naval aviator

USS JupiterFollowing the first successful airplane flight by the Wright brothers on Dec 17, 1903, the world changed dramatically…as did the way we fought wars. Of course, just because the Kitty Hawk broke free of the gravitational pull of Earth on that day, did not mean that we went straight to jets. Nevertheless, by the 1920s, airplanes were more common. With this change in travel and maneuverability, came the ability to use these new weapons in warfare. While it took time to develop airplanes to the ability needed to use in a war, in all reality, warfare was forever changed on that day.

The United States quickly became interested in aerial warfare, and began work on developing the planes and providing training for the pilots who would fly them. In August of 1910, Jacob Earl Fickel did the first experimenting, with Glenn Curtiss shooting a gun from an airplane. At that time, planes couldn’t easily fly across oceans like they can now, so if they were to be used in warfare, they would have to be transported to the war zone somehow. That brought about the expirements to see if it was practical to take off and land on a ship. I have to wonder just how many failed attempts they had before civilian pilot Eugene Ely successfully took off from a wooden platform installed on the scout cruiser USS Birmingham on November 14, 1910 near Hampton Roads, Virginia. This exceptional pilot successfully took off, and then landed safely on shore a few minutes later. Several months later on January 18, 1911, he also successfully landed on a platform on the USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco harbor.

Now that they knew it could be done, it was time to find a ship to be the carrier full time. Enter the USS Jupiter. The USS Jupiter was a collier ship, which is a bulk cargo ship, from 1913 to 1920. At that point, it was USS Langleydecided that the USS Jupiter would be decommissioned, and converted into the first aircraft carrier in history. Once the work was finished, the USS Jupiter became the USS Langley on April 11, 1920 and was recommissioned as an aircraft carrier on March 20, 1922. Her first executive officer felt right at home on the new ship, because Commander Kenneth Whiting, who was a former submarine commander turned aviator, had been transported to England by the collier Jupiter. Whiting, who earned the title “Father of the Aircraft Carrier,” was the last naval aviator to take training personally from Orville Wright…bringing things full circle so to speak…but the story never really ends does, now does it.

164229_10151306576126886_1665419616_nMy nephew, Allen Beach just returned from spending his last two years of service in the Navy in Japan. It was there that he met and got engaged to his future wife, Gabriella. While she finishes up her time in the Navy, they will be living in Washington DC, which is an area they both like. Washington DC is an amazing place, but I think it would be a little too busy for my taste. It takes a specific type of person to chose to live there, and I know that Allen and Gabby like the busy lifestyle DC provides, so they will fit in there quite well. Of course, Allen isn’t new to the Washington DC area, because as a Naval Medic, he was stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital before he went to Japan.

374658_10151343109406886_1009690453_nWhen Allen first joined the Navy, his dream was to be a naval aviator and I think he would have been a really good one, but an injury sidelined that dream. After that he became a medic, and I think that is probably his true calling. It takes a special person to work in the medical field…in any capacity. Having been a caregiver, myself I know that there are a lot of aspects of the medical field that can be quite difficult to deal with. There is blood, infection, smells of all sorts, and that is just to name a few. You have to care about people enough to put their needs ahead of your own. Of course, I’m sure Allen’s work is much different that what I did. I was more like a CNA (certified nurses assistant) and he was more like a PA (physician’s assistant). Nevertheless, you have to see a lot of horrible things.

1016238_10151463666716886_1885049447_nNow that Allen is out of the Navy and they are back home, I don’t know what his future plans are. He can use the GI Bill to go to school to do whatever he wants to do. I don’t know if he plans to stay in the medical field or not, but I think he would do well in any area of medicine. Only time will tell what his future will bring, but I do know that Gabriella is in his future. They make a very cute couple, and now that Allen is out of the service, I’m sure the wedding plans are in full swing. My guess is that the wedding will be held in Washington DC or in Oregon, where her family is from, but again time will tell on that one. Allen and Gabby have a bright future ahead of them, and I pray God’s greatest blessings for them all their future plans. Today is Allen’s birthday. Happy birthday Allen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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