Naval Aviation Firsts
I enjoyed reading Edward Marolda's summary of the Korean War, "The Cold War's First Conflict"—(June 2010, pp. 18-25). But I think the caption with the photo of Ensign Jesse Brown in the cockpit of his Corsair stating that he was the first African-American naval aviator is incorrect. According to "Oscar Holmes: A Place in Naval Aviation" (Naval Aviation News, January-February 1998, by Robert J. Schneller Jr.), Oscar Holmes was the first African-American naval aviator. Already a qualified pilot, he was designated a naval aviator when he completed flight instructor training on 30 June 1943. He served as an instructor and did not deploy from the continental United States. Ensign Brown was the first African American to earn his Navy wings by going through the standard undergraduate naval-flight-training pipeline, the first to go into combat, and the first to be killed in action.