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Wave-Off Book Review

By Davd L. Veres

Date of Review April 2017 Title Wave-Off
Author Robert "Boom" Powell Publisher Specialty Press
Published 2017 ISBN 9781580072519
Format 192 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $39.95


Don't let the title fool you: Wave-Off! from Specialty Press is far more than just "A History of LSOs and Ship-Board Landings".

Far more.

Sure, author Robert "Boom" Powell charts the critical history, equipment and responsibilities of Landing Signal Officers – LSOs.

But through that LSO prism, Powell – a retired US Navy Commander – also traces the worldwide saga of carrier aviation itself.

And from nascent operations in World War I through maturity in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, to global force projection in today's powerful carrier battle groups, contents conspicuously – and competently – confirm that:

  • First Steps, 1918–1930
  • Flying at Sea
  • Practice, Prepare and Combat, 1931–1941
  • War in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, 1942–1945
  • Carriers Supreme, the Pacific, 1942–1945
  • New Roles, 1946–1955
  • Landing at Sea Revolution
  • Big Bombs, Supersonics and Super Carriers, 1956–1964
  • Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club, 1965–1972
  • Flashpoints, 1973–Present

Hundreds of photos – B&W and color – and dozens of drawings illumine the account. Some action paintings, too.

How about those "flight deck" scale comparisons? And that eye-popping shot of HMS Ark Royal and USS Nimitz, side-by-side, in 1978? Can anyone say, "diorama"?

Extended captions and anecdotes further season the study. Scintillating sidebars also pepper Powell's proceedings. Check out those paddle-wheel Great Lakes training carriers!

An epilogue, glossary, annotations and index neatly round things out.

What a cool compendium. I enjoyed every page. And if you love carrier aviation, you will, too.


My sincere thanks to Specialty Press for this review sample!