There I WUZ – A navy flight surgeon’s view of naval aviation
Title: : There I WUZ – A navy flight surgeon’s view of naval aviation
Author : James A White, MD (LCDR, USNR)
Publisher : Archway Publishing
Published on : 1st Edition, 2021
Language : English
Paperback : 478 pages
Type of the Book : Non-Fiction
ISBN : 978-1-6657-1021-3
“There I WUZ – A Navy Flight Surgeon’s view of Naval Aviation” takes the reader on a journey through the challenging and unique life on an aircraft carrier. The events which transpire on the USS independence in the 60s are looked at through the kaleidoscopic perspective of a flight surgeon and are filled with medical tales, tragedy, humor, personality, facts, and lore. It offers the reader an in-depth experience of how a complex mega-machine works as a living soul and the ordeals faced by the crew of the carrier.
The book starts with the author’s pre-med days wherein he chooses the Student Flight Surgeon program to serve the country as was the norm in that decade due to the Vietnam build-up. After initial orientation at Oakland Naval Hospital in California for 2 months, the author undergoes training at Naval Aerospace Medicine Institute in Pensacola, Florida. The premier institute conducts many programs including a Residency in Aerospace Medicine. Basic naval customs and etiquette are also taught in the first 3 weeks. Readers of this book get valuable insight into the training of Aerospace Medicine specialists in the US Navy and the curriculum they are taught, for example, Ophthalmology, ENT, Applied Physiology, and preventive medicine among others. Military psychology is also given its due and small team dynamics concerning naval aviation ops and maintenance are explained well in the text.
This book takes you straight to the tarmac of a naval carrier where brave-heart aviators take off into the horizon and perform challenging landings on a day-to-day basis. It makes the reader understand and respect the arduous tasks the carrier crew accomplishes safeguarding the territorial waters and national airspace. A gradual build-up of a narrative is followed all throughout the book and before the readers are taken on a journey through naval operations, the author explains the functioning of the carrier and how the navy is organized which helps the lay reader grasp the content easily and makes for a very good read.
Personalities of naval aviators and various other serving personnel of other branches of the navy are brought out by the author in a humorous way and it helps the readers establish a personal connection with those who serve. Flight surgeons lead a life of a specialist unlike in any other branch of medicine, they are also expected to be trained as pilots and complete carrier qualifications before they graduate with the Flight Surgeons Gold Wings and get posted to naval air stations to perform specialty duties.
Opinion about the Book: The book is very well written and the author uses simple, crisp language, and an engaging style of writing which puts the reader right in the middle of a naval carrier. I recommend this book to every Aerospace Medicine resident and medical student alike as it can help bridge the gap between curriculum and practice of this unique specialty. This book has the prowess to inspire many doctors from various walks of life to contribute to aerospace safety and train in Aerospace Medicine. The content is written in a logical progression with personal insights into the author helping the reader understand the complex navy carrier ecosystem, the psyche of the crew, and what drives them to serve ashore.