The second part of this two-part documentary series begins with the potential demise of naval aviation, as many in the military establishment promote nuclear weapons and pronounce carrier aviation obsolete. Korea, and later Vietnam, offer a startling reminder of the utility of naval aviation, and undermine the post-World War II conviction that the U.S. will fight all of its wars with nuclear weapons. As the Cold War deepens, the installation of Soviet ballistic missiles in Cuba brings the nation to the brink of nuclear war. Another important function of naval aviation - reconnaissance - rallies world opinion and helps diffuse the crisis. Photographs of the Soviet missiles taken by low-flying naval aviators provide incontrovertible evidence of the Soviet Union's lying. Following the age of nuclear terror came a new low in Vietnam, where doubts about the military merge with racial animosities to undermine morale among naval aviators. The episode concludes by exploring the technological evolutions like GPS-guided weapons that continue to transform the field. Interviews and vivid archival footage from Afghanistan and Iraq highlights the new moral challenges of asymmetrical warfare today.
Episode #102 / Length: 56 minutes