Friday, December 07, 2007

FAA History Lesson -- December 7

From the FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996...

”Dec 7, 1941: The Japanese attacked Hawaii and the Philippines. The following day the U.S. Congress declared a state of war with Japan. On Dec 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. “

Today would be a good day to think about airpower. I read something in a book once (sorry, I don’t remember which one) that really opened my mind about the subject. Prior to aviation, warfare was two dimensional -- land and sea. The airplane added a third dimension. Airpower wasn’t a deciding factor in World War I but by World War II it was. And it’s been that way ever since.

December 7th itself is a lesson in airpower of course. Pearl Harbor (despite the obvious nautical reference) was an air battle. America was left with very few ships but fortunately they were the important ones -- the aircraft carriers. In battle after battle you can trace the importance of airpower, right through to the very end -- over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Berlin would have starved without the Berlin Airlift. We would have been pushed into the sea off Korea if not for airpower. Vietnam became known as “The Helicopter War.” Ground combat in the first Gulf War only lasted 100 hours, thanks to airpower. Afghanistan showed that we still have innovative ways in which to apply airpower.

When America talks of projecting power, it’s talking about air power. “Gunboat diplomacy” is now conducted mostly by aircraft carriers.

Don Brown
December 7, 2007

No comments: