In March 1921, Major John G. Thornell and his crew were detailed to Italy to procure a new experimental airship for the United States Army Air Service. Stationed at Langley Field in Hampton, the ROMA never lived up to expectations despite being heralded as the future of military innovation. Tragically, it crashed and erupted in a ball of fire in 1922, claiming the lives of thirty-four of the brave men aboard. Author Nancy E. Sheppard reveals the forgotten, harrowing story of one of the last great airships and those who sacrificed for the promise of a new era in aviation.
A sign at the gate of Naval Air Station Pensacola (NASP) welcomes visitors to "The Cradle of Naval Aviation." And, indeed it is. The world's first naval aeronautical station, it came into being when the USS Mississippi (BB-23) arrived in Pensacola on January 20, 1914, with seven aircraft, nine officers, and 23 men. Today, NASP is a dynamic, active station, hosting several schools and several branches of the US military. It is also the home of the Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, as well as the renowned National Naval Aviation Museum (NNAM), which displays more than 100 years of naval aviation, from a replica Curtiss hydroplane to the F-14 Tomcat.