Paul L. Cooper Weekend Warriors

ISBN 13: 9780897452021

Weekend Warriors

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9780897452021: Weekend Warriors
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Winston Churchill called them "twice a citizen" -- the military Reservists. This account of their contribution in the Korean War is written from a citizen/sailor viewpoint. Reserve fighter squadron VF-871 from Naval Air Station Oakland, California, is followed from the author's call to active duty in July 1950 and his preparation and service in Korea aboard the aircraft carrier Princeton, to his release to inactive duty in September 1951. Cooper candidly evaluates the squadron's performance based on the quality and depth of training and notes the continuing drama surrounding the 38th Parallel.

"A formal peace treaty has never been signed and the two sides remain technically at war. The beat goes on."

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About the Author:

Paul L. Cooper was born and raised in Berkeley, California. Following his release from service he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley, majoring in Labor and Industrial Relations. He also received an Associate of Arts degree in Journalism from the City College of San Francisco and a Certificate in Industrial Relations from the University of California Extension Division.

Cooper and his wife Marie have resided in the city of Pleasant Hill, California, since 1962. He was first elected to the Pleasant Hill City Council in 1978 and subsequently re-elected to four additional four year terms. He has been selected five times to serve as Mayor, the first to do so in the city's history. He also serves on the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of Directors and has been Chair of the Board. He has published magazine articles on public administration issues while practicing his local government avocation.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction: Winston Churchill called them "twice a citizen." They are military Reservists, individuals who pursue a civilian career, fuel the economic engine of state, and, at the same time, train and prepare to defend the nation during times of war or national emergency.

The evolution of the Naval Reserve, specifically the Air Reserve from the end of World War II through the end of the Cold War, perhaps since 1970, could be called revolutionary. Naval aviation was a force in transition from 1945 until the early 1950s. After the war with Japan ended on August 15, 1945 -- V-J Day -- America's mood demanded instantaneous and total demobilization. Downsizing after World War II was dramatic. In mid-1945, the U.S. Navy had 98 carriers on active status. One year later there were 23, and at the outbreak of the Korean War only 15.

The reduction of strength, however, provided trained air crews and maintenance personnel for the Reserve program. Reserve Air Stations had little difficulty finding naval aviators, who wanted to maintain flight proficiency; and enlisted men, trained in aircraft maintenance and logistics, enjoyed an association with buddies. Individual Reservists were assigned to squadrons that trained and flew Air Station aircraft on drill weekends. Active-duty Navy personnel were specifically assigned to the training and administration of Reservists. These TARS, as they were called, also provided maintenance for aircraft assigned to Air Stations. Formal schooling was not available, but local training was provided to improve job skills and qualify for promotion. Three Reserve recalls were conducted under this system of taking people back into the service, with mixed results. The largest of these was during the Korean War.

Navy planners were challenged to stay ahead of the increased "power curve" created by the recall of Reservists, but were to do so in an atmosphere of tighter budgets and reduced Regulars manpower. Naval aviation was confronted with a serious threat to its very existence, and the future was in doubt through much of the late 1940s. At the same time, there was rapid change in aircraft technology, and the jet engine and higher attainable speeds created doubts about the compatibility of this technology with the aircraft carrier. During the Korean War, accident rates aboard ships proved greater in jet aircraft squadrons than the combat casualty rate, partly because of the newness of the aircraft type. This rate dropped dramatically, however, with the development of the angled fight deck, which allowed a "bolter" -- an aircraft that had missed the arresting wire -- to take off without smashing into the aircraft parked on the bow.

In 1970 a major change occurred with the establishment of the Naval Air Reserve Force. The Force was comprised of two attack and two antisubmarine air groups, overseen by Regular Navy Air Group Commanders. Each squadron, commanded by a Reservist, had a nucleus of active-duty officers and enlisted personnel. Air groups were provided aircraft carrier "deck time" -- operational training; squadron carrier deployments were conducted; and formal training and drills were authorized to ensure that all necessary qualifications could be achieved and maintained. Pilots were required to maintain at least day carrier qualifications, which was less onerous than that for nighttime flying. For the first time, Reserve squadrons were combat ready and depolyable, but their aircraft models were not yet the same as those being flown in the Fleet. The maintenance capability of a carrier could not keep flying more than one model of particular aircraft without major modifications to test-bench equipment (engines and ancillary equipment). This was called "intermediate maintenance" because serious cases were simply pushed over the side.

A "total force" concept was inaugurated in 1973, which increased the responsibility of the National Guard and Reserve forces, as partners with the active-duty forces, for carrying out national security strategy. War planning in the Navy Department took on a whole new meaning. The Regular Navy took a serious interest in a trained Reserve and pushed for modern equipment for Reserve units. The term "horizontal integration" was introduced, and new aircraft were purchased in sufficient numbers to supply both Regulars and Reserves -- both would have the same type of equipment so that any one could be substituted for another. Reserve squadrons received the first aircraft purchased, the F/A 18, before some Regular Navy squadrons.

After years of talk, the integration of Reserves with the Regular Navy became a reality. Today, the Naval Reserve represents 20 percent of the total force. Every Navy command has its Reserve component. Personnel travel to their "gaining command" -- the one to which they are attached -- on a quarterly basis and normally spend two weeks a year there. It is not unusual to see an organizational chart, at an Air Station or on a ship, with Reservist names in assigned slots next to their active-duty counterparts.

Volunteer spirit has always been at the very heart of the Naval Reserve, allowing it to grow into one of the truly elite elements of our armed services -- a major change since the 1950s. (V. J. Anzilotti, Rear Admiral U.S. Naval Reserve, Ret.)

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