LSO is an acronym for Landing Signal Officer. On military ships that have spots for aircraft to land, the LSO is responsible for the safe landing and departure of vehicles. Though mostly found on aircraft carriers, they also appear on small ships that carry one or two helicopters. On the tin cans, the LSO is the one in charge of operations. He communicates with the pilots and the LSE, or Landing Signal Enlisted, who gets the honor of being out on the deck in dangerous conditions while they direct the aircraft with hand signals or red and green lit wands.

If anything goes wrong or someone gets injured, the LSO is called on the carpet. Unless it is an egregious error that became very public, the blame unfortunately gets passed off to the LSE who is less important than the officer. For the three incidents I was witness to, two were mistakes by the LSO giving wrong information to the pilots. In both cases, the pilots did not follow the LSE's instructions and someone was injured. Despite multiple witnesses and a recording of the incident, the LSE was blamed and reduced in rank.

Iron Noder 2017

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