IWA-16 Sailors – USS Saratoga (CV-3)
A U.S. Navy Aircraftcarrier’s deck crew exists to do one thing: to consistently put aircraft into the air and safely recover them after they launch. In order to make this happen, there exists a small army of flight deck facilitators, and each individual has their own role primarily designated by the color of the shirt they wear.
Life on the flight deck is dangerous and taxing. Spinning propellers, grease everywhere, and a stiff sea wind that never stops are just a few of the things that must be endured for many hours at a time. The night and bad weather throw a whole other set of problems into the mix.
Yellow shirts are also worn by aircraft handlers and aircraft directors that shuttle aircraft around the carrier’s tight and chaotic deck.
Plane Handlers, who work under the direction of the yellow shirt wearing aircraft handlers, assist in moving aircraft around the deck. They also can operate the carrier’s massive aircraft elevators, drive tractors and work as messengers and verbal liaisons.