The United States Navy
The Carriers header

A Brief History
of U.S. Navy
Aircraft Carriers

Sources: United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1970 [NAVAIR 00-80P-1]
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

All images below are hyperlinked to larger images for better viewing. All images are official Navy photographs.

 
Nov. 3, 1909 - Lieut. George Sweet was taken up as a passenger in the first Army Wright aircraft by Lieut. Frank P. Lahm, USA, at College Park, Md. Lieut. Sweet is credited with being the first Navy officer to have flown in an airplane.
picture, caption follows Sept. 26, 1910 - The Secretary of the Navy, George von L. Meyer, designated Capt. Washington I. Chambers, Assistant to the Aid for Material, as the officer to whom all correspondence on aviation should be referred. This is the first recorded reference to a provision for aviation in the Navy Department.
picture, caption follows Nov. 14, 1910 - Eugene Ely, 24, a civilian pilot, took off in a 50-hp. Curtiss plane from a wooden platform built over the bow of the light cruiser USS Birmingham (CL-2). The ship was at anchor in Hampton Roads, Va., and Ely landed moments later on Willoughby Spit.
picture, caption follows Nov. 29, 1910 - Glenn H. Curtiss wrote to Secretary Meyer offering flight instruction without charge for one Navy officer as one means of assisting "in developing the adaptability of the aeroplane to military purposes." On Dec. 23, Lieut. T. Gordon "Spuds" Ellyson, left in picture, was ordered to report to the Glenn Curtiss Aviation Camp at North Island, San Diego, Calif. He completed his training Apr. 12, 1911, and became Naval Aviator No. 1.
picture, caption follows Jan. 18, 1911 - At 11:01 a.m., Eugene Ely, flying a Curtiss pusher, landed on a specially built platform aboard the armored cruiser USS Pennsylvania (ACR 4) at anchor in San Francisco Bay. At 11:58 a.m., he took off and returned to Selfridge Field, San Francisco.
picture, caption follows Nov. 5, 1915 - Lieut. Cmdr. Henry C. Mustin made the first catapault launching from a ship. He flew an AB-2 flying boat off the stern of USS North Carolina (ACR 12) in Pensacola Bay, Fla.
picture, caption follows Jul. 11, 1919 - The Naval Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1920 provided for the conversion of the collier Jupiter into a ship specifically designed to launch and recover airplanes at sea an aircraft carrier later to be named Langley. The engineering plans for this conversion were modified in November and included catapults to be fitted on both the forward and after ends of the "flying-off" deck.
picture, caption follows Mar. 20, 1922 - USS Langley (CV 1), converted from the collier USS Jupiter (AC 3), was placed in commission at Norfolk, Va., as the Navy's first aircraft carrier. The ship's executive officer, Cmdr. Kenneth Whiting, was in command.
Apr. 1, 1922 - The specifications of arresting gear of the type later installed in early aircraft carriers were sent to various design engineers. "The arresting gear will consist of two or more transverse wires stretched across the fore and aft wires ... [and which] lead around sheaves placed outboard to hydraulic brakes. The plane, after engaging the transverse wire, is guided down the deck by the fore and aft wires and is brought to rest by the action of the transverse wire working with the hydraulic brake."
Jul. 1, 1922 - Congress authorized the conversion of the unfinished battle cruisers Lexington and Saratoga as aircraft carriers and as permitted under the terms of the Washington Treaty.
picture, caption follows Oct. 17, 1922 - Lieut. V.C. Griffin, in a Vought VE-7SF, like the one to the left, took off from USS Langley at anchor in the York River, Virginia, making the first take-off from an aircraft carrier.
picture, caption follows Oct. 26, 1922 - Lieut. Cmdr. Godfrey deC. Chevalier, flying an Aeromarine, made the first landing aboard USS Langley underway off Cape Henry, Virginia. Lieut. Cmdr. Chevalier, Naval Aviator #7, died Nov. 14 in the Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Va., of injuries suffered in a plane crash two days earlier at Lochaven, near Norfolk.
Nov. 18, 1922 - Cmdr. Kenneth Whiting, piloting a PT seaplane, made the first catapult launching from USS Langley (CV 1) at anchor in the York River.
picture, caption follows Nov. 17, 1924 - Langley reported for duty with the Battle Fleet, thereby ending two years in an experimental status and becoming the first operational aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy. On 1 Dec., she also became the flagship for Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet.
picture, caption follows Nov. 16, 1927 - USS Saratoga (CV 3) commissioned at Camden, N.J., Capt. Harry E. Yarnell, commanding.
picture, caption follows Dec. 14, 1927 - USS Lexington (CV 2) commissioned at Quincy, Mass., Capt. Albert W. Marshall, commanding.
Jan. 11, 1928 - The first take off and landing aboard USS Saratoga (CV 3) was made by the ship's Air Officer Cmdr. Marc A. Mitscher in a UO-1.
Jan. 23-27, 1929 - The carriers Lexington and Saratoga took part in fleet exercises, attached to opposing forces. Saratoga was detached from the main force, and with an escorting cruiser, was sent on a wide southward sweep before turning north to approach within striking distance of her target, the Panama Canal. On the morning of the 26th, while it was still dark, she launched a strike group of 69 aircraft which arrived over the target undetected shortly after dawn and completed the theoretical destruction of the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks without opposition. This demonstration made a profound impression on naval tacticians.
Apr. 9, 1929 - Operations aboard Langley and Saratoga confirmed that the fore-and-aft wires of the arresting gear were not needed. The Secretary of the Navy authorized their removal in September. All carrier aircraft, based on these tests, were equipped with brakes and wheel type tail skids.
Jan. 16, 1930 - USS Lexington (CV 2) completed a 30-day period in which she furnished electricity to the city of Tacoma, Wash., in an emergency arising from a failure of the city's power supply. The electricity from the carrier totaled more than 4.25 million kilowatt-hours.
picture, caption follows Sept. 26, 1931 - The keel for USS Ranger (CV 4), the first ship of the U.S. Navy to be designed and constructed as an aircraft carrier, was laid at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Va. The ship was launched on 25 Feb. 1933, and commissioned 4 Jun. 1934 at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Capt. Arthur L. Bristol, commanding.
Nov. 1, 1934 - The Naval Aircraft Factory was authorized to manufacture and test a flush-deck hydraulic catapult, Type H Mark I. This catapult was designed to launch land planes from aircraft carriers and was the Navy's initial development of a hydraulic catapult, a type which was to be the primary means of launching land planes from carriers.
picture, caption follows Apr. 21, 1937 - Following a four-month conversion period, the Navy's first carrier USS Langley was converted to a seaplane tender and reclassified as AV-3.
picture, caption follows Sept. 30, 1937 - USS Yorktown (CV 5) was placed in commission at the Norfolk Naval Operating Base (NOB), Norfolk, Va., with Capt. Ernest D. McWhorter in command. The ship's keel was laid on 21 May 1934 and it was launched on 4 April 1936.
picture, caption follows May 12, 1938 - USS Enterprise (CV 6) was placed in commission at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newport News, Va., Capt. N. H. White commanding. The ship was launched 3 Oct. 1936.
Jun. 11-13, 1939 - USS Saratoga (CV 3) and the tanker USS Kanawha (AO 1) conducted underway refueling tests off the coast of southern California, demonstrating the feasibility of refueling carriers at sea.
picture, caption follows Apr. 25, 1940 - USS Wasp (CV 7) was placed in commission at the Army Quartermaster Base, Boston, Mass., Capt. John W. Reeves, Jr., commanding. The ship's keel was laid 1 Apr. 1936, at Quincy, Mass., by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co., and the ship was launched 4 Apr. 1939.
picture, caption follows Jun. 2, 1941 - USS Long Island (AVG 1), the Navy's first escort carrier, commissioned at Newport News, Va., Cmdr. Donald B. Duncan in command. The ship was originally built as Mormacmail, a cargo ship, by Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Chester, Pa., and converted in 67 days to a flush-deck carrier. She was reclassified as CVE-1 on 15 Jul. 1943. Expanded information on escort carriers (CVEs)
picture, caption follows Oct. 20, 1941 - USS Hornet (CV 8) was placed in commission in Norfolk, Va., Capt. Marc A. Mitscher in command. The ship was launched 14 Dec. 1940 at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company.
picture, caption follows Dec. 7, 1941 - Carrier aircraft of the Japanese Imperial Navy launched a devastating attack on Pearl Harbor and on the military and air installations in the area. The three aircraft carriers of the Pacific Fleet were not present. USS Saratoga (CV 3), just out of overhaul, was moored at San Diego. USS Lexington (CV 2) was at sea about 425 miles southeast of Midway toward which she was headed to deliver a Marine Scout Bombing Squadron. USS Enterprise (CV 6) was also at sea, about 200 miles west of Pearl Harbor, returning from Wake Island where she had delivered a Marine Fighter Squadron.


The United States Navy
The Carriers header

A Brief History
of U.S. Navy
Aircraft Carriers

Part IIa The War Years (1941-1942)

Sources: United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1970 [NAVAIR 00-80P-1]
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

All images below are hyperlinked to larger images for better viewing. All images are official Navy photographs.

 
picture, caption follows Dec. 7, 1941 - Carrier aircraft of the Japanese Imperial Navy launched a devastating attack on Pearl Harbor and on the military and air installations in the area. The three aircraft carriers of the Pacific Fleet were not present. USS Saratoga (CV 3), just out of overhaul, was moored at San Diego. USS Lexington (CV 2) was at sea about 425 miles southeast of Midway toward which she was headed to deliver a Marine Scout Bombing Squadron. USS Enterprise (CV 6) was also at sea, about 200 miles west of Pearl Harbor, returning from Wake Island where she had delivered a Marine Fighter Squadron. Expanded information
picture, caption follows Feb. 1, 1942 - Task Forces 8 (under Vice Adm. William F. Halsey) and 17 (under Rear Adm. Frank J. Fletcher, built around the carriers Enterprise and Yorktown, attacked the Japanese installations on the islands of Wotje, Kwajalein, Jaluit, Makin, and Mili in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. This was the first U.S. aircraft carrier offensive.
Feb. 27, 1942 - Early in the morning, USS Langley (AV 3) rendezvoused with her antisubmarine screen, USS Whipple (DD 217) and USS Edsall (DD 219) near Tjilatjap, Java. At 1140, nine twin-engine Japanese bombers attacked her. The first and second strikes were unsuccessful, but during the third strike, Langley took five hits. Aircraft topside burst into flames, steering was impaired, and the ship took a 10 degree list to port. Unable to negotiate the narrow mouth of Tjilajap Harbor, Langley went dead in the water as inrushing water flooded her main engines. At 1332, the crew was order to abandon ship, and shortly after all were clear, the two destroyers fired 4-inch shells and two torpedoes into her and she sunk about 75 miles south of Tjilatjap. Sixteen crew were lost.
picture, caption follows Apr. 18, 1942 - Army Lieut. Col. James H. Doolittle, taking off from USS Hornet (CV 8), Capt. Marc A. Mitscher commanding, bombed Tokyo, the first American air strike against the Japanese homeland. Hornet's mission was kept an official secret for a year; until then President Roosevelt referred to the origin of the Tokyo raid only as "Shangri-La." Expanded information
picture, caption follows May 4-8, 1942 - The Battle of the Coral Sea. In the first naval engagement of history fought without the opposing ships making contact, U.S. carrier forces stopped a Japanese attempt to land at Port Moresby by turning back the covering carrier force. In the battle, the japanese lost the light carrier Shoho and the U.S. lost the carrier, USS Lexington (CV 2). Expanded information
picture, caption follows Jun. 3-6, 1942 - The Battle of Midway. A strong Japanese thrust to occupy Midway Island was led by a four-carrier Mobile Force, supported by heavy units of the Japanese First Fleet. Also, a diversionary carrier raid was launched against Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. The Japanese attack on Midway was met by a greatly outnumbered U.S. carrier force composed of Task Force 17 with USS Yorktown (CV 5) and Task Force 16 with USS Hornet (CV 8) and USS Enterprise (CV 6). In the ensuing battle, the four large Japanese carriers were sunk, carrying with them 258 planes along with a high percentage of Japan's most highly trained and battle-experienced carrier pilots, a blow to Japan from which she could not recover. Midway was the turning point of the war in the Pacific.Expanded information
picture, caption follows Jun. 15, 1942 - USS Copahee (CVE 12), Cmdr. J. G. Farrell in command, commissioned at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, the first of 10 escort carriers of the Bogue class.
picture, caption follows Aug. 12, 1942 - USS Wolverine (IX 64) commissioned at Buffalo, N.Y., Cmdr. G. R. Fairlamb, commanding. Wolverine and USS Sable (IX 81), commissioned May 1943, were Great Lakes excursion ships converted for aviation training . Sailing Lake Michigan, they provided flight decks on which hundreds of student aviators qualified for carrier landings and many flight deck crews received their first practical experience in handling aircraft aboard ship.
Aug. 20, 1942 - The designation of escort carriers was changed from AVG to ACV.
picture, caption follows Aug. 24, 1942 - USS Santee (ACV 29), under the command of Capt. W. D. Sample, was placed in commission at the Norfolk Navy Yard, the first of four escort carriers of the Sangamon class, converted from Cimarron class fleet oilers.
picture, caption follows Sept. 15, 1942 - USS Wasp (CV 7), under the command of Capt. Forrest P. Sherman, is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine southeast of San Cristobal Island and sinks with a loss of 193 killed and 366 wounded. Expanded information.
picture, caption follows Oct. 26, 1942 - The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands resulted in a tactical victory for Japan, but a strategic one for the U.S. in that Japan was unable to dislodge American forces off Guadalcanal. While the Japanese suffer no losses, USS Hornet (CV 8) was sunk. Damaged were the Japanese carrier Zuiho and the carrier Shokaku, and the cruiser Chikuma. Expanded information.
picture, caption follows Dec. 31, 1942 - USS Essex (CV 9), Capt. D. B. Duncan commanding, was placed in commission in Norfolk, Va., the first of 17 ships of her class commissioned during World War II.


The United States Navy
The Carriers header

A Brief History
of U.S. Navy
Aircraft Carriers

Part III Post War (1945-1949)

Sources: United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1970 [NAVAIR 00-80P-1]
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

All images below are hyperlinked to larger images for better viewing. All images are official Navy photographs.

 
picture, caption follows Sep. 10, 1945 - USS Midway (CVB 41), first of the 45,000 ton class aircraft carriers, was placed in commission at Newport News, Va., Capt. Joseph F. Bolger in command.
picture, caption follows Oct. 27, 1945 - USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB 42) commissioned, Capt. Apollo Soucek in command. The ship was launched Apr. 29, 1945, as Coral Sea at the New York Naval Shipyard but was renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt on May 8, 1945, in honor of the 32nd President who had led the country through the war and who had died on Apr. 12, 1945.
picture, caption follows Nov. 18, 1945 - USS Princeton (CV 37) commissioned, Capt. John M. Hoskins, commanding. The ship was originally laid down as Valley Forge at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard Sept. 14, 1943, and renamed Princeton Nov. 21, 1944. She was launched Jul. 8, 1945.
Dec. 8, 1945 - USS Tarawa (CV 40) commissioned, Capt. Alvin I. Malstrom, commanding.
Mar. 2, 1946 - USS Kearsarge (CV 33) commissioned at the New York Naval Shipyard, Capt. Francis J. McKenna in command.
picture, caption follows Apr. 11, 1946 - USS Leyte (CV 32) commissioned, Capt. Henry F. MacComsey, commanding. The ship was originally laid down as Crown Point Feb. 21, 1944, at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., and renamed Leyte on May 8, 1945.
Apr. 29, 1946 - USS Hancock (CV 19) steamed to Seattle, Wash., 29 April to await inactivation. She was decommissioned and entered the reserve fleet at Bremerton, Wash.
picture, caption follows May 11, 1946 - USS Philippine Sea (CV 47) commissioned, Capt. D.S. Cornwell in command. The ship was laid down by the Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass., Aug. 19, 1944, and launched Sept. 5, 1945.
picture, caption follows Jul. 1, 1946 - Operation Crossroads. Tests to determine the effects of atomic bombs on naval targets were conducted at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. In the first test, the bomb was dropped from a B-29 at 30,000 feet on ships anchored in the lagoon. Five sank outright and nine others were heavily damaged. A shallow underwater burst on July 25 raised the number of ships sunk to 32. Among the ships in these tests were USS Saratoga (CV 3) and USS Independence (CV 22). Expanded information
picture, caption follows Jul. 14, 1946 - USS Saipan (CVL 48) commissioned, Capt. John G. Crommelin in command.
picture, caption follows Jul. 21, 1946 - In the first U.S. test of the adaptability of jet aircraft to shipboard operations, an FD-1 Phantom, piloted by Cmdr. James Davidson made successful landing and take-offs on board USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB 42).
picture, caption follows Aug. 6 - Oct. 4, 1946 - USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB 42) deploys to the Mediterranean Sea. The carrier makes a port visit at Athens, reemphasizing U.S. support of the pro-Western Greek government, involved in a civil war against Communist insurgents. This was the earliest example of forward presence.
picture, caption follows Nov. 3, 1946 - USS Valley Forge (CV 45) commissioned, Capt. John W. Harris, commanding. The ship, laid down Sept. 7, 1944, by the Philadelphia Navy Yard, was built with money raised by the citizens of Philadelphia in a special war bond drive. She was launched Nov. 18, 1944.
picture, caption follows Jan. 9, 1947 - USS Essex (CV 9) was placed out of commission in reserve. The first of the World War II carriers to do so, she then underwent modernization which gave her a new flight deck, and a streamlined island superstructure. She was recommissioned Jan. 16, 1951, Capt. A. W. Wheelock commanding.
picture, caption follows Jan. 29, 1947 - From a position 660 miles off the Antarctic continent, USS Philippine Sea (CV 47) launched the first of six R4D transport aircraft to Little America. The first plane off was also the first carrier take off of an R4D. It was piloted by Cmdr. William M. Hawkes with Rear Adm. Richard E. Byrd as a passenger.
picture, caption follows Feb. 9, 1947 - USS Wright (CVL 49) commissioned, Capt. Frank T. Ward, commanding. The ship was laid down Aug. 21, 1944, by the New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J., and launched Sept. 1, 1945.
Feb 11, 1947 - USS Langley (CVL 27) was decommissioned at Philadelphia and transferred to France under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program Jan. 8, 1951. She was renamed La Fayette by the French. She was returned to the U.S. Mar. 20, 1963, and sold to the Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, Md., for scrapping.
picture, caption follows Jun. 4, 1947 - The CNO approved "Project 27A" by which Essex-class carriers were modernized to be able to handle aircraft to 40,000 pounds and included the installation of two H-8 catapults, strengthening the flight deck and clearing it of guns, increasing elevator capacity and adding special provisions for jet aircraft such as blast deflectors. USS Oriskany (CV 34), the first of nine carriers modernized under this project, began conversion at the New York Naval Shipyard on 1 Oct. 1947.
picture, caption follows Oct. 1, 1947 - USS Coral Sea (CVB 43) commissioned, Capt. A. P. Storrs III, in command. The ship was launched Apr. 2, 1946, at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newport News, Va.
May 5, 1948 - Fighter Squadron 17-A, equipped with 16 FH-1 Phantoms, becomes the first carrier qualified jet squadron in the U.S. Navy. The squadron qualified during three days of operations aboard USS Saipan (CVL 48).
Jul. 29, 1948 - President Truman approved construction of a "supercarrier", a 65,000-ton ship subsequently named United States (CV 58), for which funds had been provided in the Naval Appropriations Act 1949.
Apr. 23, 1949 - Construction of the United States was halted by order of the Secretary of Defense.


The United States Navy
The Carriers header

A Brief History
of U.S. Navy
Aircraft Carriers

Part IV Korea and the 1950s

Sources: United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1995 [Naval Historical Center]
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

All images below are hyperlinked to larger images for better viewing. All images are official Navy photographs.

 
Feb. 7, 1950 - In a demonstration of carrier long-range attack capabilities, a P2V-3C Neptune, Cmdr. Thomas Robinson in command, took off from USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB 42) off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla. The Neptune flew over Charleston, S.C., the Bahamas, the Panama Canal, up the coast of Central America, over Mexico, and landed on Feb. 8, at San Francisco's Municipal Airport. The flight, covering 5,060 miles in 25 hrs. 59 min., was the longest ever made from a carrier deck.
Jun. 25, 1950 - Korean Conflict begins.
picture, caption follows Jul. 3, 1950 - USS Valley Forge (CV 45) launched the first carrier air strikes in Korea.
picture, caption follows Jul. 23, 1950 - With the outbreak of the Korean conflict, USS Boxer (CV 21) was pressed into service to carry planes to the fighting. During 14-22 Jul. 1950 she made a record crossing of the Pacific, 81/2 days, with 150 Air Force and Navy planes and a thousand troops. On her return trip (27 Jul.-4 Aug.), she cut the record to 7 days, 10 hours, and 36 minutes.
picture, caption follows Aug. 5, 1950 - USS Valley Forge (CV 45) and USS Philippine Sea (CV 47) began what was to become almost three years of continuous carrier operation in Korea, with attacks on enemy lines of communication and close support missions.
picture, caption follows Apr. 2, 1951 - Two F9F-2B Panthers of VF-191, each loaded with four 250- and two 100-pound general purpose bombs, flew from USS Princeton (CV 37) for attack on a railroad bridge near Songjin. This was the first Navy use of a jet fighter as a bomber.
picture, caption follows Aug. 23, 1951 - USS Essex (CV 9) went into combat in Korea. She was the first carrier to launch F2H Banshee twinjet fighters on combat missions. On 16 Sept. 1951 one of these planes, damaged in combat, crashed into aircraft parked on the forward flight deck causing an explosion and fire which killed seven. After repairs at Yokosuka, Essex returned to frontline action on 3 Oct. to launch strikes up to the Yalu River and provide close air support for U.N. troops.
Feb. 1, 1952 - The CNO approved a modification of Project 27A. These changes included more powerful arresting gear, higher performance catapults, and a replacement of the number three centerline elevator with a deck-edge type of greater capacity. Three Essex-class carriers incorporating these modifications were completed under Project 27C.
May 26-29, 1952 - Tests proving the feasibility of an angled flight deck were conducted aboard USS Midway (CVB 41) using a simulated angle deck.
picture, caption follows Sept. 1, 1952 - One hundred forty-four aircraft from USS Boxer (CV 21), USS Essex (CV 9) and USS Princeton (CV 37) strike and destroy the oil refinery at Aoji, North Korea. This is the largest carrier raid of the Korean Conflict.
Oct. 1, 1952 - Aircraft carriers designated CV and CVB were reclassified as Attack Carriers and assigned the designation CVA.
picture, caption follows Jan. 12, 1953 - Test operations begin on USS Antietam (CVA 36) which emerged in Dec. 1952 from the New York Naval Shipyard as America's first angled-deck aircraft carrier. The first landing was made by the ship's commanding officer, Capt. S.G. Mitchell, in an SNJ.
picture, caption follows Oct. 16, 1953 - Thirty-seven men killed by an explosion and fire aboard USS Leyte (CVS 32) at the Boston Naval Shipyard. The ship was under conversion to a CVS. The explosion occurred in the port catapult machinery room. Within minutes, shipyard and city fire trucks were on the scene but the fire took four hours to be extinguished. There were also 28 injured.
Apr. 9, 1954 - USS Bataan (CVL 29) decommissioned at San Francisco.
picture, caption follows May 26, 1954 - At 0611, while USS Bennington (CVA 20) was cruising off Narragansett Bay, the fluid in one of her catapults exploded, setting off a series of secondary explosions which killed 103 crewmen and injured 201 others. Bennington proceeded under her own power to Quonset Point, R.I., to land her planes. Moving to the New York Naval Shipyard for repairs, she was completely rebuilt during 12 Jun. 1954-19 Mar. 1955.
picture, caption follows June 1, 1954 - Operational testing of the C-11 steam catapult begin. USS Hancock (CVA 19) had been recommissioned Feb. 15, 1954, Capt. W. S. Butts in command. She was the first carrier of the U.S. Navy with steam catapults capable of launching high performance jets.
Feb. 24, 1955 - The CNO directed that the term "angled" be used describe the deck of aircraft carriers in which the landing runway was offset from the line of the keel. Other terms which had been used were "canted", "slanted", and "flamed".
May 12, 1955 - Classification of Navy ships was revised to provide the designation CVHE for Escort Helicopter Aircraft Carrier and CVU for Utility Aircraft Carrier.
picture, caption follows Oct. 1, 1955 - USS Forrestal (CVA 59), the first of four ships of her class and the Navy's first supercarrier was placed in commission at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va., Capt. R. L. Johnson in command. The keel was laid Jul. 14, 1952, at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newport News, Va.
Oct. 3-10, 1955 - USS Saipan (CVL 48) with embarked Helicopter Training Unit One (HTU 1) provided disaster relief to the residents of Tampico, Mexico. The helicopters rescued 5,439 people marooned on rooftops and trees and delivered 183,017 pounds of food.
picture, caption follows Jan. 16, 1956 - USS Monterey (CVL 26) decommissioned at Philadelphia. She was reclassified AVT 2 on May 15, 1959.
picture, caption follows Mar. 15, 1956 - USS Wright (CVL 49) decommissioned at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash. She was converted and recommissioned May 11, 1963, as a command ship (CC 2), Capt. John L. Arrington II, in command. She served as a communications ship until May 27, 1970, when she was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
picture, caption follows Apr. 14, 1956 - USS Saratoga (CVA 60) is commissioned, Capt. R. J. Stroh, commanding. The ship was laid down Dec. 16, 1952, by the New York Naval Shipyard and launched Oct. 8, 1955.
May 29, 1956 - The ship designation system was modified to include the suffix "(N)" to identify ships propelled by nuclear power.
picture, caption follows Jul. 20, 1956 - USS Thetis Bay (CVHA-1), first helicopter assault carrier, commissioned at San Francisco, Capt. T. W. South III, commanding. Formerly CVE 90, the ship was reclassified as an Assault Helicopter Aircraft Carrier on July 1, 1955, and converted to operate helicopters and to accommodate 1,000 Marine combat troops to be flown ashore in amphibious assault.
picture, caption follows Oct. 2, 1956 - USS Enterprise (CV 6) was ordered stricken from the Navy list and sold for scrap. Enterprise was in more action in World War II than any other carrier. She had been decommissioned following the war and laid up at Bayonne, N.J.
Apr. 21, 1957 - USS Antietam (CVA 36) reported for duty to the Chief of Naval Air Training at Pensacola, Fla., providing the first angled-deck carrier for use in flight training.
picture, caption follows May 17, 1957 - USS Badoeng Strait (CVE 116), the last escort carrier in service, was decommissioned at Bremerton, Wash.
Jun. 6, 1957 - Two F8U Crusaders and two A3D Skywarriors flew nonstop from USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31) off the California coast to USS Saratoga (CVA 60) off the coast of Florida. This was the first transcontinental, carier-to-carrier flight.
picture, caption follows Aug. 10, 1957 - USS Ranger (CVA 61) is commissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Capt. Charles T. Booth II, in command. The ship was laid down Aug. 2, 1954, at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., and launched Sept. 26, 1956.
Aug. 12, 1957 - An F3D Skyknight, with Lieut. Cmdr. Don Walker aboard, was landed on USS Antietam (CVA 36) at sea off Pensacola, Fla., by the Automatic Carrier Landing System (ACLS). This landing began the first shipboard test of the ACLS, designed to bring planes aboard in all weather conditions without help from the pilot. By 20 Aug., 50 fully automatic landings were completed.
picture, caption follows Oct. 3, 1957 - USS Saipan (CVL 48), the last of the light carriers, was decommissioned in Bayonne, N.J. She underwent a conversion at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. She was reclassified a Communications Major Relay ship and designated AGMR 2. On Apr. 8, 1965, she was renamed Arlington in honor of Arlington County, Va., site of one of the Navy's first wireless test stations. Arlington was commissioned Aug. 27, 1966, in Norfolk and served in Vietnam. She was decommissioned Jan. 14, 1970.
Jul. 15, 1958 - Aircraft from USS Essex (CVA 9) flew cover for 1,800 Marines landing on a beach near Beirut to support the Lebanese government and to protect Americans.
Dec. 28, 1958 - USS Philippine Sea (CVS 47) decommissioned at Long Beach, Ca., redesignated AVT 11 on May 15, 1959, and struck from the Navy List on Dec. 1, 1969.
picture, caption follows Jan. 10, 1959 - USS Independence (CVA 62) commissioned, Capt. R. Y. McElroy, commanding. The ship was launched Jun. 6, 1958, by the New York Navy Yard.
May 7, 1959 - The classification of 36 escort carriers, designated CVE, CVU, and CVHE, was changed to AKV, Cargo Ship, and Aircraft Ferry. The change was accompanied by a change in hull numbers and marked the end of the escort carrier as a combatant ship in the U.S. Navy.
May 15, 1959 - The classification of four support carriers, CVS, and seven light carriers, CVL, was changed to Auxiliary Aircraft Transport, AVT. This change removed the CVL designation from the Navy Vessel Register.
May 15, 1959 - USS Leyte (CVS 32) redesignated as AVT-10 and decommissioned at the New York Navy Yard.