Well, Carrier may have left one with the impression that the air wing was composed solely of Hornettes, but this month’s Air & Space magazine (official publication of the National Air and Space Museum) thinks otherwise with a feature article:
E-2s, the electronic eyes of the fleet, have been in production longer than any military airplane in U.S. history. That is the great irony of the Hawkeye. Although the airframe first flew almost 50 years ago, the E-2C plays a uniquely pivotal role in the fighting doctrine of today’s modern military.
For many years, the E-2 was naval aviation’s version of the pleasant girl in high- school who was everybody’s friend but never got asked to the prom.
For those of us who hail back to the 70’s and 80’s, that’s glossing over just a tad what our reception was in some quarters…
Light on sex appeal, the Hawkeye was ignored by the fighter jocks, who, as the expression goes, like to fly at 1,000 miles per hour with their hair on fire. Times have changed. The E-2 has shown what it can do in shooting wars, and as members of the Hawkeye community have risen in the naval hierarchy, the airplane’s reputation has gone up accordingly. “We go through training exercises side by side with [Hornet pilots], so they’re used to us,” says Carmen. “They know that we understand how airplanes fly-that they can’t turn on a dime or fly without fuel. So they like hearing from us. We’re like an extension of them. We just fly slower than they do.”
Rest of the article here.