Armed Forces: The Pilot Pinch

As Defense Secretary Robert McNamara never tires of pointing out, Viet Nam has necessitated neither the mobilization of reserves nor the imposition of wage-and-price controls at home. Yet the war has inevitably caused strains and shortages, none of them potentially more perilous than the dwindling supply of military aviators. Ironically, the attrition has resulted not so much from the hazards of Hanoi's MIGs and antiaircraft batteries as from the built-in competitiveness of American society in the jet and space age.

All four services—Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force—are flying thin. Though there are pilots enough to fill every cockpit...

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