Empire of the Summer Moon

S. C. Gwynne (2011)

“AR 70-28, dated 18 June 1976, specifies that Army aircraft should be given the names of American Indian tribes or chiefs or terms. The name should appeal to the imagination without sacrifice of dignity, and should suggest an aggressive spirit and confidence in the capabilities of the aircraft. The name also should suggest mobility, agility, flexibility, firepower and endurance.” –Aviation Digest (March 1977)

It is tempting to take the naming of the United States Army’s most technologically sophisticated helicopters after tribes of the great American Plains as a final act of usurpation.

For what it’s worth, I think the term ‘Comanche’ inspires a feeling of immense awe amongst most white men, and using it for a stealth helicopter signifies a certain aspiration, an enduring (yet nostalgic) vision of masculinity.

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