As we move deeper into the Centennial celebrations focused on US Naval Aviation, there are those amongst us who think it consists primarily of blue airplanes from WWII flying form with Hornets in throwback blue…and miss a whole other part of our heritage, that provided by the USCG.  Aviators from the USCG have been flying side-by-side with their USN and USMC counterparts from the earliest days.  In fact, one of the early signatory events – the first crossing of the Atlantic by the NC-4 was piloted in part by a USCG aviator:

(That’s LCDR Stone, USCG – last row, second from the right and looking at the camera — in the Aviation Greens.  – SJS)

In fact, if you count the Coast Guardsmen that were assigned to the lifesaving station at Kill Devil Hills who assisted and observed the Wright brother’s attempts at flight, the Coast Guard predates the Navy in matters of aviation.

In war and in peace, USCG aviators flew in all theaters and under all conditions.  From SAR in Alaska to U-boat hunting in the Atlantic, the Coast Guard was there.  Along the way there was some pioneering of its own, especially where exploring the capabilities of new forms of aviation were concerned:

From silver panted amphibs to today’s orange and white helos and Herk’s, Falcons and Sentry’s; Coast Guard aviation has been a constant though often overlooked part of Naval Aviation, coming to the fore usually only in moments of personal peril and national agony.

USCG HQ is doing its part in peeling back the obscurity with a website dedicated to revealing the history of USCG aviation through legacy photos – you can find it here: http://www.uscg.mil/history/webaircraft/USCGAviationHistoricPhotoGallery1942.asp. (h/t Chuck H.).  It is also altogether fitting that there is at least one Heritage scheme for the USCG:

Semper Paratus!

Article Series - Centenary of Naval Aviation (1911-2011)

  1. Flightdeck Friday: Smoke and the Battle of Midway
  2. Flightdeck Friday: RF-8 Crusaders and BLUE MOON
  3. Flightdeck Friday: Midway POV – Wade McClusky
  4. Flightdeck Friday: 23 October 1972 and The End of Linebacker I
  5. Former VFP-62 CO and DFC Recipient, CAPT William Ecker, USN-Ret Passes Away
  6. CAPT John E. “Jack” Taylor, USN-Ret.
  7. Flightdeck Friday: USS MACON Added to National Register of Historical Places
  8. Tailhook Association and Association of Naval Aviation
  9. Flightdeck Friday: Speed and Seaplanes – The Curtiss CR-3 and R3C-2
  10. Flightdeck Friday: A Family Remembers a Father, Naval Officer and Former Vigilante B/N
  11. Out of the Box Thinking and Execution 68 Years Ago: The Doolittle Raid
  12. The ENTERPRISE Petition – A Gentle Reminder
  13. USS Enterprise (CVAN/CVN-65) At Fifty
  14. A Golden Anniversary: The Hawkeye At 50
  15. Project CADILLAC: The Beginning of AEW in the US Navy
  16. Project CADILLAC: The Beginning of AEW in the US Navy (Part II)
  17. Project CADILLAC: The Beginning of AEW in the US Navy (Part III)
  18. Reflections on the E-2 Hawkeye’s 50th Anniversary
  19. An Open Letter to “The 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation Foundation”
  20. U.S. Naval Aviation – 100 Years
  21. Doolittle’s Raiders: Last Surviving Bomber Pilot of WWII Doolittle Raid, Dies at 93
  22. More Naval Aviation Heritage Aircraft (But Still No Hawkeye)
  23. Naval Aviation Centennial: Neptune’s Atomic Trident (1950)
  24. Naval Aviation Centennial: One Astronaut, A Future Astronaut and Reaching for New Heights
  25. Flightdeck Friday Special Edition: The Space Shuttle – Thirty Years of Dreams, Sweat and Tears
  26. Flightdeck Friday – Postings from the Naval Aviation Museum
  27. Saturday Matinee: US Naval Aviation – the First 100 Years
  28. National Museum of Naval Aviation – Some Thoughts and A Call to Action
  29. Flightdeck Friday – 100 Years of Naval Aviation and the USCG
  30. Guest Post: THE U.S. NAVY’S FLEET PROBLEMS OF THE THIRTIES — A Dive Bomber Pilot’s Perspective
  31. This Date in Naval Aviaiton History: Sept 18, 1962 – Changing Designators
  32. Centennial Of Naval Aviation – The Shadow Warriors