12. The United States Navy withdrew many of its best pilots
The massive Naval buildup in the United States, just getting started in the spring of 1942, meant a pending shortage of trained crews and pilots. Following the Battle of Midway, the Navy addressed the problem. Experienced combat pilots, those who had performed the best in combat, were withdrawn from frontline units, rotated back to the United States or Pearl Harbor. There they trained the new recruits and aviators in combat techniques. Lessons learned in the fighting over the early months of the war in many cases replaced theories provided to trainees by instructors with no combat experience. The same was true in positions other than pilots. Lessons learned in damage control, firefighting, anti-aircraft fire, and all aspects of war at sea were conveyed to trainees by veterans.
The US Navy approach was in all ways superior to the Japanese method of retaining their most successful pilots in combat operations. Often, they became more conspicuous in combat, as they assumed leadership roles. As the war continued the most experienced Japanese pilots were gradually reduced by attrition, and the replacements lacked the beneficial knowledge of experienced pilots. American pilot skills improved throughout the war, as did their equipment. John Thach was an example. After Midway, Thach was assigned a training role, and replacement pilots learned the use of the Thach Weave from the man who developed the maneuver.