Naval Aviation as Lived by Ernest and Macon Snowden
ISBN10: 1682472965 ISBN13: 9781682472965 Publisher: Naval Inst Pr Published: Nov 15 2018 Pages: 256 Weight: 1.24lbs. Height: 9.25" Width: 6.50" Depth: 1.00" Language: English
The older brother, Ernest, entered naval aviation in an era of open-cockpit biplanes when the Navy's operations from aircraft carriers were still taking form, when Fleet Problems were still the primary means of determining aviation's warfighting utility and proving its merits to the fleet. He would build on those early lessons to assume a pivotal role in World War II, leading first a squadron, then an air group to one of the most distinguished combat records in the Pacific theater.
Macon's story guides the reader through the Navy's transition from piston-engine aircraft to jets, inside the inter-service disputes at the start of the atomic age, from straight to angled flight decks, through the perils of flight testing high performance aircraft, and eventually to supersonic combat over the humid landscape of Vietnam. He returned from Vietnam to step into a contentious struggle inside the Washington beltway over the future of the Navy's next fighter, becoming a key player in the development of the F-14 Tomcat.
For the entirety of their time in uniform, the one constant was a close fraternal bond that saw Ernest as mentor and Macon as devoted admirer and prot g , only to see those roles recede as the younger brother's achievements transcended those of the older brother. Through personal letters, official reports, first-hand accounts, and first-person interviews, their symbiotic relationship is revealed to the reader. Their motivations to follow long and committed service in naval aviation are explored and laid bare: Ernie was propelled by equal parts patriotism, longing for risk and adventure, and yearning to leave the family farm; Mac was driven by the desire to serve, love of flying, and desire to emulate his older brother whom he lionized as father figure and role model.