When the United States entered World War II in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor, naval aviation was an unknown entity. With the destruction of the battle fleet, U.S. naval aviation had to undergo a hasty metamorphosis from accessory to the battle fleet to war-winning weapon. Doing so required a reevaluation of nearly every aspect of American carrier doctrine and fighting tactics. By 1944, the transformation was complete and American aircraft carrier task forces swept across the Pacific, destroying the Japanese fleet in the process. A willingness to improvise was the most important factor in this transformation. Nowhere was this truer than with the American naval fighter force. In early 1942, the Navy fighters were the most maligned branch of naval aviation and were completely outclassed by their Japanese opponents. By 1944, the fighters had become the most numerous and important type of aircraft on the aircraft carrier’s flight deck. Thanks to a spirit of innovation and perfectionism imparted during training, naval aviators were able to adapt their tactics and methods and inflict a crushing defeat on an enemy who held every advantage except teamwork and flexibility. Fighting Squadron Five was at the forefront of this process. A prewar squadron with a distinguished history in the U.S. Navy, the ‘Striking Eagles’ helped turn the tide of the war at Guadalcanal in the fall of 1942.
|Advisor:||Long, Charles Thomas|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||MAI 49/03M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||American history, Military history|
|Keywords:||Doctrine, Fighter, Naval aviation, Navy, Training, World War II|
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