Trains, Boats & Planes | 26 May 2017Aircraft Carriers: Color Coding Flight Operations Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Flight operations aboard a modern aircraft carrier require the seamless, perfectly choreographed efforts of a number of highly trained teams. Michael Haskew, author of Aircraft Carriers: The Illustrated History of the World’s Most Important Warships, walks readers through the specific color-coding of flight operators’ jerseys. Flight deck crewmen aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln assemble amid a broad spectrum of colored jerseys that designate their responsibilities during flight operations. Commissioned in November 1989, the Abraham Lincoln played an integral role in relief efforts following an earthquake that ravaged large areas of Indonesia in 2004. The carrier also deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Photo: US Navy At least eight teams are responsible for the preparation and execution of launches and recoveries aboard the carrier’s deck, and each team member wears a distinctive colored jersey that denotes their specific function. The air boss usually wears a yellow jersey but may choose to wear another color. Yellow designates the aircraft handling officers, plane directors who move aircraft on the flight and hangar decks, and catapult and arresting gear officers. Catapult and arresting gear crewmen, personnel involved in air wing maintenance and quality control, cargo handling, hook runners, photographer’s mates, ground support equipment troubleshooters, and helicopter landing signal enlisted personnel wear green jerseys. White jerseys indicate personnel responsible for quality assurance, safety observers, liquid oxygen crews, air transfer officers, landing signal officers, and squadron plane inspectors, while medical personnel wear white with a red cross emblazoned prominently. Ordnance personnel handling bombs, missiles, and ammunition as well as firefighters, explosive ordnance disposal personnel, and crash and salvage crews wear red. Plane handler trainees and inexperienced flight deck workers subordinate to those in yellow jerseys are recognized in blue along with messengers and phone communicators, tractor drivers, and aircraft elevator operators. Aviation fuel handlers wear purple jerseys, while air wing plane captains, squadron personnel who prepare planes for flight, and air wing line-leading petty officers wear brown. The final checker, or inspector, wears either a black or a white jersey. To a lesser degree, the pants worn during flight operations are also indicative of an individual’s role. Khaki indicates an officer or chief petty officer, while petty officers and enlisted sailors wear navy blue pants. Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Step aboard the floating cities that patrol international waters, launch aircraft from their decks, and decide the fate of war. Behold the king of naval warfare: the aircraft carrier. Soon after the Wright Brothers’ historic flight in 1903, officials explored the airplane’s military applications. The seaplane and the flying boat were conceived to combine air and naval operations, but their potential proved limited. Aircraft that could operate from the deck of a ship, however, offered tremendous possibilities. A few visionaries seized the opportunity, and by mid-century the aircraft carrier eclipsed the battleship as the preeminent weapon of naval warfare. Since the first successful launch of an airplane from the deck of a naval ship in 1910, “fighting flattops” have evolved into immense, nuclear-powered vessels–floating cities capable of launching dozens of aircraft performing a variety of missions, including attack, escort, antisubmarine patrol, and deterrence. This illustrated history covers that evolution, from the first tentative steps taken by naval aviators before World War I to the roles these massive ships have played in the War on Terror. While author Michael Haskew focuses on US Navy carriers, he also provides coverage of parallel and competing carrier developments overseas. In addition to explaining the technologies behind past and present carriers and their aircraft, Haskew reexamines major engagements involving carriers, especially the epic Pacific battles of World War II, as well as personalities who were central to carrier development and deployment and naval doctrine relating to carriers. Filled with carefully curated period photography and modern images showing aircraft carriers throughout the decades, Aircraft Carriers is a celebration of naval warfare’s most important innovation. Michael E. Haskew has been writing and researching military history subjects for over twenty-five years. He is the editor of WWII History magazine and The World War II Desk Reference with the Eisenhower Center for American Studies. He is the author of West Point 1915: Eisenhower, Bradley, and the Class the Stars Fell On; Appomattox: The Last Days of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia; and Tank: 100 Years of the World’s Most Important Armored Military Vehicle, among numerous other publications. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.