For decades the United States has been a protector and provider of help wherever and whenever needed, usually via naval aviation. Commander Sean Liedman argues that before we scale back on those capabilities in response to the current economic climate we had better be certain that we fully understand what the end result will be. He urges decision-makers to carefully consider the means necessary for naval aviation to accomplish the ends they desire.
One constant throughout naval aviation’s inaugural century has been change; its evolution has been continual. Today, many see the phasing-out of the supercarrier as the next stage in that evolution. Not so fast, says Captain Christopher Murray in “The Supercarrier is NOT Superfluous.” If anything, he points out, the supercarrier’s importance has grown along with its mission repertoire. Reports of the vessel’s demise, in short, are akin to those once put forth for Mark Twain.
Captain Rich Dann, the head of the Navy’s official centennial effort, teams with retired Captain George Galdorisi to present a brief history of U.S. naval aviation in “From Humble Beginnings to ‘Where Are the Carriers?’” The take-away lesson here is that naval aviation was never a sure thing; the pioneers in the field were forced to prove the worth of such a prospect, over and over, before a host of skeptical critics. In the end, their persistence and bravery paid off.
Rounding out our naval aviation focus, former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman puts his sights on how political correctness and zero tolerance have damaged, if not destroyed, the storied mystique of the naval aviator. His opinions will either leave you nodding in agreement or firing off angry letters. We’ll be ready. In a related sidebar, retired Commander Ward Carroll, a former F-14 radar-intercept officer, tells the story of what transpired 20 years ago at the 1991 Tailhook Association Convention in Las Vegas and how that organization bounced back from a scandal of epic proportions.
The Naval Institute marked a milestone of its own in the summer of 2011 as it welcomed a new chief executive officer. On 27 July recently retired Navy Vice Admiral Peter H. Daly took the helm from retired Marine Corps Major General Thomas L. Wilkerson. Admiral Daly’s more than 30 years of proud service to our nation included command of Destroyer Squadron 31 and Carrier Strike Group 11. He’s no stranger to USNI, having served previously on our Board of Directors and Editorial Board. He values the open forum and is committed to its independence. We look forward to working with him as he guides USNI into the future.
General Wilkerson steered the Naval Institute through a challenging period during his tenure as CEO and we all wish him fair winds and following seas as he embarks on new adventures.