Fly Navy! And Marine Corps and Coast Guard! September is our annual naval aviation issue, and this one is packed with great articles—from how to succeed in flight school to why large aircraft carriers pack more punch than small ones. September also is normally when the Tailhook Association holds its annual ’Hook Conference in Reno, Nevada. Like so many in-person events planned for this year, ’Hook ’20 instead will be virtual—now “VHook.” I will miss seeing former squadron, air wing, and carrier mates in Reno this year, and I wish the Tailhook Association the most successful virtual event possible. As part of the Naval Institute’s partnership with the Tailhook Association, people who register for VHook ’20 can get free unlimited access to Proceedings this month—and a special offer to become members of the Naval Institute.
For more than a year, we have been recruiting authors to write articles and Professional Notes that could help junior officers and enlisted personnel advance their careers and become better naval professionals. At WEST 2020 in San Diego in early March, I met Navy Lieutenant Commander Steven Moffitt, who was there to receive an award for his winning essay in last year’s Naval Institute Leadership Essay Contest. He told me he was a flight instructor at Naval Air Station Pensacola, so I asked if he’d write an article for mid-shipmen and young officers getting ready for flight school. “How to Succeed in Navy Flight School (By Really Trying)” (pp. 40–44) is his answer.
A couple years ago, retired Navy Captain Talbot Manvel stopped by our headquarters and introduced himself. He was interested in writing on a few topics, and we had a great conversation over lunch. For this issue, Tal wrote “Aircraft Carriers: Bigger Is Better” (pp. 52–56). Despite being a political science major at the Naval Academy, I enjoyed some of the mandatory STEM courses. Tal’s article took me back to my Intro to Naval Engineering course and its lessons on hull speed, shaft horsepower, and viscous resistance. He also uses Galileo’s Cube–Square Law to explain why today’s “super” carriers deliver not just a little but a lot more combat power than the so-called “Lightning” carriers that have been discussed in our pages recently.
Thirty years ago, the nation was gearing up for war in the Middle East. Saddam Hussein’s military had invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The United States and allies responded with a huge military buildup—Operation Desert Shield—to prevent an Iraqi advance into Saudi Arabia, followed in January 1991 by Operation Desert Storm to kick Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bouchoux’s “Train Like You Fight” (pp. 46–51) draws lessons from Desert Storm to describe the need for more joint air combat training to prepare for today’s high-end fight.
Finally, Navy Lieutenants James Zapala and Zachary Bessette follow last month’s excellent shiphandling Professional Note with their own on “Driving Freedom-Class Littoral Combat Ships” (pp. 78–81). Even aviators will enjoy this article, because it describes the unique challenges of driving a ship that uses waterjets and thrusters. Their description of coming alongside an oiler for underway replenishment reminded me of the hair-raising stories the Hornet pilots in my first squadron told about aerial refueling from an Air Force KC-135, more than ship-to-ship refueling. Now I know why the Navy sends only second-tour surface warfare officers to the littoral combat ships.
Next month’s focus will be on the submarine force and antisubmarine warfare. Until then, stay safe, and may your landings equal your takeoffs!