In order to align NAS Pensacola with security directives issued by the Secretary of the Navy, the air station commanding officer has directed that beginning February 1, 2016, all visitors to the National Naval Aviation Museum, Fort Barrancas and Pensacola Lighthouse who do not possess a Department of Defense identification card or are unescorted by the holder of a Department of Defense identification card, will be required to enter the installation via the West Gate located off Blue Angel Parkway. Click here for directions.

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The Eve of the Battle of the Coral Sea
posted in History Up Close on May 6, 2014 in History Up Close on 5/6/2014
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Lieutenant Commander James H. Flatley, Jr., pictured during World War II.

Lieutenant Commander James H. Flatley, Jr., pictured during World War II.

For those preparing to do battle with the enemy during wartime, the last hours before entering combat give pause for reflection.  The possibility of being killed in action is very real to those in the armed forces as they go into harm’s way and, to this end, facing one’s mortality prompts many to leave things behind for family members, be it a sentimental memento or words of love expressed in a latter.  For Lieutenant Commander James H. Flatley, Jr., the executive officer of Fighting Squadron (VF) 42 in the carrier Yorktown (CV 5) steaming in the Coral Sea, the evening of May 6, 1942, brought such a moment as he prepared to combat Japanese carriers.  The ensuing battle  would mark an historic engagement in U.S. Navy history in that for the first time, ships would battle without coming within sight of each other, the salvos wielded instead by carrier aircraft.  Flatley understood the risks and prepared a final letter to his wife in the event he was lost.  Fortunately, it was never sent.

LCDR James H. Flatley, Jr. Letter

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First page of a letter written by LCDR James H. Flatley, Jr., to his wife on the eve of the Battle of the Coral Sea.

 

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