Ten harrowing days that changed aviation history


    “Gentlemen, as you know, naval aviation is at a crucial juncture. There are people, some of them important people, who question the Navy’s need for aircraft – any aircraft. Many consider Navy aircraft capable of nothing much more than shoreline patrol duty, and unfortunately, the public listens to them. Even some of our own brass are mired in the belief that the Navy would be better off using aircraft funds elsewhere…. Therefore, if the Navy is to continue to stay in the air we must do whatever we can to alter these perceptions.
    “We’ve been offered a unique opportunity to make naval history. I’ve asked you here because each of you is the best at what you do. I want to extend to you the chance to volunteer for a very important project. It’s a bold plan, and one that will necessitate some personal sacrifice…. The ultimate mission will be hazardous.”