Naval Aviation History: August

August 1 – August 7

1861 – First manned ascent in a balloon from a ship, gunboat USS Fanny, to observe Confederate artillery position at Hampton Roads, VA.

1915 – First air spotting for shore batteries at Fort Monroe, VA

1916 – First Naval aircraft production contract, for N-9s.

1919 – Construction of rigid airship ZR-1 (Shenandoah) authorized.

1921 – Successful tests of gyroscopic high level bombsight (Norden Bombsight) at Torpedo Station, Yorktown, VA. Carl Norden developed the bombsight for the Bureau of Ordnance.

1921 – Carrier arresting gear first tested at Hampton Roads.

1944 – Fifth Fleet carrier task forces begin air attack against Iwo Jima and the Bonin Islands.

1945 – Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Navy weaponeer arms the atomic bomb.

1945 – Japan agrees to surrender; last Japanese ships sunk during World War II (15 August in DC).

1945 – Atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima, Japan. Navy weaponeer, Captain W.S. Parsons, USN, armed the atomic bomb on the B-29 bomber, Enola Gay.

1949 – First use of pilot-ejection seat for emergency escape in U.S. made by LT Jack I. Fruin of VF-171 near Walterboro, SC.

1950 – First Marine Corps aviation mission against North Korea by VMF-214, from USS Sicily.

1950 – First helicopter evacuation in Korea by VMO-6.

1953 – Operation Big Switch began in August 1953 and lasted until December. 75,823 Communist prisoners (70,183 North Koreans and 5,640 Chinese) and 12,773 UN prisoners (7,862 South Koreans, 3,597 Americans, and 946 British) were returned.

1957 – In first test of Automatic Carrier Landing System, LCDR Don Walker is landed on USS Antietam.

1958 – USS Lexington (CVA-16) arrives in vicinity of Taiwan.

1960 – USNS Longview, using Navy helicopters and frogmen, recovers a Discover satellite capsule after 17 orbits. This is first recovery of U.S. satellite from orbit.

August 16 – August 23

1942 – U.S. carrier aircraft begin 2-day Battle of Eastern Solomons where Japanese task force defeated and one Japanese carrier sunk. Japanese recall expedition to recapture Guadalcanal.

1951 – 23 fighters from USS Essex (CV-9) escort Air Force heavy bombers attacking Najin, Korea since target was beyond range of land-based fighters.

1965 – Launch of Gemini 5, piloted by LCDR Charles Conrad Jr., USN, who completed 120 orbits in almost 8 days at an altitude of 349.8 km. Recovery was by helicopter from USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39).

1969 – Navy Seabees and sailors from Helicopter Training Squadron Eight (HT-8) evacuated 820 people from Pass Christian, MS after Hurricane Camille.

1974 – After flooding in Philippines, Navy helicopters begin 6 days of operations to rescue people and bring supplies (244 flights).

1981 – 2 VF-41 aircraft from USS Nimitz shoot down 2 Libyan aircraft which fired on them over international waters.

August 26 – August 31

1913 – Navy tests Sperry gyroscopic stabilizer (automatic pilot)
by Hurricane Cleo.

1944 – Carrier task group begins 3-day attack on Iwo Jima and Bonin Islands.

1952 – Units on USS Boxer (CV-21) launch explosive-filled drone which explodes against railroad bridge near Hungnam, Korea. First guided missile launched from ship during Korean Conflict.

1962 – Last flight of Navy airship made at NAS Lakehurst, NJ.

1964 – USS Boxer and 2 LSDs arrive off coast of Hispaniola to give medical aid to Haiti and Dominican Republic which were badly damaged.

1991 – A helicopter from USS America (CV-66) rescues 3 civilian sailors who spent 10 days in a lifeboat 80 miles off Capt May, NJ after their sailboat capsized.

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