Navy Photo of the Month - History

Navy Photo of the Month - History

The Origins of Navy Day

Not to be confused with the Navy's Birthday, which is celebrated on October 13, Navy Day was established on October 27, 1922 by the Navy League of the United States. Although it was not a national holiday, Navy Day received special attention from President Warren Harding. Harding wrote to the Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby:

    "Thank you for your note which brings assurance of the notable success which seems certain to attend the celebration of Navy Day on Friday, October 27, in commemoration of past and present services of the Navy. From our earliest national beginnings the Navy has always been, and deserved to be, an object of special pride to the American people. Its record is indeed one to inspire such sentiments, and I am very sure that such a commemoration as is planned will be a timely reminder.""It is well for us to have in mind that under a program of lessening naval armaments there is a greater reason for maintaining the highest efficiency, fitness and morale in this branch of the national defensive service. I know how earnestly the Navy personnel are devoted to this idea and want you to be assured of my hearty concurrence."

October 27 was suggested by the Navy League to recognize Theodore Roosevelt's birthday. Roosevelt had been an Assistant Secretary of the Navy and supported a strong Navy as well as the idea of Navy Day. In addition, October 27 was the anniversary of a 1775 report issued by a special committee of the Continental Congress favoring the purchase of merchant ships as the foundation of an American Navy.

Best pics of the week: June 20, 2021

1 of 10 Instructors for the 25th Infantry Division Lightning Academy Air Assault conduct a rooftop insertion during a Fast Rope Insertion/Extraction System and Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction System (FRIES/SPIES) Master course on May 26, 2021, at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. (Master Sgt. Lekendrick Stallworth/Army) 2 of 10 A U.S. Marine runs with the Marine Corps Forces South guidon during a formation run around Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans on June 15, 2021. (Cpl. James Stanfield/Marine Corps) 3 of 10 The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) steams in the Atlantic Ocean, June 9, 2021. (MC3 Zachary Melvin/Navy) 4 of 10 A C-17 Globemaster III deploys flares as part of a training event over the Atlantic Ocean in a military operating area outside Charleston, S.C., June 5, 2021. (Tech. Sgt. Chris Hibben/Air Force) 5 of 10 U.S. Army soldiers assigned to 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and Royal Moroccan Army soldiers fast-rope out of a CH-47 Chinook in Tifnit, Morocco, on June 14, 2021, during African Lion 2021. (Spc. Brendan Nunez/Army) 6 of 10 Sailors operate an emergency diesel generator in a diesel generator room aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) during tailored ship’s training availability (TSTA) and final evaluation problem (FEP) on June 15, 2021, in the Atlantic Ocean. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tyler Cardoza/Navy) 7 of 10 U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E aircraft maintainers perform routine maintenance at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev., June 16, 2021. (Lance Cpl. Rachaelanne Woodward/Marine Corps) 8 of 10 A U.S. Army M109A6 Paladin howitzer observes fired artillery observation rounds at the Tan Tan Training Area, Morocco, June 13, 2021. during the African Lion annual joint exercise. (Sgt. 1st Class R.J. Lannom Jr./Army National Guard) 9 of 10 Marines attached to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) search amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) on June 14, 2021, during a maritime raid force training evolution with USS Germantown (LSD 42) in the East China Sea. (MC2 Desmond Parks/Navy) 10 of 10 First Lt. Coltan Nading, 40th Airlift Squadron pilot, left, Capt. Miranda Mila, 40th AS pilot, center, and Senior Airman Noah Isom, 39th AS loadmaster, remove their gas masks next to a C-130J Super Hercules at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, June 2, 2021. The aircrew demonstrated the operability of the new Uniform Integrated Protective Ensemble Air 2 Piece Under Garment chemical protective suit during simulated preflight and ground egress procedures. (Airman 1st Class Colin Hollowell/Air Force)

What is Military Appreciation Month

Each year the president makes a proclamation, reminding Americans of the important role the U.S. Armed Forces have played in the history and development of our country. May was chosen because it has many individual days marked to note our military's achievements, including Loyalty Day, established in 1921, Victory in Europe (VE) Day commemorating the end of WWII in Europe in 1945, Children of Fallen Patriots Day and the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden.


To recruit, train, equip, and organize to deliver combat ready Naval forces to win conflicts and wars while maintaining security and deterrence through sustained forward presence.

The U.S. Navy is a seaborne branch of the military of the United States. The Navy's three primary areas of responsibility: [14]

  • The preparation of naval forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war.
  • The maintenance of naval aviation, including land-based naval aviation, air transport essential for naval operations, and all air weapons and air techniques involved in the operations and activities of the Navy.
  • The development of aircraft, weapons, tactics, technique, organization, and equipment of naval combat and service elements.

U.S. Navy training manuals state that the mission of the U.S. Armed Forces is "to be prepared to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations in support of the national interest." The Navy's five enduring functions are sea control, power projection, deterrence, maritime security, and sealift. [15]

Origins Edit

It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious.

Would to Heaven we had a navy able to reform those enemies to mankind or crush them into non-existence.

Naval power . . . is the natural defense of the United States.

The Navy was rooted in the colonial seafaring tradition, which produced a large community of sailors, captains, and shipbuilders. [19] In the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, Massachusetts had its own Massachusetts Naval Militia. The rationale for establishing a national navy was debated in the Second Continental Congress. Supporters argued that a navy would protect shipping, defend the coast, and make it easier to seek support from foreign countries. Detractors countered that challenging the British Royal Navy, then the world's preeminent naval power, was a foolish undertaking. Commander in Chief George Washington resolved the debate when he commissioned the ocean-going schooner USS Hannah to interdict British merchantmen and reported the captures to the Congress. On 13 October 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the purchase of two vessels to be armed for a cruise against British merchantmen this resolution created the Continental Navy and is considered the first establishment of the U.S. Navy. [20] The Continental Navy achieved mixed results it was successful in a number of engagements and raided many British merchant vessels, but it lost twenty-four of its vessels [21] and at one point was reduced to two in active service. [22] In August 1785, after the Revolutionary War had drawn to a close, Congress had sold Alliance, the last ship remaining in the Continental Navy due to a lack of funds to maintain the ship or support a navy. [23] [24]

In 1972, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, authorized the Navy to celebrate its birthday on 13 October to honor the establishment of the Continental Navy in 1775. [25] [20]

From re-establishment to the Civil War Edit

The United States was without a navy for nearly a decade, a state of affairs that exposed U.S. maritime merchant ships to a series of attacks by the Barbary pirates. The sole armed maritime presence between 1790 and the launching of the U.S. Navy's first warships in 1797 was the U.S. Revenue-Marine, the primary predecessor of the U.S. Coast Guard. Although the USRCS (United States Revenue Cutter Service) conducted operations against the pirates, the pirates' depredations far outstripped its abilities and Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 that established a permanent standing navy on 27 March 1794. [26] The Naval Act ordered the construction and manning of six frigates and, by October 1797, [21] the first three were brought into service: USS United States, USS Constellation, and USS Constitution. Due to his strong posture on having a strong standing Navy during this period, John Adams is "often called the father of the American Navy". [27] In 1798–99 the Navy was involved in an undeclared Quasi-War with France. [28] From 1801 to 1805, in the First Barbary War, the U.S. Navy defended U.S. ships from the Barbary pirates, blockaded the Barbary ports and executed attacks against the Barbary' fleets.

The U.S. Navy saw substantial action in the War of 1812, where it was victorious in eleven single-ship duels with the Royal Navy. It proved victorious in the Battle of Lake Erie and prevented the region from becoming a threat to American operations in the area. The result was a major victory for the U.S. Army at the Niagara Frontier of the war, and the defeat of the Native American allies of the British at the Battle of the Thames. Despite this, the U.S. Navy could not prevent the British from blockading its ports and landing troops. [29] But after the War of 1812 ended in 1815, the U.S. Navy primarily focused its attention on protecting American shipping assets, sending squadrons to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, where it participated in the Second Barbary War that ended piracy in the region, South America, Africa, and the Pacific. [21] From 1819 to the outbreak of the Civil War, the Africa Squadron operated to suppress the slave trade, seizing 36 slave ships, although its contribution was smaller than that of the much larger British Royal Navy.

During the Mexican–American War the U.S. Navy blockaded Mexican ports, capturing or burning the Mexican fleet in the Gulf of California and capturing all major cities in Baja California peninsula. In 1846–1848 the Navy successfully used the Pacific Squadron under Commodore Robert Stockton and its marines and blue-jackets to facilitate the capture of California with large-scale land operations coordinated with the local militia organized in the California Battalion. The Navy conducted the U.S. military's first large-scale amphibious joint operation by successfully landing 12,000 army troops with their equipment in one day at Veracruz, Mexico. When larger guns were needed to bombard Veracruz, Navy volunteers landed large guns and manned them in the successful bombardment and capture of the city. This successful landing and capture of Veracruz opened the way for the capture of Mexico City and the end of the war. [29] The U.S. Navy established itself as a player in United States foreign policy through the actions of Commodore Matthew Perry in Japan, which resulted in the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854.

Naval power played a significant role during the American Civil War, in which the Union had a distinct advantage over the Confederacy on the seas. [29] A Union blockade on all major ports shut down exports and the coastal trade, but blockade runners provided a thin lifeline. The Brown-water navy components of the U.S. navy control of the river systems made internal travel difficult for Confederates and easy for the Union. The war saw ironclad warships in combat for the first time at the Battle of Hampton Roads in 1862, which pitted USS Monitor against CSS Virginia. [30] For two decades after the war, however, the U.S. Navy's fleet was neglected and became technologically obsolete. [31]

20th century Edit

Our ships are our natural bulwarks.

A modernization program beginning in the 1880s when the first steel-hulled warships stimulated the American steel industry, and "the new steel navy" was born. [32] This rapid expansion of the U.S. Navy and its easy victory over the Spanish Navy in 1898 brought a new respect for American technical quality. Rapid building of at first pre-dreadnoughts, then dreadnoughts brought the U.S. in line with the navies of countries such as Britain and Germany. In 1907, most of the Navy's battleships, with several support vessels, dubbed the Great White Fleet, were showcased in a 14-month circumnavigation world. Ordered by President Theodore Roosevelt, it was a mission designed to demonstrate the Navy's capability to extend to the global theater. [21] By 1911, the U.S. had begun building the super-dreadnoughts at a pace to eventually become competitive with Britain. [33] The 1911 also saw the first naval aircraft with the navy [34] which would lead to the informal establishment of United States Naval Flying Corps to protect shore bases. It was not until 1921 US naval aviation truly commenced.

World War I and interwar years Edit

During World War I, the U.S. Navy spent much of its resources protecting and shipping hundreds of thousands of soldiers and marines of the American Expeditionary Force and war supplies across the Atlantic in U-boat infested waters with the Cruiser and Transport Force. It also concentrated on laying the North Sea Mine Barrage. Hesitation by the senior command meant that naval forces were not contributed until late 1917. Battleship Division Nine was dispatched to Britain and served as the Sixth Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet. Its presence allowed the British to decommission some older ships and reuse the crews on smaller vessels. Destroyers and U.S. Naval Air Force units like the Northern Bombing Group contributed to the anti-submarine operations. The strength of the United States Navy grew under an ambitious ship building program associated with the Naval Act of 1916.

Naval construction, especially of battleships, was limited by the Washington Naval Conference of 1921–22. The aircraft carriers USS Saratoga (CV-3) and USS Lexington (CV-2) were built on the hulls of partially built battle cruisers that had been canceled by the treaty. The New Deal used Public Works Administration funds to build warships, such as USS Yorktown (CV-5) and USS Enterprise (CV-6) . By 1936, with the completion of USS Wasp (CV-7) , the U.S. Navy possessed a carrier fleet of 165,000 tonnes displacement, although this figure was nominally recorded as 135,000 tonnes to comply with treaty limitations. Franklin Roosevelt, the number two official in the Navy Department during World War I, appreciated the Navy and gave it strong support. In return, senior leaders were eager for innovation and experimented with new technologies, such as magnetic torpedoes, and developed a strategy called War Plan Orange for victory in the Pacific in a hypothetical war with Japan that would eventually become reality. [35]

World War II Edit

The U.S. Navy grew into a formidable force in the years prior to World War II, with battleship production being restarted in 1937, commencing with USS North Carolina (BB-55) . Though ultimately unsuccessful, Japan tried to neutralize this strategic threat with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Following American entry into the war, the U.S. Navy grew tremendously as the United States was faced with a two-front war on the seas. It achieved notable acclaim in the Pacific Theater, where it was instrumental to the Allies' successful "island hopping" campaign. [22] The U.S. Navy participated in many significant battles, including the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway, the Solomon Islands Campaign, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and the Battle of Okinawa. By 1943, the navy's size was larger than the combined fleets of all the other combatant nations in World War II. [36] By war's end in 1945, the U.S. Navy had added hundreds of new ships, including 18 aircraft carriers and 8 battleships, and had over 70% of the world's total numbers and total tonnage of naval vessels of 1,000 tons or greater. [37] [38] At its peak, the U.S. Navy was operating 6,768 ships on V-J Day in August 1945. [39]

Doctrine had significantly shifted by the end of the war. The U.S. Navy had followed in the footsteps of the navies of Great Britain and Germany which favored concentrated groups of battleships as their main offensive naval weapons. [40] The development of the aircraft carrier and its devastating utilization by the Japanese against the U.S. at Pearl Harbor, however, shifted U.S. thinking. The Pearl Harbor attack destroyed or took out of action a significant number of U.S. Navy battleships. This placed much of the burden of retaliating against the Japanese on the small number of aircraft carriers. [41] During World War II some 4,000,000 Americans served in the United States Navy. [42]

Cold War Edit

The potential for armed conflict with the Soviet Union during the Cold War pushed the U.S. Navy to continue its technological advancement by developing new weapons systems, ships, and aircraft. U.S. naval strategy changed to that of forward deployment in support of U.S. allies with an emphasis on carrier battle groups. [43]

The navy was a major participant in the Vietnam War, blockaded Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, through the use of ballistic missile submarines, became an important aspect of the United States' nuclear strategic deterrence policy. The U.S. Navy conducted various combat operations in the Persian Gulf against Iran in 1987 and 1988, most notably Operation Praying Mantis. The Navy was extensively involved in Operation Urgent Fury, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Deliberate Force, Operation Allied Force, Operation Desert Fox and Operation Southern Watch.

The U.S. Navy has also been involved in search and rescue/search and salvage operations, sometimes in conjunction with vessels of other countries as well as with U.S. Coast Guard ships. Two examples are the 1966 Palomares B-52 crash incident and the subsequent search for missing hydrogen bombs, and Task Force 71 of the Seventh Fleet's operation in search for Korean Air Lines Flight 007, shot down by the Soviets on 1 September 1983.

21st century Edit

When a crisis confronts the nation, the first question often asked by policymakers is: 'What naval forces are available and how fast can they be on station?'

The U.S. Navy continues to be a major support to U.S. interests in the 21st century. Since the end of the Cold War, it has shifted its focus from preparations for large-scale war with the Soviet Union to special operations and strike missions in regional conflicts. [45] The navy participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is a major participant in the ongoing War on Terror, largely in this capacity. Development continues on new ships and weapons, including the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier and the Littoral combat ship. Because of its size, weapons technology, and ability to project force far from U.S. shores, the current U.S. Navy remains an asset for the United States. Moreover, it is the principal means through which the U.S. maintains international global order, namely by safeguarding global trade and protecting allied nations. [46]

In 2007, the U.S. Navy joined with the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard to adopt a new maritime strategy called A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower that raises the notion of prevention of war to the same philosophical level as the conduct of war. The strategy was presented by the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Commandant of the Coast Guard at the International Sea Power Symposium in Newport, RI on 17 October 2007. [47]

The strategy recognized the economic links of the global system and how any disruption due to regional crises (man-made or natural) can adversely impact the U.S. economy and quality of life. This new strategy charts a course for the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps to work collectively with each other and international partners to prevent these crises from occurring or reacting quickly should one occur to prevent negative impacts on the U.S.

In 2010, Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, noted that demands on the Navy have grown as the fleet has shrunk and that in the face of declining budgets in the future, the U.S. Navy must rely even more on international partnerships. [48]

In its 2013 budget request, the navy focused on retaining all eleven big deck carriers, at the expense of cutting numbers of smaller ships and delaying the SSBN replacement. [49] By the next year the USN found itself unable to maintain eleven aircraft carriers in the face of the expiration of budget relief offered by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and CNO Jonathan Greenert said that a ten ship carrier fleet would not be able to sustainably support military requirements. [50] The British First Sea Lord George Zambellas said that [51] the USN had switched from "outcome-led to resource-led" planning. [52]

One significant change in U.S. policymaking that is having a major effect on naval planning is the Pivot to East Asia. In response, the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus stated in 2015 that 60 percent of the total U.S. fleet will be deployed to the Pacific by 2020. [53] The Navy's most recent 30-year shipbuilding plan, published in 2016, calls for a future fleet of 350 ships in order to meet the challenges of an increasingly competitive international environment. [51] A provision of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act called for expanding the naval fleet to 355 ships "as soon as practicable", but did not establish additional funding nor a timeline. [54]

The U.S. Navy falls under the administration of the Department of the Navy, under civilian leadership of the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV). The most senior naval officer is the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), a four-star admiral who is immediately under and reports to the Secretary of the Navy. At the same time, the Chief of Naval Operations is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is the second-highest deliberative body of the armed forces after the United States National Security Council, although it plays only an advisory role to the President and does not nominally form part of the chain of command. The Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations are responsible for organizing, recruiting, training, and equipping the Navy so that it is ready for operation under the commanders of the unified combatant commands.

Operating forces Edit

The United States Navy has seven active numbered fleets – Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh Fleet and Tenth Fleets are each led by a vice admiral, and the Fourth Fleet is led by a rear admiral. These seven fleets are further grouped under Fleet Forces Command (the former Atlantic Fleet), Pacific Fleet, Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and Naval Forces Central Command, whose commander also doubles as Commander Fifth Fleet the first three commands being led by four-star admirals. The United States First Fleet existed after the Second World War from 1947, but it was redesignated the Third Fleet in early 1973. The United States Second Fleet was deactivated in September 2011 but reestablished in August 2018 amid heightened tensions with Russia. [55] It is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, with responsibility over the East Coast and North Atlantic. [56] In early 2008, the Navy reactivated the United States Fourth Fleet to control operations in the area controlled by Southern Command, which consists of US assets in and around Central and South America. [57] Other number fleets were activated during World War II and later deactivated, renumbered, or merged.

Shore establishments Edit

Shore establishments exist to support the mission of the fleet through the use of facilities on land. Among the commands of the shore establishment, as of April 2011 [update] , are the Naval Education and Training Command, the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the Naval Supply Systems Command, the Naval Air Systems Command, the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, the Bureau of Naval Personnel, the United States Naval Academy, the Naval Safety Center, the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, and the United States Naval Observatory. [58] Official Navy websites list the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chief of Naval Operations as part of the shore establishment, but these two entities effectively sit superior to the other organizations, playing a coordinating role. [59]

Relationships with other service branches Edit

United States Marine Corps Edit

In 1834, the United States Marine Corps came under the Department of the Navy. [60] Historically, the Navy has had a unique relationship with the USMC, partly because they both specialize in seaborne operations. Together the Navy and Marine Corps form the Department of the Navy and report to the Secretary of the Navy. However, the Marine Corps is a distinct, separate service branch [61] with its own uniformed service chief – the Commandant of the Marine Corps, a four-star general.

The Marine Corps depends on the Navy for medical support (dentists, doctors, nurses, medical technicians known as corpsmen) and religious support (chaplains). Thus Navy officers and enlisted sailors fulfill these roles. When attached to Marine Corps units deployed to an operational environment they generally wear Marine camouflage uniforms, but otherwise, they wear Navy dress uniforms unless they opt to conform to Marine Corps grooming standards. [59]

In the operational environment, as an expeditionary force specializing in amphibious operations, Marines often embark on Navy ships to conduct operations from beyond territorial waters. Marine units deploying as part of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) operate under the command of the existing Marine chain of command. Although Marine units routinely operate from amphibious assault ships, the relationship has evolved over the years much as the Commander of the Carrier Air Group/Wing (CAG) does not work for the carrier commanding officer, but coordinates with the ship's CO and staff. Some Marine aviation squadrons, usually fixed-wing assigned to carrier air wings train and operate alongside Navy squadrons they fly similar missions and often fly sorties together under the cognizance of the CAG. Aviation is where the Navy and Marines share the most common ground since aircrews are guided in their use of aircraft by standard procedures outlined in a series of publications known as NATOPS manuals.

United States Coast Guard Edit

The United States Coast Guard, in its peacetime role with the Department of Homeland Security, fulfills its law enforcement and rescue role in the maritime environment. It provides Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETs) to Navy vessels, where they perform arrests and other law enforcement duties during naval boarding and interdiction missions. In times of war, the Coast Guard operates as a service in the Navy. [62] At other times, Coast Guard Port Security Units are sent overseas to guard the security of ports and other assets. The Coast Guard also jointly staffs the Navy's naval coastal warfare groups and squadrons (the latter of which were known as harbor defense commands until late-2004), which oversee defense efforts in foreign littoral combat and inshore areas.

The United States Navy has over 400,000 personnel, approximately a quarter of whom are in ready reserve. Of those on active duty, more than eighty percent are enlisted sailors and around fifteen percent are commissioned officers the rest are midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy and midshipmen of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at over 180 universities around the country and officer candidates at the Navy's Officer Candidate School. [3]

Enlisted sailors complete basic military training at boot camp and then are sent to complete training for their individual careers. [63]

Sailors prove they have mastered skills and deserve responsibilities by completing Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) tasks and examinations. Among the most important is the "warfare qualification", which denotes a journeyman level of capability in Surface Warfare, Aviation Warfare, Information Dominance Warfare, Naval Aircrew, Special Warfare, Seabee Warfare, Submarine Warfare or Expeditionary Warfare. Many qualifications are denoted on a sailor's uniform with U.S. Navy badges and insignia.

Uniforms Edit

The uniforms of the U.S. Navy have evolved gradually since the first uniform regulations for officers were issued in 1802 on the formation of the Navy Department. The predominant colors of U.S. Navy uniforms are navy blue and white. U.S. Navy uniforms were based on Royal Navy uniforms of the time, and have tended to follow that template. [64]

Commissioned officer rank structure of the United States Navy [65]
US DoD Pay Grade O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 O-8 O-9 O-10 Special Grade
NATO Code OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-6 OF-7 OF-8 OF-9 OF-10
Title Ensign Lieutenant
(junior grade)
Lieutenant Lieutenant
Commander Captain Rear admiral
(lower half)
Rear admiral Vice admiral Admiral Fleet admiral

Navy officers serve either as a line officer or as a staff corps officer. Line officers wear an embroidered gold star above their rank of the naval service dress uniform while staff corps officers and commissioned warrant officers wear unique designator insignias that denotes their occupational specialty. [66] [67]

Type Line officer Medical Corps Dental Corps Nurse Corps Medical Service Corps Judge Advocate General's Corps
Designator 1 1XXX 210X 220X 290X 230X 250X
Chaplain Corps
(Christian Faith)
Chaplain Corps
(Jewish Faith)
Chaplain Corps
(Muslim Faith)
Chaplain Corps
(Buddhist Faith)
Supply Corps Civil Engineer Corps Law Community
(Limited Duty Officer)
410X 410X 410X 410X 310X 510X 655X

Warrant officers Edit

Warrant and chief warrant officer ranks are held by technical specialists who direct specific activities essential to the proper operation of the ship, which also require commissioned officer authority. [68] Navy warrant officers serve in 30 specialties covering five categories. Warrant officers should not be confused with the limited duty officer (LDO) in the Navy. Warrant officers perform duties that are directly related to their previous enlisted service and specialized training. This allows the Navy to capitalize on the experience of warrant officers without having to frequently transition them to other duty assignments for advancement. [69] Most Navy warrant officers are accessed from the chief petty officer pay grades, E-7 through E-9, analogous to a senior non-commissioned officers in the other services, and must have a minimum 14 years time in service. [70]

Enlisted Edit

Sailors in pay grades E-1 through E-3 are considered to be in apprenticeships. [71] They are divided into five definable groups, with colored group rate marks designating the group to which they belong: Seaman, Fireman, Airman, Constructionman, and Hospitalman. E-4 to E-6 are non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and are specifically called Petty officers in the Navy. [72] Petty Officers perform not only the duties of their specific career field but also serve as leaders to junior enlisted personnel. E-7 to E-9 are still considered Petty Officers, but are considered a separate community within the Navy. They have separate berthing and dining facilities (where feasible), wear separate uniforms, and perform separate duties.

After attaining the rate of Master Chief Petty Officer, a service member may choose to further their career by becoming a Command Master Chief Petty Officer (CMC). A CMC is considered to be the senior-most enlisted service member within a command, and is the special assistant to the Commanding Officer in all matters pertaining to the health, welfare, job satisfaction, morale, utilization, advancement and training of the command's enlisted personnel. [73] [74] CMCs can be Command level (within a single unit, such as a ship or shore station), Fleet level (squadrons consisting of multiple operational units, headed by a flag officer or commodore), or Force level (consisting of a separate community within the Navy, such as Subsurface, Air, Reserves). [75]

CMC insignia are similar to the insignia for Master Chief, except that the rating symbol is replaced by an inverted five-point star, reflecting a change in their rating from their previous rating (i.e., MMCM) to CMDCM. The stars for Command Master Chief are silver, while stars for Fleet or Force Master Chief are gold. Additionally, CMCs wear a badge, worn on their left breast pocket, denoting their title (Command/Fleet/Force). [74] [76]

Badges of the United States Navy Edit

Insignia and badges of the United States Navy are military "badges" issued by the United States Department of the Navy to naval service members who achieve certain qualifications and accomplishments while serving on both active and reserve duty in the United States Navy. Most naval aviation insignia are also permitted for wear on uniforms of the United States Marine Corps.

As described in Chapter 5 of U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, [77] "badges" are categorized as breast insignia (usually worn immediately above and below ribbons) and identification badges (usually worn at breast pocket level). [78] Breast insignia are further divided between command and warfare and other qualification. [79]

Insignia come in the form of metal "pin-on devices" worn on formal uniforms and embroidered "tape strips" worn on work uniforms. For the purpose of this article, the general term "insignia" shall be used to describe both, as it is done in Navy Uniform Regulations. The term "badge", although used ambiguously in other military branches and in informal speak to describe any pin, patch, or tab, is exclusive to identification badges [80] and authorized marksmanship awards [81] according to the language in Navy Uniform Regulations, Chapter 5. Below are just a few of the many badges maintained by the Navy. The rest can be seen in the article cited at the top of this section:

Surface Warfare Officer Insignia

The size, complexity, and international presence of the United States Navy requires a large number of navy installations to support its operations. While the majority of bases are located inside the United States itself, the Navy maintains a significant number of facilities abroad, either in U.S.-controlled territories or in foreign countries under a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

Eastern United States Edit

The second largest concentration of installations is at Hampton Roads, Virginia, where the navy occupies over 36,000 acres (15,000 ha) of land. Located at Hampton Roads are Naval Station Norfolk, homeport of the Atlantic Fleet Naval Air Station Oceana, a Master Jet Base Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek and Training Support Center Hampton Roads as well as a number of Navy and commercial shipyards that service navy vessels. The Aegis Training and Readiness Center is located at the Naval Support Activity South Potomac in Dahlgren, Virginia. Maryland is home to NAS Patuxent River, which houses the Navy's Test Pilot School. Also located in Maryland is the United States Naval Academy, situated in Annapolis. NS Newport in Newport, Rhode Island is home to many schools and tenant commands, including the Officer Candidate School, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and more, and also maintains inactive ships. [ clarification needed ]

There is also a naval base in Charleston, South Carolina. This is home to the Nuclear A-School, and the Nuclear Field Power school, and one of two nuclear 'Prototype' Schools. The state of Florida is the location of three major bases, NS Mayport, the Navy's fourth largest, in Jacksonville, Florida NAS Jacksonville, a Master Air Anti-submarine Warfare base and NAS Pensacola home of the Naval Education and Training Command, the Naval Air Technical Training Center that provides specialty training for enlisted aviation personnel and is the primary flight training base for Navy and Marine Corps Naval Flight Officers and enlisted Naval Aircrewman. There is also NSA Panama City, Florida which is home to the Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center.

The main U.S. Navy submarine bases on the east coast are located in Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut and NSB Kings Bay in Kings Bay, Georgia. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard near Portsmouth, New Hampshire, [82] which repairs naval submarines. [3] NS Great Lakes, north of Chicago, Illinois is the home of the Navy's boot camp for enlisted sailors.

The Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC is the Navy's oldest shore establishment and serves as a ceremonial and administrative center for the U.S. Navy, home to the Chief of Naval Operations, and is headquarters for numerous commands.

Western United States and Hawaii Edit

The navy's largest complex is Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, which covers 1.1 million acres (4,500 km 2 ) of land, or approximately 1/3 of the U.S. Navy's total land holdings. [3]

Naval Base San Diego, California is the main homeport of the Pacific Fleet, although its headquarters is located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. NAS North Island is located on the north side of Coronado, California, and is home to Headquarters for Naval Air Forces and Naval Air Force Pacific, the bulk of the Pacific Fleet's helicopter squadrons, and part of the West Coast aircraft carrier fleet. NAB Coronado is located on the southern end of the Coronado Island and is home to the navy's west coast SEAL teams and special boat units. NAB Coronado is also home to the Naval Special Warfare Center, the primary training center for SEALs.

The other major collection of naval bases on the west coast is in Puget Sound, Washington. Among them, NS Everett is one of the newer bases and the navy states that it is its most modern facility. [83]

NAS Fallon, Nevada serves as the primary training ground for navy strike aircrews, and is home to the Naval Strike Air Warfare Center. Master Jet Bases are also located at NAS Lemoore, California, and NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, while the carrier-based airborne early warning aircraft community and major air test activities are located at NAS Point Mugu, California. The naval presence in Hawaii is centered on NS Pearl Harbor, which hosts the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet and many of its subordinate commands.

United States territories Edit

Guam, an island strategically located in the Western Pacific Ocean, maintains a sizable U.S. Navy presence, including NB Guam. The westernmost U.S. territory, it contains a natural deep water harbor capable of harboring aircraft carriers in emergencies. [84] Its naval air station was deactivated [85] in 1995 and its flight activities transferred to nearby Andersen Air Force Base.

Puerto Rico in the Caribbean formerly housed NS Roosevelt Roads, which was shut down in 2004 shortly after the controversial closure of the live ordnance training area on nearby Vieques Island. [3]

Foreign countries Edit

The largest overseas base is the United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, which serves as the home port for the navy's largest forward-deployed fleet and is a significant base of operations in the Western Pacific. [86]

European operations revolve around facilities in Italy (NAS Sigonella and Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Naples) with NSA Naples as the homeport for the Sixth Fleet and Command Naval Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (CNREURAFSWA), and additional facilities in nearby Gaeta. There is also NS Rota in Spain and NSA Souda Bay in Greece.

In the Middle East, naval facilities are located almost exclusively in countries bordering the Persian Gulf, with NSA Bahrain serving as the headquarters of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. Fifth Fleet.

NS Guantanamo Bay in Cuba is the oldest overseas facility and has become known in recent years as the location of a detention camp for suspected al-Qaeda operatives. [87]

As of 2018 [update] , the navy operates over 460 ships, including vessels operated by the Military Sealift Command (MSC) crewed by a combination of civilian contractors and a small number of uniformed Naval personnel, 3,650+ aircraft, 50,000 non-combat vehicles and owns 75,200 buildings on 3,300,000 acres (13,000 km 2 ).

Ships Edit

The names of commissioned ships of the U.S. Navy are prefixed with the letters "USS", designating "United States Ship". [88] Non-commissioned, civilian-manned vessels of the navy have names that begin with "USNS", standing for "United States Naval Ship" The names of ships are officially selected by the secretary of the navy, often to honor important people or places. [89] Additionally, each ship is given a letter-based hull classification symbol (for example, CVN or DDG) to indicate the vessel's type and number. All ships in the navy inventory are placed in the Naval Vessel Register, which is part of "the Navy List" (required by article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea). [ dubious – discuss ] The register tracks data such as the current status of a ship, the date of its commissioning, and the date of its decommissioning. Vessels that are removed from the register prior to disposal are said to be stricken from the register. The navy also maintains a reserve fleet of inactive vessels that are maintained for reactivation in times of need.

The U.S. Navy was one of the first to install nuclear reactors aboard naval vessels [90] today, nuclear energy powers all active U.S. aircraft carriers and submarines. In the case of the Nimitz-class carrier, two naval reactors give the ship almost unlimited range and provide enough electrical energy to power a city of 100,000 people. [91] The U.S. Navy previously operated nuclear-powered cruisers, but all have been decommissioned.

The U.S. Navy had identified a need for 313 combat ships in early 2010s, but under its plans at the time could afford only 232 to 243. [92] In March 2014, the Navy started counting self-deployable support ships such as minesweepers, surveillance craft, and tugs in the "battle fleet" in order to reach a count of 272 as of October 2016, [93] [94] and it includes ships that have been put in "shrink wrap". [95]

Aircraft carriers Edit

An aircraft carrier is typically deployed along with a host of additional vessels, forming a carrier strike group. The supporting ships, which usually include three or four Aegis-equipped cruisers and destroyers, a frigate, and two attack submarines, are tasked with protecting the carrier from air, missile, sea, and undersea threats as well as providing additional strike capabilities themselves. Ready logistics support for the group is provided by a combined ammunition, oiler, and supply ship. Modern carriers are named after American admirals and politicians, usually presidents. [96]

The Navy has a statutory requirement for a minimum of 11 aircraft carriers. [97] Currently there are 10 that are deployable and one, USS Gerald R. Ford, that is currently undergoing extensive systems and technologies testing until around 2021. [98]

Amphibious warfare vessels Edit

Amphibious assault ships are the centerpieces of US amphibious warfare and fulfill the same power projection role as aircraft carriers except that their striking force centers on land forces instead of aircraft. They deliver, command, coordinate, and fully support all elements of a 2,200-strong Marine Expeditionary Unit in an amphibious assault using both air and amphibious vehicles. Resembling small aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships are capable of V/STOL, STOVL, VTOL, tiltrotor, and rotary wing aircraft operations. They also contain a well deck to support the use of Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and other amphibious assault watercraft. Recently, amphibious assault ships have begun to be deployed as the core of an expeditionary strike group, which usually consists of an additional amphibious transport dock and dock landing ship for amphibious warfare and an Aegis-equipped cruiser and destroyer, frigate, and attack submarine for group defense. Amphibious assault ships are typically named after World War II aircraft carriers.

Amphibious transport docks are warships that embark, transport, and land Marines, supplies, and equipment in a supporting role during amphibious warfare missions. With a landing platform, amphibious transport docks also have the capability to serve as secondary aviation support for an expeditionary group. All amphibious transport docks can operate helicopters, LCACs, and other conventional amphibious vehicles while the newer San Antonio class of ships has been explicitly designed to operate all three elements of the Marines' "mobility triad": Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles (EFVs), the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and LCACs. Amphibious transport docks are typically named after U.S. cities.

The dock landing ship is a medium amphibious transport that is designed specifically to support and operate LCACs, though it is able to operate other amphibious assault vehicles in the United States inventory as well. Dock landing ships are normally deployed as a component of an expeditionary strike group's amphibious assault contingent, operating as a secondary launch platform for LCACs. All dock landing ships are named after cities or important places in U.S. and U.S. Naval history. [96]

Cruisers Edit

Cruisers are large surface combat vessels that conduct anti-air/anti-missile warfare, surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and strike operations independently or as members of a larger task force. Modern guided missile cruisers were developed out of a need to counter the anti-ship missile threat facing the United States Navy. This led to the development of the AN/SPY-1 phased array radar and the Standard missile with the Aegis combat system coordinating the two. Ticonderoga-class cruisers were the first to be equipped with Aegis and were put to use primarily as anti-air and anti-missile defense in a battle force protection role. Later developments of vertical launch systems and the Tomahawk missile gave cruisers additional long-range land and sea strike capability, making them capable of both offensive and defensive battle operations. The Ticonderoga class is the only active class of cruiser. All cruisers in this class are named after battles. [96]

Destroyers Edit

Destroyers are multi-mission medium surface ships capable of sustained performance in anti-air, anti-submarine, anti-ship, and offensive strike operations. Like cruisers, guided missile destroyers are primarily focused on surface strikes using Tomahawk missiles and fleet defense through Aegis and the Standard missile. Destroyers additionally specialize in anti-submarine warfare and are equipped with VLA rockets and LAMPS Mk III Sea Hawk helicopters to deal with underwater threats. When deployed with a carrier strike group or expeditionary strike group, destroyers and their fellow Aegis-equipped cruisers are primarily tasked with defending the fleet while providing secondary strike capabilities. With very few exceptions, destroyers are named after U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard heroes. [96]

Frigates and Littoral combat ships Edit

Modern U.S. frigates mainly perform anti-submarine warfare for carrier and expeditionary strike groups and provide armed escort for supply convoys and merchant shipping. They are designed to protect friendly ships against hostile submarines in low to medium threat environments, using torpedoes and LAMPS helicopters. Independently, frigates are able to conduct counterdrug missions and other maritime interception operations. As in the case of destroyers, frigates are named after U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard heroes. As of autumn 2015, the U.S. Navy has retired its most recent class of frigates, and expects that by 2020 the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) will assume many of the duties the frigate had with the fleet.

The LCS is a class of relatively small surface vessels intended for operations in the littoral zone (close to shore). It was "envisioned to be a networked, agile, stealthy surface combatant capable of defeating anti-access and asymmetric threats in the littorals". [ citation needed ] They have the capabilities of a small assault transport, including a flight deck and hangar for housing two helicopters, a stern ramp for operating small boats, and the cargo volume and payload to deliver a small assault force with fighting vehicles to a roll-on/roll-off port facility. The ship is easy to reconfigure for different roles, including anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, homeland defense, maritime intercept, special operations, and logistics, all by swapping mission-specific modules as needed.

The LCS program is still relatively new as of 2018 with only ten active ships, but the navy has announced plans for up to 32 ships. (See: List of littoral combat ships) The navy has announced that a further 20 vessels to be built after that will be redesignated as 'frigates'. [99]

A special case is the USS Constitution, commissioned in 1797 as one of the original six frigates of the United States Navy, and which remains in commission at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. She serves as a tribute to the heritage of the Navy, and occasionally sails for commemorative events such as Independence Day and various victories during the War of 1812. Constitution is currently the oldest commissioned warship afloat. HMS Victory is older, and in commission, but is in permanent drydock.

Mine countermeasures ships Edit

Mine countermeasures vessels are a combination of minehunters, a naval vessel that actively detects and destroys individual naval mines, and minesweepers, which clear mined areas as a whole, without prior detection of the mines. The navy has approximately a dozen of these in active service, but the mine countermeasure (MCM) role is also being assumed by the incoming classes of littoral combat ships. MCM vessels have mostly legacy names of previous US Navy ships, especially WWII-era minesweepers.

Patrol boats Edit

A patrol boat is a relatively small naval vessel generally designed for coastal defense duties. There have been many designs for patrol boats, though the navy currently has only a single class. They may be operated by a nation's navy or coast guard, and may be intended for marine ("blue water") or estuarine or river ("brown water") environments. The Navy has approximately a dozen in active service, which are mainly used in the littoral regions of the Persian Gulf, but have also been used for home port patrols and drug interdiction missions. The navy's current class of patrol boats have names based on weather phenomena.

Submarines Edit

All current and planned U.S. Navy submarines are nuclear-powered, as only nuclear propulsion allows for the combination of stealth and long duration, high-speed sustained underwater movement that makes modern nuclear submarines so vital to a modern blue-water navy. The U.S. Navy operates three types: ballistic missile submarines, guided missile submarines, and attack submarines. U.S. Navy (nuclear) ballistic missile submarines carry the stealthiest leg of the U.S. strategic triad (the other legs are the land-based U.S. strategic missile force and the air-based U.S. strategic bomber force). These submarines have only one mission: to carry and, if called upon, to launch the Trident nuclear missile. The primary missions of attack and guided missile submarines in the U.S. Navy are peacetime engagement, surveillance and intelligence, special operations, precision strikes, and control of the seas. [100] To these, attack submarines also add the battlegroup operations mission. Attack and guided missile submarines have several tactical missions, including sinking ships and other subs, launching cruise missiles, gathering intelligence, and assisting in special operations.

As with other classes of naval vessels, most U.S. submarines (or "boats") are named according to specific conventions. The boats of the current U.S. ballistic missile submarine class, Ohio class, are named after U.S. states. As the four current U.S. guided missile submarines are converted Ohio-class boats, they have retained their U.S. state names. The members of the oldest currently-commissioned attack submarine class, the Los Angeles class, are typically named for cities. The follow-on Seawolf class' three submarines—Seawolf, Connecticut and Jimmy Carter—share no consistent naming scheme. With the current Virginia-class attack submarines, the U.S. Navy has extended the Ohio class' state-based naming scheme to these submarines. Attack submarines prior to the Los Angeles class were named for denizens of the deep, while pre-Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines were named for famous Americans and foreigners with notable connections to the United States.

Aircraft Edit

Carrier-based aircraft are able to strike air, sea, and land targets far from a carrier strike group while protecting friendly forces from enemy aircraft, ships, and submarines. In peacetime, aircraft's ability to project the threat of sustained attack from a mobile platform on the seas gives United States leaders significant diplomatic and crisis-management options. Aircraft additionally provide logistics support to maintain the navy's readiness and, through helicopters, supply platforms with which to conduct search and rescue, special operations, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and anti-surface warfare (ASuW), including the U.S. Navy's premier Maritime Strike and only organic ASW aircraft, the venerable Sikorsky MH-60R operated by Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing.

The U.S. Navy began to research the use of aircraft at sea in the 1910s, with Lieutenant Theodore G. "Spuds" Ellyson becoming the first naval aviator on 28 January 1911, and commissioned its first aircraft carrier, USS Langley (CV-1) , in 1922. [101] United States naval aviation fully came of age in World War II, when it became clear following the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Coral Sea, and the Battle of Midway that aircraft carriers and the planes that they carried had replaced the battleship as the greatest weapon on the seas. Leading navy aircraft in World War II included the Grumman F4F Wildcat, the Grumman F6F Hellcat, the Chance Vought F4U Corsair, the Douglas SBD Dauntless, and the Grumman TBF Avenger. Navy aircraft also played a significant role in conflicts during the following Cold War years, with the F-4 Phantom II and the F-14 Tomcat becoming military icons of the era. The navy's current primary fighter and attack airplanes are the multi-mission F/A-18C/D Hornet and its newer cousin, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The F-35 Lightning II is presently under development and was scheduled to replace the C and D versions of the Hornet beginning in 2012. [102] Initial operational capability of the F-35C is now expected to be February 2019. [103] The Navy is also looking to eventually replace its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets with the F/A-XX program.

The Aircraft Investment Plan sees naval aviation growing from 30 percent of current aviation forces to half of all procurement funding over the next three decades. [104]

Weapons Edit

Current U.S. Navy shipboard weapons systems are almost entirely focused on missiles, both as a weapon and as a threat. In an offensive role, missiles are intended to strike targets at long distances with accuracy and precision. Because they are unmanned weapons, missiles allow for attacks on heavily defended targets without risk to human pilots. Land strikes are the domain of the BGM-109 Tomahawk, which was first deployed in the 1980s and is continually being updated to increase its capabilities. For anti-ship strikes, the navy's dedicated missile is the Harpoon Missile. To defend against enemy missile attack, the navy operates a number of systems that are all coordinated by the Aegis combat system. Medium-long range defense is provided by the Standard Missile 2, which has been deployed since the 1980s. The Standard missile doubles as the primary shipboard anti-aircraft weapon and is undergoing development for use in theater ballistic missile defense. Short range defense against missiles is provided by the Phalanx CIWS and the more recently developed RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. In addition to missiles, the navy employs Mark 46 and Mark 50 torpedoes and various types of naval mines.

Naval fixed-wing aircraft employ much of the same weapons as the United States Air Force for both air-to-air and air-to-surface combat. Air engagements are handled by the heat-seeking Sidewinder and the radar guided AMRAAM missiles along with the M61 Vulcan cannon for close range dogfighting. For surface strikes, navy aircraft utilize a combination of missiles, smart bombs, and dumb bombs. On the list of available missiles are the Maverick, SLAM-ER and JSOW. Smart bombs include the GPS-guided JDAM and the laser-guided Paveway series. Unguided munitions such as dumb bombs and cluster bombs make up the rest of the weapons deployed by fixed-wing aircraft.

Rotary aircraft weapons are focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and light to medium surface engagements. To combat submarines, helicopters use Mark 46 and Mark 50 torpedoes. Against small watercraft, they utilize Hellfire and Penguin air to surface missiles. Helicopters also employ various types of mounted anti-personnel machine guns, including the M60, M240, GAU-16/A, and GAU-17/A.

Nuclear weapons in the U.S. Navy arsenal are deployed through ballistic missile submarines and aircraft. The Ohio-class submarine carries the latest iteration of the Trident missile, a three-stage, submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) with MIRV capability the current Trident II (D5) version is expected to be in service past 2020. [105] The navy's other nuclear weapon is the air-deployed B61 nuclear bomb. The B61 is a thermonuclear device that can be dropped by strike aircraft such as the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet at high speed from a large range of altitudes. It can be released through free-fall or parachute and can be set to detonate in the air or on the ground.

The current naval jack of the United States is the Union Jack, a small blue flag emblazoned with the stars of the 50 states. The Union Jack was not flown for the duration of the War on Terror, during which Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England directed all U.S. naval ships to fly the First Navy Jack. While Secretary England directed the change on 31 May 2002, many ships chose to shift colors later that year in remembrance of the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Union Jack, however, remained in use with vessels of the U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A jack of similar design to the Union Jack was used in 1794, with 13 stars arranged in a 3–2–3–2–3 pattern. When a ship is moored or anchored, the jack is flown from the bow of the ship while the ensign is flown from the stern. When underway, the ensign is raised on the mainmast. Before the decision for all ships to fly the First Navy Jack, it was flown only on the oldest ship in the active American fleet, which is currently USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) . U.S. Navy ships and craft returned to flying the Union Jack effective 4 June 2019. The date for reintroduction of the jack commemorates the Battle of Midway, which began on 4 June 1942. [106]

Many past and present United States historical figures have served in the navy. Notable officers include John Paul Jones, John Barry (Continental Navy officer and first flag officer of the United States Navy), [107] Edward Preble, James Lawrence (whose last words "don't give up the ship" are memorialized in Bancroft Hall at the United States Naval Academy), Stephen Decatur Jr., David Farragut, David Dixon Porter, Oliver Hazard Perry, Commodore Matthew Perry (whose Black Ships forced the opening of Japan), George Dewey (the only person in the history of the United States to have attained the rank of Admiral of the Navy), and the officers who attained the rank of Fleet Admiral during World War II: William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King, Chester W. Nimitz, and William F. Halsey Jr..

PICTURES FROM HISTORY: Rare Images Of War, History , WW2, Nazi Germany

The Vietnam War still haunts the collective American psyche. And it's images still fascinates the rest of the world. But for different reasons. America learnt to its discomfiture that a group of highly motivated people can defeat the most technological advanced army in the world. And the world learnt that shorn of the heroic sheen of the beacon of freedom that American wore post-WW2, when it came to its self interest it used terrible weapons against innocent women and children. My Lai tarnished America irrevocably.

Saigon, June 11, 1963 Buddhist monk Quang Duc burned himself in protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the Government of South Vietnam. (AP Photo/Malcolm Browne)

January 9, 1964 a soldier of the Army of South Vietnam stabs a farmer, assuming that he was lying on the movements of the Viet Cong - North Vietnamese soldiers. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

March 1964. A Vietnamese man with a the body of his dead child asks for help from rather disinterested South Vietnamese soldiers

Hovering U.S. Army helicopters pour machine gun fire into a tree line to cover the advance of South Vietnamese ground troops in an attack on a Viet Cong camp 18 miles north of Tay Ninh, northwest of Saigon near the Cambodian border, in Vietnam on March 1965. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

A BOMB BLAST: March 30, 1965. The scene immediately after a bomb attack on the American embassy in Saigon. Many Vietnamese and two Americans died.

An unknown American soldier

September 25, 1965. A raid to find Viet Cong in the jungle area Ben Cat, South Vietnam. (AP Photo/Henri Huet)

November 27, 1965 A Vietnamese orderly covers his nose, so as not to feel the stench, as he passes bodies of American and Vietnamese soldiers killed in battle with the Vietcong in the Michelin rubber plantation, about 45 miles northeast of Saigon

January 1, 1966 Women and children hide in a ditch to save themselves from the intense bombardment by the Viet Cong, at Bao Trai, about 20 miles west of Saigon. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

July 15, 1966 An American CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter, downed by enemy ground forces during Operation Hastings south of the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam, The helicopter crashed and exploded on a hill, killing one crew member and 12 Marines. Three crew members escaped with severe burns,. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

A young Marine private waits on the beach during the Marine landing, Da Nang, Vietnam, August 3, 1965.

A napalm strike erupts in a fireball near U.S. troops on patrol in South Vietnam in 1966 during the Vietnam War. (AP Photo)

June 15, 1967 American soldiers peer out of the trench to evade Viet Cong snipers during fighting in the north-east of Saigon. (AP Photo/Henri Huet)

1966. Near the Cambodian border. A dead American soldier is lifted onto a helicopter hovering above

June 1967. Medic James Callahan tries desperately to save a badly injured soldier during a battle north of Saigon.

1966 U.S. Army helicopters supporting ground forces, at a base fifty miles north-east of Saigon. (AP Photo/Henri Huet)

Jan. 23, 1967 A terrified VC prisoner awaiting interrogation unit of special forces A-109 Thuong Duc, 25 kilometers west from Da Nang, Vietnam. (AFP PHOTO/National Archives)

A marine helps his wounded comrade to cover despite North Vietnamese fire during battle on May 15, 1967

BEFORE: South Vietnamese forces escort suspected Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem (also known as Bay Lop) on a Saigon street Feb. 1, 1968, early in the Tet Offensive. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams

DURING: 1 February 1968 the national police chief of South Vietnam, General Nguyen Ngoc Loan shooting the enemy suspect in the head

Coverage of the war and its resulting impact on public opinion has been debated for decades by many intelligent media scholars and journalists, yet they are not the most qualified individuals to do so: the veterans are. Journalists based in Saigon daily reported facts about battles, casualties, and the morale of the troops, yet only a soldier could grasp the true reality of war. The media distortions, due to television’s misrepresentations during the Vietnam War, led to the American defeat, not on the battlefield but on the political and social arena.

AFTER: The victim falls dead on the ground and police chief calmly puts the gun back

June 8, 1972 bombs with a mixture of napalm and white phosphorous dropped dropped by South Vietnamese Skyraider bombers , explode in a village not far from the Cao Dai temple in the outskirts of Trang Bang. In the foreground are Vietnamese soldiers and correspondents of several international news agencies.

Terrified burnt children run away from the scene

The South Vietnamese soldiers tend to the children

November 20, 1972 Unaware of the impending enemy attack a photographer captures an image of a South Vietnamese infantryman in the Hai Van, south of Hue. While the camera followed the explosion, the soldier had no time to react.

March 1975. A Vietnamese woman is evacuated from an area 235 miles north east of Saigon moments before the NVA/Viet Cong overran it

South Vietnamese marines line beaches and swim out to ships, fleeing from the northern port city of Da Nang on March 29, 1975 before its fall to the Viet Cong and north Vietnamese. This picture was taken as some marines successfully fled, abandoning scores of weapons, vehicles and even a helicopter. In the foreground, men on LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank) prepare to throw rope to marines coming up on inner tubes. Only a fraction of the city's 100,000 defenders were evacuated before its fall. (AP Photo)

North Vietnamese troops run across the tarmac of Tan Son Nhat air base in Saigon as smoke billows behind abandoned U.S. Air Force transport planes April 30, 1975. The taking of Saigon marked the fall of the U.S.-backed south and the end to a decade of fighting. (Vietnam News Agency/REUTERS)

April 29, 1975 Vietnamese people trying to climb over the wall of the American Embassy in Saigon, hoping to get onto a helicopter, as the last Americans leave Vietnam. (AP Photo/Neal Ulevich)

April 29, 1975 Staff of USS Blue Ridge push a helicopter from the deck of a ship at sea, to free up space for evacuation flights from Saigon.

April 29, 1975 A Vietnamese woman with her three children sitting on the deck of an American amphibious assault ship during the evacuation from Saigon. (AP Photo)

Navy Photo of the Month - History

Please contact Paul Spears Sr.
EMAIL: webmaster[ at ] and
Kent Hawley

Click Here to Contact the Webmaster If you know the fate of this vessel.

A small Escort Gunship LCS(L) . HQ 230 on the rivers near the Parrots Beak Area.

Photo Courtesy of Matty Veneziano
EMAIL: MV1949[ at ]

LCS 226 is one of eight 160 foot gunboats that were used in Vietnam for river and coastal escorts.
Some of them were turned over to South Vietnam.

Photo Courtesy of Rob Rielly
EMAIL: RobRielly[ at ]

Rob Rielly is the Archivist for the USS LCS(L) 1-130 Association.
Please send him any info you have on the HQ 225,226,227,228,229,230 or 231.

Photo Courtesy of Frederick J. McGavran
EMAIL: FMcGavran[ at ]

Photo Courtesy of Frederick J. McGavran
EMAIL: FMcGavran[ at ]


EMAIL: Howlett5[ at ]

IFS (former LSMR) USS Carronade firing rockets

USS Carronade firing rockets at Night

USS Carronade firing rockets

USS Carronade at Cam Ranh Bay

USS Carronade Rocket launcher

Stern of USS Carronade at Vung Tau

USS Carronade and Bernard Howlett at Danang.

A photo of a the USS Carronade Patch .
Patch Photo courtesy of Bernard Howlett
EMAIL: Howlett5[ at ]

USS White River LSMR 536
Rocket ship

Photo Courtesy of William Geraghty
EMAIL: williamm[ at ]

USS White River LSMR 536 Firing

Photo Courtesy of Larry Hunter via Bernard Howlett
EMAIL: LHunter536[ at ]

USS White River LSMR 536 Firing

Photo Courtesy of Larry Hunter via Bernard Howlett
EMAIL: LHunter536[ at ]

A photo of a the USS White River Patch .
Patch Photo courtesy of William Geraghty.
EMAIL: williamm[ at ]


EMAIL: samispoor[ at ]

Unknown - Possibly a LCS(L) Gunboat

Unknown - Possibly a LCS(L) Gunboat

Unknown - Possibly a LCS(L) Gunboat

Unknown - Possibly a LCS(L) Gunboat

Unknown - Possibly a LCS(L) Gunboat

Possibly the Van Don [ HQ 06 ]

River Combat Economy Battleship
The Combat Ammi
As fast as the LCM pushing it.

Third Week of Boot Camp

During the third week, there is less classroom learning, and more on-hands learning. The classroom work will consist of training about Naval history, laws of armed conflict, money management, shipboard communications, navy and aircraft (fixed wing and rotary wing) and basic seamanship. The week will finish with the second written test.

After that recruits get to practice basic line-handling skills and get direct experience and practice in first aid techniques.


Originally ordered as an Enterprise-class nuclear carrier, the ballooning costs of Enterprise during construction caused the cancellation of the nuclear CVAN-66 and her reordering as a conventionally powered Kitty Hawk-class carrier. [ citation needed ] She was laid down on 1 January 1961 at Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Corp. launched on 1 February 1964, sponsored by Mrs. Catherine McDonald, wife of Admiral David L. McDonald, the Chief of Naval Operations and commissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 23 January 1965, Captain Lawrence Heyworth Jr., in command.

After fitting out there until 15 March 1965, America remained in Hampton Roads for operations off the Virginia Capes until getting underway on 25 March. She conducted her first catapult launch on 5 April 1965, with Commander Kenneth B. Austin, the carrier's executive officer, piloting a Douglas A-4C Skyhawk. Proceeding thence to the Caribbean, the carrier conducted shakedown training and concluded it at Guantanamo Bay on 23 June.

Entering the Norfolk shipyard for post-shakedown availability on 10 July, she remained there until 21 August. She next operated locally through late August and then proceeded to the operating areas off the Virginia Capes and to Bermuda, arriving back at Norfolk on 9 September. On 25 September, Rear Admiral J. O. Cobb broke his flag as Commander, Carrier Division 2 (CarDiv 2). [1]

America sailed for her first Mediterranean deployment late in 1965. New Year's Day, 1966, found her at Livorno, Italy. Over the ensuing weeks, the ship visited Cannes, Genoa, Toulon, Athens, Istanbul, Beirut, Valletta, Taranto, Palma, and Pollensa Bay in Spain. She sailed on 1 July for the United States. Early in the deployment, from 28 February – 10 March, America participated in a joint Franco-American exercise "Fairgame IV", which simulated conventional warfare against a country attempting to invade a NATO ally. She arrived at Naval Station Norfolk on 10 July, remaining there for only a short time before shifting to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 15 July for availability.

America operated locally in the Norfolk area from 29 August – 19 September, after which time she proceeded to Guantanamo Bay to carry out training. After Hurricane Inez swirled through the region, her sailors spent an estimated 1,700 man-hours in helping the naval base at Guantanamo to recover and return to normal operations.

The following month, America initiated into carrier service the A-7 Corsair II, conducting its flight qualifications off the Virginia Capes, while she also conducted automatic carrier landing system trials which demonstrated the feasibility of "no hands" landings of F-4 Phantom, F-8 Crusader and A-4 Skyhawk aircraft. [1]

On 16 Oct 1965, two Phantom jets collided in midair 20 miles (32 km) from the America, both pilots ejected safely. On 3 September 1965 on the way to Taranto, a plane and pilot were lost when the catapult malfunctioned and tore the front landing gear off the plane the plane's aux fuel tank ruptured and the plane went over the side. An airman was burned in the catwalk and the RA ejected safely but the pilot went down with the plane. Since leaving Norfolk, America had lost five planes. [2]

From 28 November – 15 December, America took part in "LANTFLEX 66", gaining experience in the areas of anti-air, antisubmarine, and carrier strike operations. The ship also participated in a mine drop, missile shoots, and provided air support for amphibious operations. She returned to Norfolk on 15 December, remaining there through the end of the year 1966. [1]

On 10 January 1967, America departed Norfolk for her second Mediterranean cruise and relieved Independence at Pollensa Bay on 22 January. While crossing the Atlantic, America conducted: carrier qualifications for her SH-3A crews, missile shoots in the mid-Atlantic, day and night air operations and various other exercises. Upon nearing Gibraltar, she received a visit from Soviet long-range reconnaissance aircraft, Tu-95 "Bears" on 18 January. Two F-4B Phantom jets met the "Bears" as they approached and escorted them past the ship.

Before anchoring at Athens, on 4 February, America participated with Italian control and reporting centers in an intercept-controller exercise. Shortly afterwards, America again met with Italian forces in an exercise involving raids upon an attack carrier by fast patrol boats.

The beginning of March found America and her consorts, operating as Task Group 60.1 (TG 60.1)of Task Force 60, participating in the United States/United Kingdom Exercise "Poker Hand IV" with the British carrier HMS Hermes. America and Hermes provided raid aircraft to test each other's antiaircraft defenses.

On 1 April, "Dawn Clear", a two-day NATO exercise, commenced with TG 60.1 units participating. During the first day America provided raid aircraft against Greek and Turkish "targets." The following day, the exercise continued as Greek aircraft flew raids against TG 60.1 surface units. Following "Dawn Clear", the ship conducted routine training operations in the Ionian Sea.

America anchored at Valletta at 10:00 on 5 April for a five-day visit. Weighing anchor on 10 April, the carrier departed Malta to sail for TG 60.1 operations in the Ionian Sea. She conducted an open sea missile exercise with the guided missile destroyers Josephus Daniels and Harry E. Yarnell. Other operational aspects of the at-sea period consisted of routine day/night flight operations and a major underway replenishment with other units of TG 60.1.

The following days saw the threat of civil war in Greece commencing with the military coup that ended parliamentary rule in that country. Although King Constantine II of Greece held his throne, the possibility of violence in the streets of Athens loomed as a potential threat to the American citizens suddenly caught up in the turmoil. It seemed that evacuation by ship might be necessary and the United States Sixth Fleet commander ordered the formation of a special operations task force. Under the command of Rear Admiral Dick H. Guinn, Task Force 65, with America as flagship, sailed eastward to stand by for evacuation, should that step be necessary. Fortunately, violence never materialized in Greece, and the task force was not called upon to act. On 29 April, Rear Admiral Lawrence R. Geis relieved Rear Admiral Guinn as Commander, Carrier Division 4, Commander, TF 60, Commander, TF 65, and Commander, TF 502 (NATO). With a new admiral on board, and the Greek political crisis behind her, America sailed into Taranto Harbor, Italy, on the first day of May for eight days of relaxation. During three days of general visiting in Taranto, America hosted 1,675 visitors who came aboard to tour the hangar and flight decks. America and TG 60.1 departed Taranto on 8 May for routine operations in the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, she followed these with a port visit to Livorno. [1]

Crisis in the Middle East Edit

By 25 May 1967, there was evidence that a crisis was brewing in the Middle East. As soon as the ship was slated to finish with the last of her "Poop Deck" exercises, she would be heading back to the Sea of Crete.

For the next 48 hours, America steamed east and south from the coast of Spain, through Malta Channel and on to the Sea of Crete to join up with the ships of TG 60.2, the carrier Saratoga and her destroyers. The carrier task force, under the command of Rear Admiral Geis, prepared for any contingency.

The situation worsened. First, Egypt moved troops into the Gaza Strip, demanding that the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Force be withdrawn. Then, Israel beefed up her forces and, in turn, each of the other Arab countries put her armed forces on alert. As war clouds darkened, the United Arab Republic closed the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping.

During this time, the carrier conducted normal training operations off the island of Crete and held two major underway replenishment operations. On 5 June, seven American newsmen from the wire services, the three major American television networks and several individual newspapers across the country flew on board. These seven were soon joined by others, 29 in all including media representatives from England, Greece, and West Germany.

Their presence was evident everywhere on board the carrier. They lined the signal bridge and the flight deck, their cameras recording the cycle of flight operations, refuelings, and the tempo of shipboard routine. At night, Robert Goralski of NBC News and Bill Gill of ABC News teamed up to present the WAMR "Gill-Goralski Report", a half-hour on the latest developments in the Mideast and around the world.

America ' s presence was soon noted by the potential belligerents. The carrier also attracted other observers. A Soviet destroyer had maneuvered nearby in the morning of 2 June. Armed with surface-to-air missiles, the Russian ship constantly cut in and out of the carrier's formation. Shortly after noon on 7 June, Vice Admiral William I. Martin, Commander 6th Fleet sent the following message to the Soviet ship, in Russian and English:

Your actions for the past five days have interfered with our operations. By positioning your ship in the midst of our formation and shadowing our every move you are denying us the freedom of maneuver on the high seas that has been traditionally recognized by seafaring nations for centuries. In a few minutes, the task force will commence maneuvering at high speeds and various courses. Your present position will be dangerous to your ship as well as the ships of this force. I request you clear our formation without delay and discontinue your interference and unsafe practices.

Although that particular Soviet guided missile destroyer left America, her sister ships soon arrived to follow the carrier and her escorting destroyers for days. [1]

The Six Day War Edit

On the morning of 5 June 1967 it was announced that Israelis and the Arabs were at war. That afternoon the bosun's pipe called the crew to a general quarters drill, and the excitement of the moment was evident as all hands rushed to their battle stations. When general quarters was secured, the word was passed over the 1-MC, the ship-wide general announcement system, to set condition three, an advanced state of defensive readiness.

On 7 June, the destroyer Lloyd Thomas, in company with America, obtained a sonar contact, which was classified as a "possible" submarine. Rear Admiral Geis immediately dispatched Lloyd Thomas and the guided missile destroyer Sampson to investigate the contact. Sampson obtained contact quickly and coordinated with Lloyd Thomas in tracking the possible submarine.

America launched one of her antisubmarine helicopters, a Sikorsky SH-3A Sea King of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 9, and gained sonar contact. At midnight, the contact was reclassified as a "probable" submarine. At that time, no known or friendly submarines were reported to be in the area of the contact. The destroyers maintained good sonar contact through the night.

At 05:30 on 8 June, a Lockheed SP-2H Neptune antisubmarine patrol plane of Patrol Squadron (VP) 7, coordinating with the destroyers and helicopters, obtained a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) confirmation over the contact. The MAD equipment allows an ASW aircraft to confirm that a contact detected in the sea by other means is actually a very large metal object.

Rear Admiral Geis announced the "probable" submarine's presence at noon. The newsmen, still embarked, dashed off stories to their home offices. Other events, however, would soon over-shadow the story about a 'probable' sub lurking near an American carrier task force. [1]

Attack on USS Liberty Edit

At about 14:00 local time on 8 June 1967, the technical research ship Liberty was attacked by Israeli torpedo boats and jet fighters, approximately 15 mi (24 km) north of the Sinai port of El Arish, in international waters. She had been in position to assist in communications between United States diplomatic posts in the Mideast and to aid in the evacuation of American dependents from the area if necessary.

However, the first word that reached America and the Department of Defense in Washington gave no indication as to the identity of the attackers. America ' s flight deck came alive. In a matter of minutes, F-4B Phantom interceptors were in the air to ward off any possible attack against task force units. At the same time, bombs and rockets moved from the magazines deep within the ship to the flight deck. Two A-4 Skyhawks were loaded and launched together with fighter cover. As the planes sped towards Liberty's position, however, word was received from Tel Aviv that the attackers had been Israeli and that the attack had been made in error. The planes outbound from America were recalled with their ordnance still in the racks, with the A-4s landing ashore to unload their ordnance.

The attack on Liberty had cost the lives of 34 men, with 173 wounded. Admiral Martin dispatched two destroyers, Davis and Massey, with Lt. Cmdr. Peter A. Flynn, MC, USN, one of America's junior medical officers, and two corpsmen from the carrier on board. The destroyers rendezvoused with Liberty at 06:00 on 9 June, and the medical personnel, including a second doctor from one of the destroyers, were transferred immediately to the damaged research ship.

At 10:30, two helicopters from America rendezvoused with Liberty and began transferring the more seriously wounded to the carrier. An hour later, about 350 mi (560 km) east of Souda Bay Crete, America rendezvoused with Liberty. The carrier's crew lined every topside vantage point, silent, watching the helicopters bring 50 wounded and nine dead from Liberty to America. As Liberty drew alongside, listing, her sides perforated with rockets and cannon shell, nearly 2,000 of the carrier's crew were on the flight deck and, spontaneously moved by the sight, gave the battered Liberty and her brave crew a tremendous cheer.

America ' s medical team worked around the clock removing shrapnel, and treating various wounds and burns. Doctors Gordon, Flynn and Lieutenant Donald P. Griffith, MC, worked for more than 12 hours in the operating room, while other doctors, Lt. George A. Lucier and Lt. Frank N. Federico made continuous rounds in the wards to aid and comfort the wounded. Their jobs were not finished that day, for the next week and more, Liberty ' s wounded required constant attention.

Since the fighting had started between the Israelis and the Arabs, a quiet settled over the carrier's flight deck. Ready, the ship waited for any possible situation, but the planes never left the decks.

However, as the Israeli forces moved to speedy victory in the Six-Day War, the Arabs charged that 6th Fleet aircraft were providing air cover for Israeli ground forces. The newsmen on board reported that these charges were false. The 6th Fleet, as with all other American forces, had remained neutral. In addition, the Soviet destroyers also knew the charges were false. [ citation needed ]

On Wednesday morning 7 June, Admiral Martin issued a statement to the press:

It would have been impossible for any aircraft from the 6th Fleet to have flown the support missions alleged by various Middle Eastern spokesmen . . . No aircraft of the 6th Fleet have been within a hundred miles (160 km) of the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, specifically Israel and the UAR. Furthermore, no 6th Fleet aircraft has entered the territorial airspace of any Middle Eastern or North African nation during the current period of tension. [3]

The admiral gave members of the press copies of both America ' s and Saratoga ' s flight plans for the days in question and a rundown of the task force's position at all times during the conflict. He pointed out that a check of the carriers' ordnance inventory would refute the charges, that both the number of pilots and aircraft embarked had changed only with the return of personnel and planes from the Paris Air Show.

America conducted a memorial service on 10 June, on the carrier's flight deck. [1]

As Israeli forces advanced towards the Suez Canal and the Jordan River, and appeals for a cease-fire came, the tension relaxed aboard ship. The crew took time out for an 11-bout boxing smoker in the hangar bay. With a running commentary by the Gill-Goralski team, nearly 2,000 crew members crowded around the ring while others watched the action over closed circuit television. America continued on station for several more days, but the tension seemed to have gone. The newsmen left, the uninvited Soviet guests called no more, and regular flight operations resumed.

On a lighter note, during the same period, other activities were happening aboard ship, and in Paris, France. Two squadrons of CVW-6 participated in the 27th Paris Air Show held at the French capital's Le Bourget Airport from 25 May – 5 June. A Fighter Squadron 33 (VF 33) F-4B Phantom II and an Early Warning Squadron 122 (VAW-122) Grumman E-2A Hawkeye were on display at the airfield throughout the show.

America next hosted, commencing on 14 June, forty-nine midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy and Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) units across the country. For six weeks the "middies", under the watchful eyes of the ship's officers, filled junior officer billets in all of the departments in the ship. In late July, the second group of 41 "middies" arrived for their six-week cruise.

America transited the Dardanelles on 21 June and arrived at Istanbul, where Rear Admiral Geis laid a wreath at the foot of the grave of the Unknown Soldier as a tribute to the Turkish war dead. Three days later, however, a group of angry demonstrators burned the wreath. Then, approximately 600 students with 1,500 spectators and sympathizers, participated in an anti-American/6th Fleet protest march, culminating in speeches in the area of the fleet landing. Liberty for the crew was cancelled for most of the afternoon-however, by early evening the situation had quieted down enough so that liberty could be resumed. All was peaceful for the remainder of the visit.

America departed Istanbul on 26 June for five days of operations in the Aegean Sea. On 1 July, the carrier steamed into the port of Thessaloniki, Greece for her first visit to that port. For Fourth of July celebrations aboard ship, Rear Admiral Geis and America ' s commanding officer, Capt. Donald D. Engen hosted the Prefect of Thessaloniki, the Mayor of Thessaloniki, the American Consul and approximately 75 Greek Army officers and civilians. On 8 July, Rear Admiral Daniel V. Gallery USN (Ret.) arrived on board via "COD" (Carrier Onboard Delivery) aircraft. Admiral Gallery was visiting as many 6th Fleet ships as possible during his month stay in the Mediterranean to gather material for articles and books. He also departed by COD, on 9 July.

On 16 July, America anchored at Athens for her second visit to that port of the 1967 cruise, before she proceeded thence to Valletta on 29 July. On 7 August, America anchored in the Bay of Naples. After visits to Genoa and Valencia, the carrier sailed into Pollensa Bay and commenced the turnover of her 6th Fleet materials to her relief, the attack carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt.

America moored at Norfolk on 20 September and entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 6 October. She remained there, undergoing a restricted availability, into early January 1968. From 6–8 January, the ship steamed for three days of sea trials in the Virginia Capes operating area. After a four-day ammunition onload at anchorage X-ray in Hampton Bay and a brief stay at Norfolk, America departed for a month-long cruise to the Caribbean for the naval technical proficiency inspection (NTPI), refresher training with the Fleet Training Group, Guantanamo Bay, and type training in the Atlantic Fleet Weapons Range (AFWR) before she could proceed to the Jacksonville Operating area for carrier qualifications.

America departed Norfolk on 16 January, arriving at Guantanamo Bay for extensive drills, exercises and inspections. General quarters was a daily routine as the ship strove to reach the peak of proficiency required in its upcoming combat deployment to the western Pacific (WestPac).

On 1 February, America departed the Guantanamo area, bound for the AFWR. The next day, 2 February, representatives from the AFWR came on board to brief America representatives and Carrier Air Wing 6 pilots on forthcoming operations. The training consisted of invaluable and highly successful exercises in environmental tracking, antimissile defense, airborne jamming against radars, emergency aircraft recovery, and simulated PT boat attacks. With this phase of her combat training completed, America departed the AFWR on 9 February for carrier qualifications in the Jacksonville operating area, and held them from the 12th through the 15th.

On the 17th, America moored at berths 23 and 24 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard to prepare for final type training, prior to her upcoming WestPac deployment. On 7 March, America again put to sea, back to the AFWR for further type training and Exercise "Rugby Match". En route to the Caribbean, the ship held various exercises in weapons loading, electronic countermeasures (ECM), and general quarters. On 10 March, America flew off the first of eight simulated air strikes. America's CVW flew "attack" sorties against "enemy" positions on Vieques, Puerto Rico. A search and rescue exercise (SAREX) was conducted to test the ship and air wing response to the distress call of a downed aviator. She also held several missile defense exercises to test the ship's reflexes against a surface threat.

America ' s planes flew photographic reconnaissance sorties over Vieques, and "found" simulated targets on film. Communications exercises simulated conditions in Gulf of Tonkin, as a high volume of message traffic similar to that to be experienced in southeast Asia was generated by Commander, CarDiv 2, who was embarked in the ship. On 13 and 14 March, the weapons department also flexed their muscles by firing two Terrier missiles.

Exercise "Rugby Match", a major Atlantic Fleet exercise involving approximately eighty ships was held in the AFWR from 7–29 March. America and Commander, CarDiv 2 (as commander, Task Group 26.1 (TG 26.1)), participated from the 18th to the 20th.

As the "Blue" Force attack carrier, America and her air wing pilots provided close air support (CAS), photo reconnaissance and combat air patrol (CAP) sorties for Task Force 22 (TF 22), the "Blue" amphibious landing force, during a landing on the island of Vieques. Prior to America's main participation during this period, CVW-6 flew an aerial mining mission in the amphibious operating area on the 15th. D-Day was 19 March. On return from their missions as CAS and CAP, several aircraft tested the antiaircraft defenses of the task force by flying raids against America. [1]

On 10 April, America stood out of Hampton Roads, bound for "Yankee Station", off the coast of Vietnam. The next day, the ship's complement of men and machines was brought up to full strength as America recovered the remainder of CVW-6's aircraft off the coast of the Carolinas. En route, she conducted one last major training exercise. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was the next stop en route to southeast Asia, America ' s first to that city and continent. Now with her course set almost due east, America sailed through waters she had never traveled before. Across the southern Atlantic, around the Cape of Good Hope, past Madagascar and to Subic Bay, Philippine Islands. From Subic, the ship sailed northwest through the South China Sea towards "Yankee Station". En route, on 26 May, the ship participated in exercise "NEWBOY" and the next day held carrier qualifications. At 10:00, 30 May, she arrived at "Yankee Station, and at 06:30 the next morning the first aircraft since commissioning to leave her deck in anger was launched against the enemy."

During four line periods, consisting of 112 days on "Yankee Station", America ' aircraft pounded at roads and waterways, trucks and waterborne logistics craft (WBLCS), hammered at petroleum storage areas and truck parks and destroyed bridges and cave storage areas in the attempt to impede the flow of men and war materials to the south. On 10 July 1968, Lt. Roy Cash, Jr. (pilot) and Lt. j.g. Joseph E. Kain, Jr. (radar intercept officer), in an F-4J Phantom from VF-33 downed a MiG-21 'Fishbed', 17 mi (27 km) northwest of Vinh, North Vietnam, for the ship's first MiG kill in the Vietnam War. America and her embarked air wing, CVW-6, would later be awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for their work during that time.

Between line periods, America visited Hong Kong, Yokosuka and Subic Bay. With America ' s mission on "Yankee Station" nearing completion, she launched the last of her attack aircraft at 10:30 on 29 October. The next day, she set sail for Subic Bay and the offload of various "Yankee Station" assets. In addition, a heavy attack squadron, VAH-10, and an electronic countermeasures squadron, VA-130, departed the ship on 3 November as they began a transpacific movement of their entire detachments to Alameda, and 144 aviators along with several members of the ship's company departed for the United States on the "Magic Carpet" flight.

The days the ship spent en route to Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Norfolk were, of necessity, more relaxed than those of her six months of combat. Nine hundred ninety-three "Pollywogs" were initiated into the realm of Neptunus Rex on the morning of 7 November as the ship again crossed the Equator. On 9 November, a flight deck "cookout" was sponsored by the supply department as the entire crew enjoyed char-broiled steaks and basked in the equatorial sun. After mooring at 13:30 on 16 December in Norfolk, her "round-the-world" cruise completed, post-deployment and holiday leave began, continuing through the first day of the year 1969.

On 8 January 1969, she headed for the Jacksonville operating area where she served as the platform for carrier qualifications. On 24 January, America arrived at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard to begin a nine-month overhaul. Upon completion of the overhaul, the carrier conducted post-repair trials and operated locally off the Virginia Capes. During one period of local operations, between 21–23 November 1969, America took part in carrier suitability tests for the Lockheed U-2R reconnaissance plane.

On 5 January 1970, the carrier departed the Norfolk area to commence a nine-week cruise in the Guantanamo Bay operating area. From 15–21 February, America participated in Operation "SPRINGBOARD 70", the annual series of training exercises conducted in the Caribbean. The program was established to take advantage of good weather and the extensive modern training facilities, including targets of all kinds, which are available in order to achieve maximum training during the period. This exercise included submarine operations, air operations, and participation by the Marine Corps. At the completion of this testing and training, America departed the Guantanamo area to arrive at the Jacksonville area on 1 March in order to conduct carrier qualification landings with the various squadrons stationed in and around the Jacksonville/Cecil Field area.

America arrived in Norfolk on 8 March and remained there for approximately one month making last minute preparations for an eight-month deployment. [1]

Second Vietnam War deployment Edit

On 10 April 1970, with CVW-9 on board, America left Norfolk and paused briefly in the Caribbean for an operational readiness inspection before proceeding on a voyage that took her across the equator to Rio de Janeiro, round the Cape of Good Hope, across the Indian Ocean, into the Pacific Ocean and finally to Subic Bay in the Philippines.

On 26 May, America began its first day of special operations in the Gulf of Tonkin, when Cmdr. Fred M. Backman, commanding officer of VA-165, and his bombardier/navigator, Lt. Cmdr. Jack Hawley, in a Grumman A-6C Intruder flew the ship's first combat sortie of the 1970 WestPac cruise. On the same day, the Navy's newest light attack aircraft, the A-7E Corsair II received its first taste of combat. At 12:01, Lt. (j.g.) Dave Lichterman, of VA-146, was catapulted from the deck in the first A-7E ever to be launched in combat. He and his flight leader, Cmdr. Wayne L. Stephens, the squadron's commanding officer, subsequently delivered their ordnance with devastating accuracy using the A-7E's digital weapons computer. Shortly after 13:00, Cmdr R. N. Livingston, skipper of the "Argonauts" of VA-147, and Lt Cmdr. Tom Gravely rolled in on an enemy supply route to deliver the first bombs in combat in an A-7E, reportedly "all on target".

For five line periods, consisting of 100 days on "Yankee Station", America ' s aircraft pounded at roads and waterways, trucks and waterborne logistic craft (WBLC), hammered at petroleum storage areas and truck parks in an attempt to impede the flow of men and war materials to the south.

On 20 August, at Manila, Vice Admiral Frederic A. Bardshar, Commander, Attack Carrier Striking Force, 7th Fleet, hosted the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand E. Marcos, on board America. Marcos was given a 21-gun salute as he and his wife Imelda Marcos arrived on board from their Presidential yacht to visit the ship. Accompanied by U.S. ambassador Henry A. Byroade and his wife, they were greeted by Vice Admiral Bardshar and America ' s commanding officer, Capt. Thomas B. Hayward and were subsequently escorted to the ship's hangar deck where the carrier division band and the ship's marine detachment rendered honors. Following their arrival, the visiting party dined with Vice Admiral Bardshar and Capt. Hayward, and were later given a brief tour of the ship.

On 17 September, America completed her fourth line period and headed for special operations off the coast of Korea and subsequently, the Sea of Japan. On 23 September, the carrier entered the Tsushima Straits, remained in the Sea of Japan for approximately five days and exited on 27 September through the Tsugaru Strait.

During this period, America and CVW-9 engaged in three exercises: "Blue Sky", with elements of the Republic of China Air Force "Commando Tiger", conducted in the Sea of Japan, involving air units of the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and, after exiting the Tsugara Straits, "Autumn Flower", air defense exercises with the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) and the United States Fifth Air Force.

On 7 November, America completed her fifth line period and departed for her last visit to Subic Bay. Through five line periods, the carrier had flown off 10,600 sorties (7,615 combat plus combat support), 2,626 actual combat sorties, completed 10,804 carrier landings, expended 11,190 tons of ordnance, moved 425,996 lb (193,229 kg) of cargo, handled 6,890 packages and transferred 469,027 lb (212,747 kg) of mail. She had accomplished this without a single combat loss and only one major landing accident with fortunately, no fatalities.

The day before the carrier arrived at Sydney, Australia, for a three-day rest and recreation visit, United States ambassador to Australia and his wife, the Honorable and Mrs. Walter L. Rice, flew on board to accompany the ship into Sydney.

America celebrated two Thanksgivings. At exactly 23:29 on 26 November, America crossed the International Date Line. Moments later it became Thanksgiving Day again.

After rounding Cape Horn on 5 December 1970, America headed north, stopped briefly at Rio de Janeiro for fuel, and arrived in Norfolk, on 21 December. She remained there until 22 January 1971, when the ship entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a three-month restricted availability. She departed the yard, on schedule, on 22 March. Over the ensuing weeks, the ship operated locally in the Virginia Capes operating areas. She then carried out exercises in Puerto Rican waters, with United States Navy as well as Royal Navy warships-including HMS Ark Royal, HMS Cleopatra, and HMS Bacchante.

After a return to Norfolk, America stood out of Hampton Roads on 6 July 1971 for the Mediterranean. On 16 July 1971, America dropped anchor at Naval Station Rota, Spain in order to receive her turnover information from the ship she was relieving on station, Franklin D. Roosevelt. America then entered the Mediterranean for the third time since her commissioning. Between the time the ship left Rota, until she reached Naples, she participated in three major exercises.

Following a port call at Naples, America proceeded on a course toward Palma, Majorca. While en route, she participated in "PHIBLEX 2–71", in which she covered a mock amphibious landing at Capoteulada, Sicily. After a port visit at Palma, Majorca, America participated from 16–27 August in "National Week X", one of the largest exercises conducted in the Mediterranean. At the termination of the exercise, America proceeded to Corfu, Greece, her next liberty port. She then visited Athens shortly afterwards.

After conducting routine operations in the eastern Mediterranean and making a port call at Rhodes, Greece, the ship proceeded to the Aegean Sea to participate in Operation "Deep Furrow 71", America and CVW-8 providing close air support for almost the entire exercise.

Proceeding to Thessaloniki, Greece, for a port visit America then participated in "National Week XI", in the central Mediterranean. The carrier subsequently visited Naples before she steamed into the western Mediterranean to participate in exercises with British, Dutch, Italian, and French forces in Exercise "Ile D'Or", completing her part in the evolutions by 19 November. America then conducted port visits to Cannes and Barcelona before proceeding to Rota. There, on 9 December, she was relieved on station by John F. Kennedy.

Arriving back at Norfolk on 16 December, America moored in Norfolk, for post-deployment stand down before unloading ammunition in preparation for availability at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. After the two-month overhaul, the carrier conducted sea trials. Soon afterwards America embarked on a program of training, accelerated due to the fact that the date of her deployment had been advanced one month, and participated in Exercise "Exotic Dancer V." She returned to Norfolk, upon conclusion of the exercises. [1]

Third deployment to Vietnam Edit

On 2 June 1972, three days before America was to sail Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, the Chief of Naval Operations, visited the ship and explained the reason why her orders had been changed sending her to the Gulf of Tonkin instead of the Mediterranean. Sailing on 5 June, America crossed the equator on 12 June and held the usual initiation of "pollywogs" into the realm of Neptune.

Escorted by destroyers Davis and Dewey, and accompanied by the fleet oiler Waccamaw, America proceeded toward southeast Asia, and rounded the Cape of Good Hope on 21 June. Joining the 7th Fleet later in June, America relieved the attack carrier Coral Sea on station, and commenced combat operations on 12 July. A ruptured main feed pump, however, prompted an early return to Subic Bay on 25 July for repairs, the ship arriving in the Philippines during a time of natural devastation–floods and landslides.

The repair work was delayed for two weeks while needed parts were rushed to Subic Bay. America stood out on 9 August to return to the line, and soon resumed carrying out strike operations against communist targets in North Vietnam. On 6 October, bombs from her planes dropped the Thanh Hoa Bridge, a major objective since the bombing of the North had begun years before.

Completing her line period and stopping over briefly at Subic Bay, America steamed to Singapore, departing that port on 20 October to resume operations on "Yankee Station." Less than a month later, a fire broke out on board America, at 14:10 on 19 November 1972, in the number two catapult spaces. The ship went to general quarters as smoke began to fill the 03 level, and damage control parties soon had the blaze extinguished. Clean-up and repair work ensued, and despite not having the services of one of her catapults, America remained on the line and continued to meet her commitments.

After an extended line period of 43 days, America reached Subic Bay on 2 December, where the number two catapult was repaired, and departed the Philippines on 8 December to return to "Yankee Station". A week before Christmas, America learned that the breakdown of peace talks in Paris had led to a resumption of bombing of targets in North Vietnam. America swung into action, and the pace proved hectic until the Christmas cease-fire. "Christmas away from home is never good", America's historian wrote, "but the men of America made the best of it with homemade decorations." There were services to celebrate the season, "and carolers were noted strolling through the passageways . "

America received five battle stars for her service in the Vietnam War. [1]

Cessation of hostilities Edit

On 28 December, the carrier anchored in Hong Kong harbor, and remained there until 4 January 1973, when she stood out for the Philippines and the period of rest and repairs at Subic Bay that would precede the ship's return to the line. All hands avidly followed the progress of the peace talks as America returned to "Yankee Station", and resumed operations. After two weeks on the line, the ship learned that peace had been secured and that an agreement was to be signed in Paris. At 08:00 on 28 January 1973, the Vietnam War—at least that stage of it—was at an end. Rumors swept the ship that her deployment would be shortened because of the cessation of hostilities, and hope ran high as the ship moored at Subic Bay on 3 February.

America did return to "Yankee Station" one last time, but her time on station proved short, as she returned to Subic Bay on 17 February and sailed thence for the United States three days later, on 20 February. The carrier arrived at Mayport Florida, disembarking men from CVW-8 and embarking the teen-aged sons of some of the ship's company officers and men, thus allowing them to ride the ship back to Norfolk with their fathers.

On 24 March, America arrived back at Norfolk, bringing to a close her sixth major deployment since commissioning. She immediately began preparations for a 30-day stand down and the restricted availability to follow at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. She entered the yard on 11 May and emerged after that period of repairs and alterations on 10 August.

America conducted local operations out of Norfolk into October, and during this period the ship celebrated a significant milestone in the life of a carrier: she logged her 100,000th landing on 29 August 1973, when her COD aircraft (nicknamed "Miss America"), piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Lewis R. Newby and Lt. Cmdr. Ronnie B. Baker, landed on board. Cake-cuttings on the hangar deck and in the wardroom celebrated the occasion.

On 29 October, America cleared Hampton Roads for Jacksonville and a period of carrier qualifications. She was conducting routine training operations on 1 November when she went to the assistance of the crippled sailing schooner Harry W. Adams of Nova Scotia. The 147 ft (45 m) schooner, her engine disabled and without power for her pumps, was taking on water. Helicopters from America sped to the scene, and the ship provided rescue specialists and underwater demolition experts to assist in the effort. The ship's captain and his crew of nine all escaped serious injury, although the carrier's helicopters brought three of the crew on board for medical examinations and a warm meal. America stood by until the late afternoon, when the Coast Guard cutter PORT ROBERTS arrived to assist Harry W. Adams into port at Jacksonville.

After concluding her operations in the Jacksonville area America paid a port call at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, from 4–8 November. She proceeded thence to sea for exercises of various kinds to hone the skills of the ship-air wing team and, following her operational readiness inspection off Mayport, proceeded back to Norfolk, on 21 November.

America then steamed south after the Thanksgiving holiday, for Atlantic Fleet readiness exercises, returned via Mayport to Norfolk on 13 December, and remained in her home port until sailing for the Mediterranean on 3 January 1974.

Relieving Independence at Rota, Spain, on 11 January, she became the flagship for Rear Admiral Frederick C. Turner, Commander, TF 60. America commenced operations in the western Mediterranean that day and, over the next few weeks divided her time between at-sea periods and port visits to Toulon, Barcelona, and Valencia. From 15–19 February, the carrier participated in Exercise "National Week XVI", and upon the conclusion of that evolution anchored in Souda Bay, Crete. She proceeded thence for a port call at Athens.

Standing out of the waters of that Greek port on 1 March, America participated in "PHIBLEX 9–74", in which the ship's air wing, CVW, practiced supporting an amphibious landing. The carrier then operated north of Crete on exercises in early April, after which time she put into Athens on 9 April.

America then participated in NATO exercise, "Dawn Patrol", in which units of the navies of the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and West Germany participated. During one phase of this exercise, the carrier's marine detachment embarked in El Paso and stormed ashore from that amphibious ship while America ' s planes provided close air support.

Upon the conclusion of Dawn Patrol, the carrier paid another visit to Athens, proceeding thence on 19 May for a four-day period of exercises, after which time she steamed to Istanbul, arriving there on 23 May.

Immediately following this port call, the ship returned to Athens and sailed thence for Exercise "SHAHBAZ" to test the air defense capability of NATO ally Turkey early in June. America then anchored off the island of Rhodes, Greece, on 6 June for a four-day port visit, after which time she returned to Athens to embark Naval Academy midshipmen for their summer training cruise. America then participated in Exercise "Flaming Lance", off the coast of Sardinia, during which time Leahy controlled over 1,000 intercepts by America ' s aircraft.

Making her last port call at Athens for the deployment, the carrier steamed to Souda Bay on 1 July, loading minesweeping equipment that had been used in Operation Nimbus Star, the clearance of the Suez Canal. America then proceeded to Corfu, and began the transit out of the eastern Mediterranean on 6 July, arriving at Palma, Majorca, three days later.

America anchored off Rota on 15 July, for what was scheduled to have been an off-load of the equipment of Commander, TF 60, staff. Clashes between Greek and Turkish forces on Cyprus, however, prompted the Joint Chiefs of Staff to order America to remain at Rota until the arrival of her relief, Independence, on 28 July. As soon as that attack carrier entered the 6th Fleet operating area, America commenced her homeward voyage, ultimately reaching Norfolk, on 3 August.

A little over a month later, America sailed for the North Sea, to participate in a NATO exercise, "Northern Merger", departing Norfolk on 6 September. America joined with HMS Ark Royal in providing air support for a NATO task force and for an amphibious landing. Throughout the exercise Soviet surface units, as well as "Bear" and Tu-16 'Badger' aircraft, conducted surveillance missions over and near the NATO force.

Upon the conclusion of "Northern Merger", America steamed to Portsmouth, England, arriving there on 29 September to commence a five-day port visit. The carrier proceeded thence back to the United States, reaching Norfolk on 12 October, to commence preparations for a major overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Entering the yard on 27 November 1974, America remained there until 27 September 1975, when the ship got underway to conduct post-overhaul sea trials.

America departed Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 16 October 1975 for local operations off the Virginia Capes and, after a few weeks in Norfolk, departed Hampton Roads for Cuban waters and refresher training.

While steaming north of Cuba and preparing for the operational readiness inspection that concludes refresher training, America picked up distress calls, immediately deploying helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to search for a disabled motorized sailboat, Ruggentino. One of the carrier's helicopters located a boat in distress and guided a tug to the scene which took the disabled craft in tow. The boat, however, was the Content, so America and her aircraft resumed the search for Ruggentino. One of her planes soon located Ruggentino, and the ship dispatched a motor whaleboat to assist. America sailors soon had the boat pumped out and headed for port.

America completed her schedule of training in Cuban waters and then returned north, arriving back at Norfolk on 16 December 1975. Following the year-end stand down, the carrier resumed local operations out of Norfolk in January 1976 and, in March participated in Exercise "Safe Pass '76" with ships of the Canadian, West German, Dutch and British navies. She ultimately sailed for the Mediterranean on 15 April 1976 with CVW-6 and Commander, Carrier Group 4 (CarGru 4), Rear Admiral James B. Linder, embarked. [1]

Soon after her arrival in the turnover port of Rota, America participated in a NATO exercise, "Open Gate", before entering the Mediterranean. Passing the Pillars of Hercules on 3 May, the ship entered into the eastern Mediterranean in support of Operation "Fluid Drive", a contingency operation for the evacuation of non-combatants from war-torn Lebanon. For the next three months, the carrier maintained a high state of readiness. In conjunction with "Fluid Drive", the ship and her air wing maintained continuous surveillance of the Soviet Mediterranean fleet, which at that point was at its largest since the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

On 24 May, America anchored in Rhodes, Greece, to commence her first liberty of the deployment-but violent anti-American demonstrations prevented the carrier's crew from going ashore, and the ship stood out two days later. America conducted a port visit to Taranto Italy, instead, but the deteriorating situation in the eastern Mediterranean required the ship to sail sooner than scheduled.

The assassination of the United States ambassador to Lebanon Francis E. Meloy, and Economic Counselor Robert O. Waring as they were on their way to visit Lebanese President Elias Sarkis on 16 June 1976 prompted the evacuation of Americans from that nation a week later, on the 20th. America remained on alert while landing craft from the dock landing ship Spiegel Grove transferred the evacuees from the beach to safety. Following the successful evacuation, the carrier proceeded westward for a few days of liberty in Italian ports celebrating the country's bicentennial Independence Day, 4 July 1976, at Bari, Italy.

Proceeding back into the eastern Mediterranean on 11 July to conduct a missile exercise north of Crete, the ship continued to maintain responsibility for "Fluid Drive." On 27 July, as more Americans were evacuated from Lebanon on board Portland, the carrier provided support. Relieved of her responsibilities in the eastern Mediterranean on 2 August, America reached Naples soon afterwards, and remained in port for two weeks. The carrier returned to sea on 18 August and participated in Exercise "National Week XXI" with other 6th Fleet units.

Upon the termination of "National Week XXI", America proceeded to Palma, whence she proceeded to participate in "Poop Deck 76" with Spanish Air Force units and United States Air Force units based in Spain. Then, following visits to the Spanish ports of Barcelona and Málaga, America took part in the final exercise of her Mediterranean cruise, Exercise "Display Determination". HMS Ark Royal teamed with America, and ships from the navies of Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Turkey participated as well. The American carrier conducted convoy escort duties, simulated close air support for amphibious operations, and simulated strikes against military targets. Upon conclusion of "Display Determination", the carrier proceeded to Rota, where she was relieved by Franklin D. Roosevelt. America ultimately reached Norfolk on 25 October 1976.

On 6 November, the carrier proceeded up the Elizabeth River to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where she remained into February 1977. America then operated locally out of Norfolk into the spring of 1977 until sailing for the Mayport, Florida, operating area on 3 May. Following her participation in Exercise "Solid Shield 77", a joint service amphibious training exercise, the carrier returned to Norfolk on 24 May.

America sailed from Hampton Roads on 10 June 1977 for a five-week South Atlantic deployment as a unit of TG 20.4. Other ships in company included South Carolina, Claude V. Ricketts, Dupont, and Neosho. Following her return to Norfolk, America operated locally before she sailed to conduct operations in the Caribbean.

After returning to Norfolk on 27 August, America sailed for the Mediterranean on 29 September, with CVW-6 embarked, and reached Rota on 9 October. Departing that port on 14 October the carrier proceeded to the Tyrrhenian Sea, where she operated until 26 October. Following a port call at Brindisi, Italy, America began operations in the Ionian Sea on 7 November, and anchored at Souda Bay, Crete, two days later. She operated locally in these waters until 12 November, when she sailed for Kithira Island, Greece, anchoring there on the 19th.

Weighing anchor the following morning, America sailed for the Adriatic Sea, bound for Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia. Visiting this seaport from 22–26 November, the carrier transited the Adriatic for a port call at Trieste, staying there from 28 November to 3 December. Returning to operate in the waters of Souda Bay for more exercises, America subsequently departed Crete on 12 December for Palma, where she spent Christmas.

Departing Palma two days later, America proceeded through the Ligurian Sea to her next port of call, Genoa, which she reached on 30 December. She remained there until 8 January 1978, when she sailed to carry out antisubmarine exercises in the Tyrrhenian Sea, upon the conclusion of which she anchored in Golfo di Palma, Sicily. Operations in the western Mediterranean and again in the Tyrrhenian Sea rounded out most of January 1978, and the ship rested briefly at Catania, Italy, before getting underway for Exercise "National Week" on 5 February.

She returned to the Tyrrhenian Sea and western Mediterranean for further exercises during March, and then visited Barcelona before she brought the deployment to a close with further exercises in the western Mediterranean. At Rota, she was relieved by Forrestal, and sailed for Norfolk, arriving home on 25 April 1978.

Following post-deployment stand down, America conducted carrier qualifications off the Virginia Capes, and then entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for an availability. Upon the conclusion of that period of repairs and alterations, the carrier conducted post-availability sea trials on 19–20 September 1978, and conducted carrier qualifications with CVW from 12–20 October. Tragedy marred the last day of operations, when a Lockheed S-3 Viking antisubmarine aircraft went over the side upon landing hung on the safety nets momentarily, then plunged into the sea. Although the pilots, Lt. Cmdr. Ziolowski and Lt. (j.g.) Renshaw ejected clear of the plane, they were not recovered.

America subsequently conducted refresher training out of Guantanamo Bay early in November, before she called at Ft. Lauderdale on 10 November to commence a four-day stay. Returning to Norfolk soon afterwards, the carrier remained in the Norfolk area, alternating periods of time in port with type-training and exercises off the Virginia Capes.

The carrier cleared Norfolk on 5 January 1979 for the Caribbean operating areas, and conducted type training there from 5–23 January after which time the ship visited St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, from 24–29 January. America then resumed type training in the waters of the Caribbean and West Indies, concluding those evolutions on 12 February to return to Norfolk.

After bringing CVW-11 on board off the Virginia Capes on 8 and 9 March, America spent the next two days moored in Norfolk making final preparations for her departure for the Mediterranean. The carrier sailed on 13 March. Two days later, on 15 March, America conducted a "BEAREX" with a Lockheed P-3 Orion from Bermuda simulating a Russian "Bear" reconnaissance aircraft. Such practice proved timely, for the following day, A-7 and Grumman F-14 Tomcat aircraft from America intercepted a pair of the long-range "Bear D" planes that were en route to Cuba from their bases in the Soviet Union. The "Bears" never came within visual range of the carrier's battle group.

Reaching Rota on 24 March, America relieved Saratoga and commenced operations in the western Mediterranean on 29 March. During this deployment, the ship visited a variety of ports, starting with Naples, Taranto, and Catania. Moving into the Adriatic, the carrier stopped at Split, Croatia, before moving north to Venice and Trieste. In the eastern Mediterranean, America called at Alexandria, Egypt, at Souda Bay, Crete. Returning west, she visited Palma and Barcelona in Spain, Marseille on the coast of France, Genoa in northern Italy and Valencia in Spain before heading for Rota. She completed turnover proceedings at Rota on 10–11 September 1979, and got underway immediately to commence the homeward voyage.

Highlighting this period were numerous multilateral and unilateral exercises, as in previous Mediterranean deployments. During one phase of "National Week XXVII", America and her consorts took part in an open sea exercise that took them into the waters of the Gulf of Sidra (Sirte) – claimed by Libya as territorial waters since 11 October 1973. The Libyan government serving notice that any ship or aircraft operating south of the 32-30 north latitude would be violating its territory, America ' s battle group maintained an alert, in view of the proximity of Libyan airfields and Soviet-made aircraft operating therefrom. Departing Augusta Bay, Sicily, on 26 July, the task group arrived in its exercise area on the 28th. As planes from CVW-11 maintained nearly continuous fighter cover, the ships conducted their exercise unhindered.

Ultimately departing Rota on 12 September 1979 to conduct a blue water turnover with Nimitz, America encountered her second pair of "Bears". F-14 Tomcats of VF-213 intercepted the two, however, and caused them to turn away to the north, having never sighted a single ship in the carrier's battle group. Reaching Norfolk on 22 September, America stood down after her 6th Fleet deployment.

The carrier departed Norfolk again on 15 October for Mayport, and conducted local operations off the coast of Florida before moving into the Gulf of Mexico to conduct carrier qualifications. Returning north upon completion of those evolutions, America put to sea on 30 October for more carrier qualifications-these, however, involved the first arrested carrier landings of the new McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. This aircraft underwent rigorous testing over the days which followed, before America returned to Norfolk on 3 November.

Entering the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 6 November 1979, America underwent repairs and alterations for much of 1980 commencing her post-repair trials on 23 September 1980. Among the work performed during the availability was the installation of the NATO "Sea Sparrow" missile and close-in weapon systems such as the multi-barreled "Phalanx" machine gun.

The ship carried out a second period of post-repair trials from 16 to 21 October, after which time she returned to Norfolk whence she conducted sea trials from 27–29 October. Subsequently, conducting refresher training out of Guantanamo Bay, America returned to the Virginia Capes operating area to conduct carrier qualifications in early December. She spent the remainder of the year 1980, undergoing upkeep at Norfolk.

America operated locally in the Virginia Capes area into January 1981 and, during these operations on 14 January 1981, brought on board a Grumman C-1A "Trader" COD aircraft piloted by Ens. Brenda Robinson, USNR. Ens. Robinson became the first black female naval aviator to be carrier qualified. The ship later conducted carrier qualifications for CVW-11.

On 29 January 1981, as America was returning to Norfolk, she received a message from a Greek motor vessel, Aikaterini, in distress. America, diverted to the scene to render assistance until the Coast Guard could arrive, sent helicopters from her embarked HS-12 with damage control equipment, members of the ship's fire department, and damage control assistance to the stricken ship.

Returning to Norfolk on 2 February, America proceeded thence for carrier qualifications off the Virginia Capes, and thence to the Caribbean for type training. Returning to Norfolk on 19 March, America – in company with her consorts California and Preble subsequently sailed for the Mediterranean on 14 April 1981, destined, ultimately, for the Indian Ocean.

Reaching Palma on 23 April, America then participated in NATO exercise "Daily Double", with the amphibious assault ship Nassau, as well as with Greek and Italian Navy units on the 28th before she steamed to Port Said, Egypt.

Originally scheduled to have commenced her transit of the Suez Canal on 5 May, the tense situation in Lebanon prompted a 24-hour "hold" on the evolution. Given the go-ahead soon after, America made the 104.5 mi (168.2 km) transit on 6 May, in ten hours – the first United States Navy carrier to steam through the Suez Canal since Intrepid had made the passage shortly before the Arab-Israeli "Six-Day War" of 1967. It was also the first "super-carrier" to transit the canal since it had been modified to permit passage of supertankers.

America operated in the Indian Ocean, on "Gonzo" Station, for the first time from 12 May – 3 June, after which time she visited Singapore. On 18 June, the carrier departed that port for her second stint on "Gonzo Station". This deployment was to last 35 days. America and her embarked air wing provided a vital U.S. presence in the North Arabian Sea and ensured freedom of the seas for all nations operating ships through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Persian Gulf. These operations were conducted in a routine manner through three line periods (except for the loss of the ship's anchor while mooring off of Masirah Island). [ citation needed ]

On 15 July, America was requested to provide search and rescue (SAR) aircraft to assist in locating a merchant ship in distress in the northern Arabian Sea. The Greek merchantman Irene Sincerity was reportedly afire. America ' s planes located the ship and California rescued the 39 crewmen and disembarked them in good condition in Karachi, Pakistan.

Upon completion of her second northern Arabian Sea line period on 4 August, America shaped a course for Australian waters conducting a "Weapons Week" exercise in the vicinity of Diego Garcia. During "Weapons Week", a Lockheed P-3 "Orion" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 50 requested two F-14 Tomcats from America, flying in the vicinity of Pierre Island, near Diego Garcia, to assist in contacting their ship for SAR assistance. California sped to the island and located an individual stranded on Pierre Island, he had been on a treasure-hunting expedition bound from Sri Lanka to Mauritius. The cruiser took the man to Diego Garcia.

Departing the Diego Garcia operating area on 15 August, America conducted a unique burial-at-sea on the 18th, when the remains of the late Lt. Stephen O. Musselman were consigned to the ocean. Musselman had been shot down on 10 September 1972 in an A-7 Corsair II from America, over North Vietnam, and his remains had been returned by the Vietnamese government on 8 July 1981. Lt. Musselman's widow requested that these remains be consigned to the last ship he had served in and buried thence.

America anchored in Gage Roads at Fremantle, Western Australia on 25 August, and remained there for six days, sailing for "Gonzo Station" on the 31st. During her third line period, the ship spent 34 days on station. On 23 September, a fire broke out in a steam trunk line that carries steam from the main engineering spaces to the flight deck catapult system, at about 17:45. Soon after America ' s fire party arrived on the scene to isolate the fire, smoke began filling the areas adjacent to the crew berthing areas, so Capt. James F. Dorsey, Jr., ordered general quarters sounded.

America's firefighters soon managed to quell the blaze, and the ship secured from battle stations at 23:16. The carrier resumed normal flight operations the next morning at sunrise, and remained on station until relieved by Coral Sea on 16 October. Two days later, while America steamed toward the Bab el Mandeb Strait, the ship went to general quarters, in view of threats issued by the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen. The ship passed without incident, and continued her journey through the Red Sea unhindered.

On 21 October 1981, America commenced the northbound transit of the Suez Canal. This transit, unlike the comparatively light-hearted one of 6 May, proved more tense. As a result of the unsettled conditions in Egypt following 6 October 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian government accorded America ' s passage through the Suez Canal the utmost security considerations. The Egyptian Navy provided a patrol vessel to escort the carrier, while an Egyptian Air Force helicopter conducted reconnaissance flight over both banks of the waterway. Egyptian Army units patrolled the adjacent canal roads. Additionally, liaison officers on board the carrier maintained constant touch with the security forces by radio.

Making the passage of the canal without incident, America continued on across the Mediterranean, reaching Palma on 25 October. After a three-day port call, the carrier conducted exercises with Spanish forces, and subsequently sailed for home on 1 November, departing the Mediterranean the following day. She arrived at Norfolk on 12 November.

Following a short stand down, America conducted carrier qualifications in the Virginia Capes operating area, before she moored at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 14 December. Emerging from the naval shipyard on 20 April 1982, America operated locally off the Virginia Capes. Departing Norfolk on 10 May, the ship steamed to the Guantanamo Bay operating area and returning to her home port on 28 May.

Following further carrier qualifications off the Virginia Capes the carrier then steamed south to conduct type training in the West Indies, interspersing these evolutions with a port visit to St. Thomas. Returning to Norfolk on 8 July, America operated locally from 22–24 July, before she sailed on 22 August, with CVW-1 embarked, to participate in joint NATO exercises "United Effort" and "Northern Wedding 82".

America visited Edinburgh, Scotland, from 15–21 September and proceeded thence to Portsmouth, England, arriving there on 23 September. Sailing for the Mediterranean on 26 September, the carrier operated briefly with the 6th Fleet, participating in exercise "Display Determination" from 30 September – 8 October. She then sailed for the United States, and, following her operational readiness evaluation in the Caribbean operating areas, reached Mayport to disembark CVW-1. America returned to Norfolk on 4 November. [1]

America departed Norfolk on 8 December 1982, proceeded to the Virginia Capes operating area and embarked CVW-1, and set out across the Atlantic. Visiting Palma on 22 December America remained there through the Christmas holiday, weighing anchor on 28 December to sail for the Lebanese coast, where she was to take up duty in support of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in strife-torn Lebanon. Relieving USS Nimitz on station on 2 January 1983, America spent the next 18 days off Lebanon, before Nimitz took over on 20 January. Steaming thence to Piraeus, Greece, America, along with Dale and Savannah, anchored there on 23 January for a five-day port visit to Athens.

Underway on 29 January, the carrier transited the Sea of Crete en route to an overnight anchorage at Port Said. Transiting the Suez Canal on 31 January, America reached the Red Sea the same day and reported for duty with the 7th Fleet on 4 February. On 9 February, the carrier and her accompanying battle group conducted exercise "Beacon Flash 83". Subsequently, on 28 February, America and her consorts conducted a "Weapons Week" exercise in the vicinity of Diego Garcia. Following those evolutions, the carrier visited Colombo, Sri Lanka, anchoring on 7 March. Weighing anchor on 12 March, America resumed operations in the Indian Ocean soon afterwards, culminating in "Beacon Flash 83-4", and a subsequent port visit to Masirah Island, Oman.

Steaming thence to Mombasa, Kenya, and a five-day port visit America departed that port for a week of intense flight operations, followed by participation in "Beacon Flash 85" on 19 April. Returning to anchor at Masirah Island again three days later, the carrier and her battle group operated in the northern Arabian Sea, en route to the Suez Canal. Transiting that waterway on 4 May, America headed for Souda Bay, reaching an anchorage there on 7 May. Five days later, the carrier got underway for Málaga, Spain, reaching her destination on 14 May for a nine-day port visit. The ship subsequently departed Málaga on 23 May, and reached Norfolk on 2 June. America then entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 8 July. For four months, the ship underwent a period of repairs and alterations, emerging from the yard on 28 October. She then operated locally off the Virginia Capes with CVW-1 embarked, before she proceeded thence to Mayport, and, ultimately, to Puerto Rican waters for refresher training. Subsequently, visiting Nassau, in the Bahamas, for a five-day port visit, America returned to the East Coast of the United States, reaching Mayport on 8 December. She then conducted carrier qualifications for both East and West Coast squadrons en route to her home port reaching Norfolk on 14 December.

The carrier operated locally from Norfolk into February 1984 alternating periods of upkeep in port with carrier qualifications and exercises. She then conducted two periods of type training (6–20 February and 25 March – 8 April), interspersing these with an in-port period at Ft. Lauderdale from 21–24 February and then calling at St. Thomas upon conclusion of the second period of training. Returning to Norfolk on 22 March, America spent the next month preparing for her next deployment, and got underway to participate in exercise "Ocean Venture" on 24 April. Visiting Caracas, Venezuela, upon conclusion of that evolution, America departed on 9 May for the Mediterranean.

Reaching Málaga, Spain, on 21 May, the carrier commenced her transit of the Mediterranean on 29 May and reached Port Said on 3 June. Transiting the Suez Canal on the following day she passed through the Red Sea and joined the 7th Fleet on 8 June, relieving Kitty Hawk. On 10 July, while operating in the Indian Ocean, America lost an EA-6B Prowler from the VAQ-135 Black Ravens due to a failure of the waist catapult system. The crew ejected safely but the pilot, LTJG Michael Debartolomeo was killed in the process. An investigation into the Class A mishap revealed that faulty maintenance of the catapult system was to blame. Returning to the 6th Fleet on 29 August, America transited the Suez Canal on 2 September bound for Naples.

The carrier visited Monaco from 13–22 September before she participated in one phase of NATO exercise, "Display Determination". After stopping briefly to Naples, America returned to sea soon afterwards, and took part in the second phase of "Display Determination" before visiting Catania. She reached Augusta Bay on 27 October, where she was relieved by Dwight D. Eisenhower and sailed for the United States.

Arriving at Norfolk on 14 November, America conducted carrier qualifications in the Virginia Capes operating areas from 29 November – 17 December before returning to port on 18 December. The ship remained in an upkeep status until 18 January 1985, when she shifted to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for overhaul.

Emerging from the yard on 13 May for sea trials off the Virginia Capes, America remained at Norfolk until 28 May, when she sailed to conduct refresher training. Then, following a port call at Port Everglades, Florida (13–17 June), America conducted carrier qualifications before returning to Norfolk on 25 June. The ship operated locally out of Norfolk through mid-August.

America sailed on 24 August to participate in "Ocean Safari", a six-week NATO exercise which ultimately took her to Norwegian waters. After visiting Portsmouth, United Kingdom, upon conclusion of her training, America returned to Norfolk on 9 October. She spent the remainder of the year 1985 alternating periods of upkeep in Norfolk, with local operations in the Virginia Capes operating area. [1]

As the new year, 1986, began, tensions in the Mediterranean basin would result in America ' s sailing to deploy with the 6th Fleet one month earlier than planned. On 7 January 1986, President Ronald Reagan ordered all U.S. citizens out of Libya, and broke off all remaining ties between the two nations. At the same time, President Reagan directed the dispatch of a second carrier battle group to the Mediterranean, and directed the Joint Chiefs of Staff to look into military operations against Libya, a country strongly suspected of fomenting terrorist activity.

Operations near Libya began at the end of January. These evolutions, collectively named "Attain Document", were carried out from 24–31 January 1986 and from 10–15 February, by surface ships and aircraft. America, with CVW-1 embarked, and her accompanying battle group departed Norfolk on 10 March 1986, and arrived in the Mediterranean in time to participate in the third phase of "Attain Document", a freedom of navigation (FON) exercise in the Gulf of Sidra.

Late on 23 March, American planes flew south of latitude 32-30° N – the "Line of Death" proclaimed by Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadaffi. On 24 March, Ticonderoga, accompanied by two destroyers, Scott and Caron, moved south of the "Line", covered by fighter aircraft, at 06:00.

A Libyan missile installation near Surt (Sirte) launched two Soviet-made SA-5 "Gammon" surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) at 07:52, toward F-14A Tomcats of America ' s VF-102. Later that afternoon, the installation at Surt (Sirte) fired additional SAMs at U.S. planes, but, like the first pair, went wide of their mark. About 14:30, a Libyan missile-equipped Combattante II G-type patrol craft sortied from Misratah, Libya, and approached Ticonderoga and her consorts. Two A-6E Intruders from America ' s Attack Squadron 34 (VA 34) fired AGM-84 Harpoon missiles at the craft and sank her in the first use of the Harpoon in combat. Shortly afterwards, when American radars detected the Libyan installation at Sirte activating its target acquisition radars, two A-7 Corsairs from Saratoga ' s VA-81 put the site out of action with AGM-88 HARMs (high-speed anti-radiation missiles).

One hour after the first patrol boat had sortied, a Soviet-built Nanuchka-type patrol craft began heading out into the Gulf of Sidra. Intruders from VA-34 and Saratoga ' s VA-85 attacked with Rockeye cluster bombs, but the craft sought refuge alongside a neutral merchant ship, and avoided destruction. Damaged, she returned to the Port of Benghazi after nightfall.

The following day, at 02:00 25 March, another Nanuchka-II-type patrol boat entered International waters and came under attack from Intruders from VA-85 and Coral Sea ' s VA-55 the former utilized Rockeyes in the attack, the latter then sank the craft with a Harpoon. The same squadrons then attacked and damaged a second Nanuchka-II, forcing her to put into Benghazi.

"Attain Document III" came to a close at 09:00 on 27 March, three days ahead of schedule and after 48 hours of largely unchallenged use of the Gulf of Sidra by the U.S. Navy. Thence steaming to Augusta Bay, Sicily, America relieved Saratoga on station, and subsequently visited Livorno, Italy, from 4–8 April 1986.

In the meantime, however, in the wake of the strikes designed to let Col. Qaddafi know that the United States had not only the desire but the capability to respond effectively to terrorism, intelligence information indicated that Qaddafi intended to retaliate. [1]

Libyan retaliation Edit

On 5 April 1986, two days after a bomb exploded on board a Trans World Airlines (TWA) flight en route to Athens from Rome, killing four U.S. citizens, a bomb exploded in the La Belle Discoteque in West Berlin, killing two U.S. servicemen and a Turkish civilian. Another 222 people were wounded in the bombing – 78 Americans among them. Colonel Qaddafi threatened to escalate the violence against Americans, civilian and military, throughout the world.

Repeated efforts by the United States to persuade the Libyan leader to forsake terrorism as an instrument of policy, including an attempt to persuade other western nations to isolate Libya peacefully, failed. Rumors of retaliation by the United States were soon followed by Qaddafi's threat to take all foreigners in Libya hostage, to use them as a shield to protect his military installations. In light of that threat, and of the failure to gain peaceful sanctions against Libya, and citing "incontrovertible evidence" of Libyan complicity in the recent terrorist acts, President Reagan directed that attacks on terrorist-related targets in Libya be carried out. [1]

Operation El Dorado Canyon Edit

Operation "El Dorado Canyon" commenced early on the afternoon of 14 April 1986 around 1700 hours British Time as tanker aircraft took off from American RAF bases in England to support the US Air Force General Dynamics F-111F Aardvark and EF-111A Raven planes that soon followed them into the air from other American RAF bases. Thus began their 3,000 mi (4,800 km) trip to the target, flying around the Iberian Peninsula and through the Strait of Gibraltar, thereby avoiding over flight over France, Spain, and possibly Portugal. Later that afternoon, between 17:45 and 18:20 local time in the Mediterranean Sea, America launched six A-6 Intruder strike aircraft from VA-34 and six A-7E Corsair IIs (strike support) Coral Sea launched her strike/strike support aircraft, eight A-6Es from VA-55 and six F/A-18 Hornets between 17:50 and 18:20. Both carriers launched additional aircraft to support the strike to provide CAP and other functions. [1]

"In a spectacular feat of mission planning and execution", the Navy and Air Force planes, based 3,000 mi (4,800 km) apart, reached their targets on time at 19:00. The F-18 Hornets from Coral Sea and A-7 Corsair IIs from America launched air-to-surface Shrike and HARM missiles against Libyan SAM sites at Benghazi and Tripoli. Moments later, VA-34's A-6E Intruders dropped their Mk. 82 bombs on the Benghazi military barracks, believed to be an alternate command and control facility for terrorist activities and a billeting area for Qaddafi's elite Jamahiriya Guard, as well as a warehouse for components for MiG aircraft. VA-34's attack heavily damaged the warehouse, destroying four crated MiGs and damaging a fifth.

Following that counter-terrorist strike, America visited Naples from 28 April – 4 May, and then participated in NATO Exercise "Distant Hammer" with units of the Italian and Turkish Air Forces, and visited Nice/Monaco upon conclusion of the evolution. During June, the carrier operated with Coral Sea and the newly arrived Enterprise, and took part in a "poopdeck" exercise with Spanish and United States Air Force units off the coast of Spain, arriving at Palma soon after.

Participating in a NATO exercise, "Tridente", in late June, America visited Naples before she participated in a "National Week" exercise. Subsequently, visiting Catania and operating in the central and western Mediterranean, the carrier wound up the month of July at Benidorm, Spain, before returning to sea for further operations at sea in that region. Visiting Naples from 11–17 August, America spent the rest of her deployment in operations in the western and central Mediterranean before John F. Kennedy relieved her at Rota from 28–31 August. America arrived back at Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 20 November 1986 for an overhaul which lasted until 11 February 1988. She spent the remainder of that year operating along the East Coast and in the Caribbean. [1]

America departed Norfolk 11 May 1989 for her sixteenth major deployment, to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean. On 11 August, Coral Sea and America departed early from separate port visits when they were diverted to the eastern Mediterranean as a show of force in the wake of the suspected hanging of Marine Corps Lt. Col. William R. Higgins by Middle East terrorists, and threats to other hostages. Lt. Col. Higgins had been kidnapped in February 1988 while a member of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in Lebanon. After operations in the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, America returned home on 10 November 1989. [4]

She later evacuated the American Embassy in Lebanon in 1989, and also went on a 6-month deployment from May 1989 to November 1989 and served during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991. America also Participated in Operation Deny Flight in the mid-1990s.

On 2 August 1990, the day America departed the Norfolk Naval Shipyard following a four-month Selected Restricted Availability, Iraq invaded Kuwait. As the international community geared toward possible military action against Iraq, America and CVW-1 rushed toward a much accelerated deployment schedule.

On 28 December, just over four months after her SRA and having completed a five-month training cycle into two months, America deployed to the Red Sea in support of Operation Desert Shield with Captain J. J. Mazach in command. At that time, the combined Command, Control, Communication, Cryptology, and Intelligence (C4I) package installed aboard America included systems such as the Navy Tactical Command System Afloat (NTCSA), the Contingency Tactical Action Planning System (CTAPS) and Advance Tracking Prototype. Although these systems were not unique to the fleet, it was the first time they had been integrated into one comprehensive package. Coupled with the disseminated capabilities of the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS), America ' s C4I package allowed intelligence and operations information to be meshed together into one single tactical picture. Utilizing digital data links between other ships, America had intelligence processing capabilities unparalleled by any other ship in the fleet. America also deployed with B57 and B61 nuclear weapons aboard. [5]

On 9 January 1991, the America Battle Group transited the Strait of Gibraltar and sailed into the Mediterranean. Less than a week later, on 15–16 January, she passed through the Suez Canal and into the Red Sea on the UN-imposed deadline for Iraq's unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait. The America joined Saratoga and John F. Kennedy battle groups to form Battle Force Red Sea. At 02:00 hours (Saudi time) on 17 January, Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm. America ' s embarked airwing, CVW-1, initially provided Combat Air Patrol coverage over the battle force. On the second day of the war, America launched its first air strikes, targeting and destroying an ammunition depot north of Baghdad. In the next day's darkness, CVW-1 flew its first night strike of the war against an oil production facility. Strikes of up to five hours into Iraq against bridges, mobile Scud sites, oil production facilities and Iraqi Republican Guard units continued for three weeks, when the focus of the air war changed. On 9 February Captain Kent W. Ewing took command of the great warship at an informal ceremony on the flight deck and newly selected Rear Admiral Mazach departed under orders to his new assignment.

On 14 February, America entered the Persian Gulf to become the fourth carrier of Battle Force Zulu. Joining Midway, Ranger and Theodore Roosevelt strikes were flown into the Kuwait Theater of Operations (KTO), with attacks on Iraqi military forces in Kuwait proper, as well as targets in eastern Iraq. This would make America the only carrier to operate on both sides of the Arabian Peninsula during Desert Storm. On 20 February, America's VS-32 became the first S-3 squadron to engage, bomb and destroy a hostile vessel–an Iraqi gunboat. On 23 February, aircraft from America destroyed a Silkworm (anti-ship) missile battery after Iraq unsuccessfully fired a missile at Missouri. [4] The focus of the war changed again on 24 February with the beginning of the ground assault into Iraq and Kuwait. America aircraft provided air support for coalition troops by attacking Iraqi troop, tank and artillery sites in Kuwait, including the highway of death. One hundred hours later, Kuwait was successfully liberated and a cease-fire was ordered. CVW-1's aircraft were credited with destroying close to 387 armored vehicles and tanks in the KTO.

America departed the Persian Gulf on 4 March, with CVW-1 having conducted 3,008 combat sorties, dropped over 2,000 short tons (1,800 t) of ordnance and suffered no aircraft losses during the war. [6] The Red Sea coastal town of Hurghada, Egypt would be America ' s only port visit from 16–22 March, following 78 consecutive days at sea. [6]

After passing through the Suez Canal and exiting the Mediterranean, America reached Norfolk on 18 April. She and CVW-1 earned a Navy Unit Commendation, a third for America, for service during Desert Storm. After a short stay at home, and participating in New York City's Operation Welcome Home/Fleet Week festivities, America and CVW-1 once again headed for the Northern Atlantic to participate in NATO Exercise North Star. Departing Norfolk in August for eight weeks, she became the first carrier to conduct flight operations within Havesfjord, Norway. Less than two months later, America departed on 2 December for her second deployment of the year. This uneventful six-month deployment would see America return to the Persian Gulf, and thus become the first carrier to redeploy to the region following the Gulf War. The entire Kuwaiti leadership and US Ambassador visited for a day to extend their praise and thanks for saving their country.

Exercises would also place her in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea, as well as the Mediterranean, before returning to Norfolk in June 1992.

America and her Joint Task Group departed Norfolk and other east Coast ports on 11 August 1993 for another major Mediterranean deployment to relieve Theodore Roosevelt in Operation Deny Flight. After several weeks supporting United Nations peacekeeping efforts over Bosnia and Herzegovina, America transited the Suez on 29 October 1993 to relieve Abraham Lincoln in the Indian Ocean in support of UN humanitarian efforts in Somalia. She was followed, on 1 November by members of her battle group, Simpson and the replenished oiler Savannah. America covered over 2,500 mi (4,000 km) in a week. Supporting the U.N humanitarian efforts in Somalia was the Naval Battle Force Somalia, commanded by Rear Adm. Arthur Cebrowski, Commander, Carrier Group 6 on America. Other elements of naval battle force Somalia include Simpson, amphibious vessels New Orleans, Denver, Comstock, Cayuga and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. [4]

Before returning to the Mediterranean, CVW-1 aircraft flew missions into southern Iraq from the Red Sea in support of Operation Southern Watch. On 12 December 1993, America transited the Suez before returning to Norfolk in February 1994. [4]

A unique operation developed 12 September 1994 due to the situation in Haiti. Dwight D. Eisenhower and America deployed with a large contingent of Army helicopters on board, but no air wings. The carriers headed for the Caribbean in support of President William Clinton’s policy to restore democracy to Haiti. Dwight D. Eisenhower also embarked Navy squadrons HS-7, HCS-4 and HC-2. This was the first time that carriers deployed operationally with a large contingent of Army helicopters and no air wing on board. [6]

On 28 August 1995, America departed Norfolk on her 20th and final deployment in her 30-year history for anything but a routine six-month deployment to the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea and the Persian Gulf. She crossed the Atlantic Ocean in three days rather than the usual six-day transit through a Perfect Storm after leaving Norfolk. The carrier participated in Operation Deny Flight and Operation Deliberate Force, in association with the UN and NATO, and also flew missions in support of Operation Southern Watch over Iraq. America visited the capital city of Valletta, Malta, in January 1996 – the first U.S. Navy carrier to visit this historical port in over 24 years. America, operating from the Adriatic Sea, supported the NATO Implementation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina for Operation Joint Endeavor before returning to Norfolk, Virginia on 24 February 1996. [4]

America operating with the Italian aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi during her final deployment in January 1996

Posted On August 27, 2020 19:05:28

Recently, the Huffington Post article “Becoming A Racist: The Unfortunate Side Effect Of Serving Your Country?” has been making its rounds across the veteran community.

Basically it’s a story about how a small group of veterans who were radicalized in Iraq and Afghanistan provide security for fringe Neo-Nazi groups. It continues with an anecdote about the author’s NYPD lieutenant uncle and his prejudice.

The piece argues that not enough is being done to aid returning veterans with Post Traumatic Stress from becoming racists. To the article’s defense, it does say the percentage of veterans pulling security for the Right Wing groups is a small one. And I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t heard a racial slur used by a piece of sh*t during my time in the U.S. Army.

However, it glosses over the U.S. military’s extremely hard stance against those ****heads and the astronomical percentage of troops who learned to see their fellow service member as not white, brown, or black, but “green.”

All the Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces have unequivocally denounced racism and hatred within their branch. Every value within each branch goes directly against what we all stand for. There is no way in Hell any soldier can truly live by the Army values if they are not loyal to and respect everyone on their left and right.

The Army’s diversity mission statement is: “To develop and implement a strategy that contributes to mission readiness while transforming and sustaining the Army as a national leader in diversity.” In every sense, we are.

The term “seeing green” refers to removing your view on another troop’s personal identity and welcoming them as a brother or sister in arms who also swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Of course, we still understand that they are of a different ethnicity. We’re not blind. We only place importance on their rank and position.

We just assume that no matter what race you are, wherever you comes from, whatever religion, gender, or orientation: if you’re a young private – you’re probably an idiot no matter what. And if you’re a second lieutenant, you’re probably an idiot who’s also in the chain of command.

Troops come from all walks of life. I’ve served with former surfers from California, ranchers from Texas, and computer analysts from Illinois. Troops who grew up in the projects of Harlem to the high rises of Manhattan to trailer parks outside Atlanta to the suburbs of Cleveland.

I will forever be honored knowing they all embraced me as a brother. The life story of my friend, Spec. Allam Elshorafa, is proof that serving in the military will make you “see green” far more than the minute group of f*ckfaces that do radicalize.

Still one of his coolest photos was when he was a Private First Class. (Courtesy of Facebook)

Arriving at my first duty station in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, I wasn’t the most popular guy in the unit. I quickly realized that awkwardly talking about World of Warcraft wasn’t doing me any favors with avid fishermen and party guys, yet they still always looked out for me as one of their own.

In Afghanistan, I got to know Elshorafa. He was a Muslim born in Jerusalem. His family moved to Dallas when he was younger and as an adult, he enlisted to defend his new American home.

We quickly became friends. We’d talk about cartoons we saw as kids, video games we played as teens, and movies we hated as adults.

Things shifted when the topic of “why we enlisted” came up. He told me it was his life’s goal to help teach others that “not all Muslims are terrorists.” They are a fringe group that preys on other Muslims and are a blight on his religion.

One of radical Islam’s recruitment methods is to point at racism of westerners to rally disenfranchised Muslims. Yet, for all of the vile hatred those sh#tbags spew against the West, the largest target of Islamic terror is still other Muslims.

A little compassion goes a long way. (Photo via

Islamic terror to Elshorafa was the same as how every group deals with the radical sh*theads. Not all Christians are Branch Davidians, and not all Republicans are in the Alt-Right. To him, America was his home and we were his family. I, and everyone else in the platoon, embraced him as such.

My brother-in-arms ended his own life in June 2017. He joined the staggering number of veterans that still remain one of the most tragic concerns within our community. The loss still pains me, and I wear the memorial band every day.

I’ll never take it off, brother. I even argue with the TSA over taking it off.

It didn’t matter what race or religion either of us was, Elshorafa had my six and it will always hurt that I didn’t have his in his time of need.

He taught me about his faith and never attempted to convert me. He invited me to join him at an Eid al-Fitr celebration and the food was amazing. Just as you learn the players of every other football team other than your own by hanging out with their passionate fans, you learn in the military about others’ ways of life by bullsh*tting with them.

Everyone embraces the same suck on a daily basis. We all bleed the same red. And we all wear the same ‘green.’

Watch the video: . Navy 2020 Year in Photos