The Aircrew

Color photo of carrier aircrewmen - a good color shot showing the typical flight suits and accessories of Navy flight crews during the war.
(Source:"Naval Aviation News" magazine, November-December 1997)
Color photo of the Navy's first ace - After receiving the Medal of Honor from Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lt. Edward "Butch" O'Hare was described as "modest, inarticulate, humorous, terribly nice and more than a little embarrassed by the whole thing".
(Source: Aviation History magazine, November 1995)
Color photo of Dauntless gunner - A Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless gunner from VC-22 assigned to the USS Independence (CV-22) on April 30, 1943 poses with his weapon. On 15 July 1943 the Independence-class light carriers were redesignated CVL.
(Source:"The Hook" magazine, Fall 1996)
Color photo of Helldiver crew - A pilot and his more casually dressed gunner pose with their late model SB2C Helldiver dive bomber sometime after October 1944.
(Source:"Air War Over the Pacific" by Robert C. Stern)
Who is that masked man? - Why, he's Lt. Harry Harrison, and he's modeling standard fighter pilot's flight gear worn by VF-5 pilots on the second Yorktown (CV-10) in October 1943.
(Source: The Hook magazine, Fall 1996)
Dauntless pilot - An SBD pilot is seen holding his plotting chart. The navigation board slid under the instrument panel, and held information about the code for the day, plus the estimated position of the pilot's carrier in about four hours.
(Source: Franklin Avery)
New tactics for a new war - Lieutenant Commander J.S. "Jimmy" Thach uses his hands to teach fighter tactics to new Navy pilots at Pearl Harbor in 1942. Commander Thach originated the famous "Thach weave" technique that allowed the less nimble U.S. fighters to defend themselves against the agile Japanese Zero fighter.
(Source:"The Carrier War" by Clark G. Reynolds & Time-Life)
Last picture of a doomed squadron - Pilots of the Hornet's Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) gather for a 1942 group portrait taken shortly before all but one of them - Ensign George Gay (kneeling, center) - were killed in the Battle of Midway during June, 1942.
(Source:"The Carrier War" by Clark G. Reynolds & Time-Life)
Lucky Lookouts - The crew of the Navy PBY Catalina flying boat that spotted the Japanese fleet approaching Midway, allowing the U.S. fleet to position itself for the coming battle. Back row (L-R): R.J. Derouin, Francis Musser, Ensign Hardeman, Jewell H. Reid (pilot), R.A. Swan. Front row: J.F. Grammell, J. Goovers, and P.A. Fitzpatrick.
(Source: "Tragic Victories", by Edward Jablonski)
Ready for "Bomb's Away" - A pilot of an SBD Dauntless looks through his sighting scope used during dive bomb attacks. Dauntless pilots dived with their canopies open for easy escape, falling on the enemy at a 45-degree angle that gave defending gunners little time to find their mark.
(Source:"The Carrier War" by Clark G. Reynolds & Time-Life)
Publicity photo - Ensign George H. Gay, the TBD Devastator pilot who was the only one in his squadron (Waldron's Torpedo 8) to have survived the attack on the Japanese fleet at Midway, is seen recuperating at a Pearl Harbor hospital in this (probably) staged photo.
(Source: "Tragic Victories", by Edward Jablonski)
Thumbs up - A pilot in his cockpit receives a thumbs up from a deckcrewman below. From the smile on his face, he's just returned from a mission. Is he happy his mission was a success? Or is he just happy to have survived?
(Source: U.S. Navy)
A successful mission - Pilots of the (second) USS Lexington's Fighter Squadron 16 exhult beside one of their F6F Hellcats after foiling an attack by two dozen Japanese planes off Tarawa on November 23, 1943. The Americans downed 17 of the enemy without suffering a single loss.
(Source:"The Carrier War" by Clark G. Reynolds & Time-Life)
"And then you come down...." - Two pilots hold an impromptu tactics discussion on the flight deck of a carrier.
(Source: Franklin Avery)
Fair trade for Pappy - Marine Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington was probably the most famous Corsair ace. Baseball caps were the favorite non-flying headgear for Marine fighter pilots. When his squadron (VMF-214) ran low and were unable to acquire the regulation khaki caps, Boyington sent a letter to the then-champion St. Louis Cardinals offering to trade aerial victories for Cardinal caps. A deal was struck, ending in this December 1943 swap on Vella, in which Boyington (on the right) gave up a fistful of victory insignia for dozen caps.
(Source:"Air War Over The Pacific" by Robert C. Stern)
A trio of aces - Three Corsair aces from VF-17 "The Jolly Rogers": Roger Hedrick, Tom Blackburn, and Ira Kepford. Hedrick later commanded VF-84 in 1945.
(Source: Tailhook Photo Service)
Tough pilots for a tough war - six pilots from VF-17 "The Jolly Rogers" pose in front of the squadron scoreboard in January 1944. From the Roger Hedrick Collection of photos.
(Source: "Corsair Aces of World War 2" by Mark Styling)
Top Navy ace David McCampbell - The U.S. Navy's leading fighter ace, Commander David McCampbell, wing commander of the USS Essex, is shown here in October 1944 with thirty kill markings on the side of his F6F. Flying a Hellcat, McCampbell downed more planes in a single sortie (nine) than any other American fighter pilot.
(Source:"The Naval Air War" by Nathan Miller)
Pre-mission briefing - Pilots of Torpedo Squadron 13 in the ready room of the USS Franklin before taking part in the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, in which the incredible number of eighteen to twenty torpedo hits and ten bomb hits was required to sink the Japanese super-battleship Musashi.
(Source:"The Naval Air War" by Nathan Miller)
Lexington's ready room - Pilots on board the USS Lexington (CV-16) receive a pre-strike briefing in one of the pilot's ready rooms in this color photo taken sometime in 1943-4.
(Source:"Carrier Air War - In Original WWII Color" by R. Lawson & B. Tillman)