Monday, December 01, 2014

U. S. Navy Carrier Aviation
Flight Deck Personnel
I served in the U. S. Navy and I was assigned to the USS Ranger (CVA-61) where I worked in the Operations Office.  However I often observed Flight Deck Operations when I had some time off from my duties.  The USS Ranger was the first Carrier to deploy with the F-4 Phantom aircraft.  This was during the 1962-1963 Western Pacific Cruise.  This Post will feature the Flight Deck Personnel and let every reader here know about the different colors of jerseys and what they mean.

This is a picture that I took during the 1962-1963 Western Pacific Deployment.  We were in port somewhere in Japan and I took an opportunity to take this picture of four Phantoms parked on the Port Side of the Flight Deck.

During a recent U. S. Navy Reunion for Crewmembers of the USS Hull (DD-945) in San Diego My Bride and I took the opportunity to visit the USS Midway (CV-41) Museum Ship to learn about Carrier Aviation.  This F-4 Phantom II was on display on the Midway and allowed me to see, once again this great Fighter Aircraft.
 I took the opportunity to relearn what the various Colors meant that the Flight Deck Personnel wore during Air Operations on A Carrier.  These Crewmembers are assigned to an Aircraft Carrier and their duty involves working with the assigned Aircraft, which are part of a Carrier Aviation Group.  The first thing I observed was a plaque that informed me that the pictures on the USS Midway were taken with the Various Colors and that Sailors assigned to the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) modeled the respective colors.  In fact the Plaque had this message:
"Special Thanks to the Crew
of the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) for
posing for this Exhibit"

As you view the following pictures and you think that these Sailors look quite young, please be aware that they really are!!!

Yellow-shirted Flight Deck Personnel direct taxiing planes around the flight deck.

Purple-jerseyed Flight Deck Personnel are in charge of refueling aircraft and maintaining aviation fuel quality.

Brown-jerseyed Flight Deck Personnel are plane captains who oversee the maintenance of individual aircraft.

White-jerseyed Flight Deck Personnel are safety observers.

Red-jerseyed Flight Deck Personnel handle the bullets, bombs, missiles and rockets loaded aboard the aircraft.

Green-jerseyed Flight Deck Personnel run and maintain the catapult and areesting gear machinery.

Blue-jerseyed Flight Deck Personnel operate tow tractors and aircraft elevators to move aircraft about the flight and hanger decks.

Silver protective suits are worn by rescue personnel who save trapped aircrew from crashed aircraft.

If I recall correctly the different colored jerseys are worn so that the Air Boss who directs the Flight Deck Operation from his position in the observation post on the Aft Portion of the Carrier Island can see who is doing what.  Of course this becomes difficult during Night Operations, but the Flight Deck Personnel are well trained during day-time operations so that they perform as a well honed team when the time comes for Night Operations.

There are some who say that being a Carrier Pilot is the most dangerous job in the world; however I would suggest that the Personnel assigned to the Flight Deck of an Aircraft Carrier have a very dangerous job also ranking just an dangerous as the Pilots.

1 comment:

Alan said...

I received this from a Ranger Shipmate that I met during our Reunion in Jacksonville in early October 2014:

"What a great presentation, Alan. I myself was a (green shirt) catapult guy and really appreciated your acknowledgement of the dangers on the flight deck. Well done."


Terry D.