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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Paintings of Naval Aviation

 

Repose
Lawrence Beall-Smith #11
Charcoal, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-JY

Moments of relaxation are rare aboard an aircraft carrier on patrol, and they are snatched with casual abandon after the immemorial manner of seafaring men who take their repose where they find it. All hands of this plane handling crew settle themselves comfortably on the flight deck until their squadrons return from missions beyond the horizon. Wheel chocks make handy pillows and benches.

 

Securing Fuel Hoses
Lawrence Beall-Smith #6
Charcoal, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-JT

When all incoming planes have been parked or taken below, and servicing completed, plane handling crews secure the fuel lines. A detail is pictured here stowing a gasoline hose at the edge of the flight deck--a job requiring care and experience, since improperly secured fuel stowage aboard a carrier constitutes a deadly hazard.

 

The First Uniform
Don Freeman #14
Charcoal, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-EO

 

There is no thrill like that which comes when the naval aviation cadet tries on his first uniform. This typical scene shows a cadet getting an initial eyeful of himself in summer whites as a shipmate observes approvingly.

 

Get Tough!
Don Freeman #6
Oil, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-EG

 
The Navy's aviation pre-flight schools put a premium on physical well-being and adopt a program of athletics, calisthenics, and games. The purpose is not to emphasize physical condition as a muscle proposition, but to develop pilots able to take in stride the physical drains of combat. The first things a cadet learns at pre-flight school is his part in this program. During his stay, he is instructed by the finest coaches, may of them nationally known figures.

 

Bear a Hand
Don Freeman #1
Oil, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-EB

 

The obstacle course quickly becomes a part of the life of every cadet. Here cadets are scrambling over a barricade in the relentless race against time. Their physical condition is important because long hours of combat and patrol flying at high altitudes call for superior stamina.

 

Ground Loop
Don Freeman #5
Oil on Board, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-EF

 
The naval aviation cadet still is a long way from the cockpit at pre-flight school. But nevertheless he gets some ground "maneuvers" on these hoops, which sharpen his sense of balance and equilibrium while toughening him physically.

 

Hand Over Hand
Don Freeman #2
Watercolor, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-EC

Agility and strength are sharpened during the naval aviation cadet's pre-flight course. One way it's done is hand-over-hand work along ropes. There is a practical side, as well, in that some day he may be called upon to work his way through tropical jungles after a forced landing, or utilize his training on vines or ropes in crossing rivers or dangerous patches of jungle growth. But it is strenuous exercise and subject to slips--as witness the cadet tumbling into the net below.

 

Hand -To-Hand Combat
Don Freeman #15
Gouache, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-EP

 

Blood, and brawn, and sweat--the sterner aspects of war confront the Navy's aviation cadets during pre-flight training. Navy fighting men must know the tricks of the grim trade of war--a blow for a blow, and eye for an eye. There's no prize given for being second best in hand-to-hand battle, so a course in physical combat is an integral part of pre-flight training.

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21 April 2006