Monday, July 16, 2018

Trivial Pursuit...

On the top of the stack in the Reading Room is Osprey's US Cold War Aircraft Carriers: Forrestal, Kitty Hawk and Enterprise Classes.

I was idly skimming the section covering CVN-65, the Mobile Chernobyl, and noticed that it named the ship's skipper at the time it was commissioned: Vincent P. de Poix. Dude was a fighter pilot in the South Pacific with VF-6 for a little over a year in '42-'43.

Think about this as a metric of the speed of technological advance in the 20th Century: The first captain of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier got his primary flight training in a fabric-covered open-cockpit biplane. When he was born in 1916, the unofficial air speed record was 134mph in a British S.E.4 fighter plane, which is likely rather slower than the first plane to land on the Enterprise was going when it trapped the wire.

As far as the ship he was skippering, it remained in service until the end of 2012. To put that in perspective, the Enterprise's first captain was born during the Wilson administration, before commercial radio was really even a thing. The youngest sailor on her last deployment was born during the Clinton administration, about the same year as the letters "www." started popping up on billboards and in magazine ads.