The Blue Angels are currently scheduled to fly today, Thursday, 4/17/14 at 11:30 a.m. CST.

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Silver Eagles

HISTORY OF THE SILVER EAGLES

The concept of having Naval, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Enlisted Men at the controls of Military Aircraft came early in the development of aviation. Articles written on early Naval Aviation History mention Enlisted Pilots being involved as early as 1912. However, it was not until 1916 that the first class of eight Navy petty officers and two Marine sergeants received formal pilot instruction in Pensacola. This was the first attempt to give formal pilot training to other than Annapolis graduates.


The first Enlisted Pilots to be designated Naval Aviation Pilots (NAPs) and wear Naval Aviator Wings graduated in 1920. The criteria and qualifications required for selection to Aviation Pilot Training were extremely high The need for Enlisted Pilots during the 1920s more than doubled. A law enacted in 1926 by Congress required that 30% of the total number of Navy Pilots on active duty be Enlisted Pilots. By the end of 1927 a total of 580 pilots were wearing Naval Aviator Wings; 108 of them were Enlisted Pilots. The ratio of 30% was never achieved and the law was amended to 20% in 1932. By December 1947 some 5,000 enlisted men of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard had been designated NAPs. At this time the 81st Congress repealed the 20% requirement and the era of NAPs began to fade into Naval Aviation History.

The NAP played a major role in the development and growth of Naval Aviation. Every action, every event, and every battle from World War I through the Vietnam conflict (some seventy years), bears the imprint of the Enlisted Naval Aviation Pilot. Some made the extreme sacrifice with their lives, some spent time in prisoner of war camps, and many earned special recognition for outstanding achievements and acts of heroism up to and including the Medal of Honor. 


Three were promoted through the ranks to Rear Admiral, and a large number were promoted to other senior ranks. Many others served proudly as NAPs throughout their military careers. The last NAP on active duty retired from the service in 1981, terminating forever a very distinctive part of Naval Aviation. 


The legend of the NAP will live forever. For their gallant actions, for their sacrifice and service in defending our freedom during peace time and war, and for their contribution to Naval Aviation, our country is indeed grateful to them.

* ROSTER OF THE SILVER EAGLES *

Adams, Stuart R. #1473Kelly, Harold H. #1408 
Balsey, Francis W. #966Kurlak, William B. #1501 
Beattie, Robert E. #73Lander, Leroy F. #1088 
Bentley, Robert H. #154 Lee, Howard G. #315 
Bohner, Jack L. #587Leonard, Edward F. #317 
Bouldin, Jack F. #1421Madden, Jesse C. #1114 
Boyle, Thaddeus W. #84Mathers, John F. #334 
Brown, Harold W. #1493McCarter, Robert O. #1482 
Buchal, Robert J. #1476 McLaren, David G. #1497 
Carter, Homer W. #1344Mika, John J. #364 
Cashwell, Billy T. #1495Pinnell, Carrell I. #1390 
Crum, Lawrence C. #1362Polk, Jack O. #824 
Dickson, Earl S. #655Raczkowski, Charles #486 
Ellsworth, Jr., A. L. #1452Richardson, Loring R. #1485 
Engel, Joseph C. #171Rowe, Herbert R. #483 
Esders, W. B. #172Rutledge, John W. #1468
Eskew, Randolph L. #157Salut, Harold #557
Fosha, Charles E. #164Schneiders, Joseph M. #868
Gierisch, Jack K. #1353Schultz, John F. #1400
Gould, James R. #174Sumner, Burrel E. #1330
Graham, Stewart R. #238Tetreault, Serge B. #1305
Gray, Wilfred C. #189 Thomas, Sylvester A. #898
Harney, George S. #23Thomas W. Suther, Jr. #1471
Harrison, Jack H. #197Thompson, David Wilson #507
Harty, Sr., Thomas G. #1352Walsh, Kenneth A. #1578
Hatchett, Owen W. #1319Webber, George W. #1254
Herlihy, James T. #220Whitcomb, Roy S. #1409
Higbee, Joseph #734White, Charles E. #2850
Holloway, Thomas J. #222 Willis, Clayton B. #510
Johnson, Melverne E. #750Willis, John T. #1257
Ryan, George #2179

Based on code developed by Richards Consulting Group