A summer day off the coast of California and the flight deck of the U.S.S. Lexington swarms with activity. Flying the premiere Navy fighter, the stubby Boeing F4B-4, pilots of Fighting Two ready for take-off. Certainly all Naval Aviators are considered professionals but these men were unique; they were a small group of hand-picked enlisted pilots. The flying Chiefs of VF-2 were selected from all rated enlisted pilots; it was both an honor and a challenge to fly with Fighting Two. The mid-thirties was likely the most colorful period in naval aviation. Aircraft were brightly painted to aid in visibility, show unit markings, and to identify leaders and wingmen. This was a period of evolution for carrier aviation as men, equipment, and tactics were put to continued test. The ultimate challenge was but a few years ahead. This type of scene is a favorite of James Dietz as it enables him to blend aircraft, color, and men into an instant of action. As you examine Jim''s work you will find a potential story with each identifiable figure in the image. The scene evolves with continued study and is as much in the mind of the view as it is on the canvas.
Pre-WW II Carrier Scene