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Plane Captain, Aircraft Carrier Flight Deck Crew, U.S.S. Bunker Hill, WWII--single figure

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John Jenkins Designs

Item Number: BH-32

Plane Captain, Aircraft Carrier Flight Deck Crew, U.S.S. Bunker Hill, WWII

Air operations aboard carriers included a wide variety of jobs. In addition to the plane crews, a large number of support personnel were required to keep the planes flying.  These included mechanics, ordnancemen, plane handlers, firefighters, catapult crews, and medical teams.  Without them and their dedication to getting the job done, the carriers and their air groups would not have succeeded.

Men whose duties required them to work on the carrier’s flight deck wore brightly coloured shirts for two reasons.  One, the flight deck was a potentially dangerous place, especially when planes were being launched or recovered.  Anyone not wearing a colour coded shirt didn’t belong on the flight deck during operations.  Two, the colour coded shirts also indicated the specific job specialty of the men who wore them.

A U.S. Navy Aircraft carrier’s deck crew exists to do one thing: to consistently put aircraft into the air and safely recover them after they launch. I n order to make this happen, there exists a small army of flight deck facilitators, and each individual has their own role primarily designated by the color of the shirt they wear.

Life on the flight deck is dangerous and taxing.  Spinning propellers, grease everywhere, and a stiff sea wind that never stops are just a few of the things that must be endured for many hours at a time.  The night and bad weather throw a whole other set of problems into the mix. 

Brown shirts are worn most notably by Plane Captains.  Plane Captains are responsible for overseeing the maintenance, launch and recovery, and general well-being of their aircraft as well as the others in their squadron.  The old adage is the plane captain is the one who truly “owns the jet,” and the pilot just borrows it for a couple hours at a time.

released in JANUARY 2020.