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Centennial of Naval Aviation: First Fleet Use Of The Aircraft Carrier

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Beginning on 02 March 1925, the United States Navy made the first tactical use of naval air power with the operations of the USS Langley, CV-1,  during Fleet Problem V.  Interestingly, Fleet Problem V was a fictional attack upon Hawaii! Aircraft from the Langley were only used for scouting purposes, but her air group’s performance was so overwhelming that it led to the recommendation that the  new aircraft carriers under construction, Lexington and Saratoga, be expedited as much as possible!

The head of the Bureau of Aeronautics, Rear Admiral William Adger Moffett (seen above on Langley), agreed and pushed Congress to take the necessary actions. Moffett in one of his speeches declared,

I am convinced that a bombing attack launched from such carriers from an unknown point, at an unknown instant, with an unknown objective, cannot be warded off…Lexington and Saratoga…are wonderful names in Naval history. It is particularly fitting that they should be chosen for these great vessels which are concrete evidence of the Navy’s determination to utilize this new and powerful weapon – the fleet air arm.

Recommendations were also made to speed up the development of naval aircraft to give the Navy the aviation firepower it needed.  Powerful United States Navy carrier forces were on the way!

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