Training Command.
1969. Apollo 11 lands on the moon with naval
aviator Neil Armstrong; Edwin Aldrin, USAF: and
Michael Collins, USAF. Armstrong and Aldrin walked
on the moon 20 and 21 July.
Naval aviation beginning its seventh decade
heavily embroiled with Vietnam and a growing crisis in
the Middle East re-emphasized the importance of the
U.S. Navy to keep the sea lanes open. This required the