Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Helldiver Training, Cartoon Style

During World War II, renown satirical cartoonist and illustrator Robert C. Osborn drew thousands of cartoon for the U.S. Navy's training command, dealing with both technical issues, as well a personnel ones, as embodied in his cast of infamous characters led by the bumbling pilot "Dilbert". Osborn's style became a Navy institution, one that was copied on a local level by other Navy artists.

Last week, we featured several Douglas SB2C Helldiver photos from the estate of pilot Herman Olds. Included with the collection of actual photos came a large group of 8x10 glossy photo prints of training illustrations done in the Osborn style by a Navy artist that signed his work only with the initials "R.E.H". Some of these illustrations were specific to training issues with the Helldiver, and those are being featured in today's post. Next week's Tuesday post will feature this same artist's cartoons that address other issues faced by Navy pilots.

All of these prints are stamped on the back to indicate that they were printed on 3 Nov 1946 on board CV-40, the USS Tarawa. Olds' logbooks indicate that he completed his SB2C-5 carrier quals on the Tarawa on November 27, 1946 as a member of "Bombing Squadron Four", so this packet of prints were probably part of his training regimen there. During this time-period, Olds and the Tarawa were operating around Saipan and the Marianas, and flew training mission which included live bombing of targets on the island of Pagau.

The artist's initials of "REH" appear on the bottom of some prints.

1 comment:

  1. The Navy and Marine aviation safety magazine "Approach" was using cartoons like these until about 2009. The August issue of that year had an F18 on an operating table. The artist's name was Rick Nunes. During my stint with naval aviation '68 - '71 I read "Approach" every month and remember cartoons like these in every issue.