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CV-1 USS Langley CV-9 USS Essex CVE-9 USS Bogue

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CV-59 USS Forrestal CVN-68 USS Nimitz LPH-7 USS Guadalcanal
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
George Orwell

The Carrier Project is dedicated to:
The men and women who serve aboard the carrier fleet of the United States Navy,
and to
Dr. Robert Ballard,
whose discovery of the wreck of USS Yorktown (CV-5) in 1998 led to the creation of this website.

"A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace."
President Theodore Roosevelt

The Carrier Mission
from U.S. Navy official website

"I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.'"
President John F. Kennedy

021115-N-0271M-005 At sea with USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) Nov. 15, 2002 -- The Kitty Hawk Battle Group align themselves to participate in a photo exercise. The photo exercise includes ships from the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) which are conducting exercises in support of Operation Keen Sword 2003. Kitty Hawk is the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier and operates out of Yokosuka, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Lee McCaskill. (RELEASED)

The term itself brings to mind the image of a massive steel island, covered in aircraft and surrounded by warships. A modern carrier Battle Group, composed of a nuclear-powered supercarrier and it's cruiser, frigate and submarine escorts, bristles with aircraft, guns and missiles. It carries more raw firepower than was expended by all combatants during the entire Second World War, and is capable of directing that concentrated frightfulness against almost any point on the globe.

But it wasn't always so. The first carriers were small, slow and barely able to support the rickety fabric-covered biplanes of the day. In addition, they were opposed by the senior officers of the U. S. Navy - admirals who had come up from the decks of the battleships and who were convinced that they would forever be the primary naval combatant.

But far-seeing officers, headed by Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, kept advocating for naval aviation. When the Washington Naval Treaty of 1921 required a reduction in naval warships, two under-construction battlecruisers were reordered as aircraft carriers. But the big gun admirals continued to resist. They could see no use for the carriers except as scouts for the Battle Line. Even the performance of the carriers in the Fleet Problems of the '20s and the '30s, where they "destroyed" the Panama Canal and eerily presaged the attack on Pearl Harbor, did not change the prevailing opinion.

It was only after the disaster at Pearl Harbor, which left the mighty battleships of the Pacific Fleet sitting in the mud, that the carriers began to demonstrate their capabilities. With no other choices available, the Navy sent the carriers out to take the battle to the enemy. Beginning with limited strikes at outlying Japanese island garrisons, and continuing through the battles at Coral Sea and Midway, the carriers proved that they were more than capable of standing up to the worst that the enemy could throw at them. More battles followed: the Solomons, the Gilberts, the Marianas Turkey Shoot, the great Battle of Leyte Gulf. Through the course of the war, more battleships - from all major combatants - were lost to air power then to the guns of their opposite numbers. By the end of the war, the once-mighty battleships had been reduced to shore bombardment platforms and anti-aircraft escorts for the fast carriers of the Navy.

Since World War II, the carriers have continued to expand their role. In Korea, they developed the techniques of close air support for the ground troops. In Vietnam, they performed multiple duty - air superiority, close air support, tactical and strategic ground strikes. Along the way, they incorporated new technologies - jet aircraft, electronic warfare, nuclear power. An indication of their success is seen in the fact that most blue-water navies of the world incorporate aircraft carriers, but there are no battleships in service.

This website will trace the development of the U. S. Navy aircraft carrier from it's humble beginnings to it's current pre-eminence. Along the way, we will examine the tactics, the technology and the battles that have made the carrier the mightiest warship in the world.

"An aircraft carrier is a noble thing. It lacks almost everything that seems to denote nobility, yet deep nobility is there. A carrier has no poise. It has no grace. It is top-heavy and lop-sided. It has the lines of a cow. It doesn't cut through the water like a cruiser, knifing romantically along... It just plows... Yet a carrier is a ferocious thing, and, out of its heritage of action has grown its nobility. I believe that every Navy in the world has as its No. 1 priority the destruction of enemy carriers. That's a precarious honor, but it's a proud one."
Ernie Pyle, 1945

Click on photograph or title below to enter section

 [CV-1 USS Langley photo]
CV-1 USS Langley
Underway off San Diego, California, 1928, with Vought VE-7 aircraft on her flight deck.
USS Somers (DD-301) is in the background.
Collection of Lieutenant Gustave J. Freret, USN(Retired), 1972.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Photo source: U.S. Naval Historical Center

Early Carriers:


Early experiments and the first true combat-capable carriers

 [CV-9 USS Essex photo]
CV-9 USS Essex
Underway at 1615 hrs. during May 1943, in position 37 05'N, 74 15'E, as photographed from a blimp from squadron ZP-14.
Among the aircraft parked on her flight deck are 24 SBD scout bombers (parked aft), about 11 F6F fighters (parked in after part of the midships area) and about 18 TBF/TBM torpedo planes (parked amidships).
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
Photo source: U.S. Naval Historical Center

World War II:


New types, new capabilities and new missions

 [CV-59 USS Forrestal photo]
CV-59 USS Forrestal
Awaiting her turn to refuel, while operating in the Mediterranean Sea during the Jordanian crisis, 29 April 1957. USS Caloosahatchee (AO-98) is ahead, with USS Lake Champlain (CVA-39) and USS Salem (CA-139) alongside.
Note Forrestal's eclectic air group, with F3H-2N, FJ-3M, F9F-8B, F2H-2P, A3D-1, AD-6, and S2F aircraft visible on her flight deck.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
Photo source: U.S. Naval Historical Center

Post-war to Vietnam:


The birth of the Supercarrier

 [CVN-68 USS Nimitz photo]
CVN-68 USS Nimitz
061007-N-0413R-008 San Francisco (Oct. 7, 2006) - The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) enters the San Francisco Bay during the Parade of Ships, a key event during San Francisco Fleet Week 2006. Since 1981, San Francisco Fleet Week has been an annual opportunity for northern Californians to honor the men and women serving in the United States Navy, Coast Guard and Marines. This year approximately 9,000 crew members on visiting ships will arrive in the City to participate in Fleet Week. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shannon E. Renfroe (RELEASED)
Photo source: Navy NewsStand

Modern Carriers:


Nuclear power enters the picture

 [LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima photo]
LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima
060907-N-5588M-004 Arabian Sea (Sept. 7, 2006) - The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) conducts flight operations in the Arabian Sea. Iwo Jima is deployed on a scheduled six-month deployment to the U.S. European Command and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) areas of responsibility (AOR) to conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Airman Michael Minkler (RELEASED)
Photo source: Navy NewsStand

Amphibious Assault Ships

Amphibious operations in the modern era

Animated Texas flag USAF Logo The Carrier Project is created and maintained by William Hughes,
former Technical Sergeant [E6], United States Air Force,
and is based in San Antonio, Texas.

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The denizens of Gulf Coast Pundit Grouchy Conservative Pundits for their invaluable assistance in critiquing the design of this website and suggesting better ways to do things.
(rayra, savage_nation, nbpundit, rickl, flick, trioxin, windybon, RTLM & Rigpa)
It helped a lot, guys.


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General Disclaimers

This site is not endorsed or supported by the United States Navy, the Department of the Navy, or the Department of Defense.

The presence of a link to another website does not imply endorsement of that site by The Carrier Project, or endorsement of The Carrier Project by the linked site.

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And finally, to all our troops, of all Services...

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