Intended to carry a larger air group, and unencumbered by the now-obsolete naval limitations treaties, USS Essex was over sixty feet longer, nearly ten feet beamier and more than a third heavier. A longer, wider flight deck and a deck-edge elevator facilitated more efficient aviation operations, enhancing the ships' offensive and defensive air power. Machinery arrangement and armor protection was greatly improved.
These features, with the provision of more anti-aircraft guns, gave the ships much-enhanced survivability. In fact, two of them, Franklin and Bunker Hill , came home under their own power after being greviously damaged.
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Their construction greatly accelerated, the Essexes and the first few Ticonderogas formed the backbone of the Navy's mobile air striking power during the climactic years of the Pacific War. With their larger contemporaries of the Midway -class, these carriers sustained the Navy's air power through the rest of the s, during the Korean War era and beyond. Even after the arrival of the Forrestal -type "super carriers", the Essex -class and its sisters remained vital elements of naval strength.
By the mids, fourteen of them had been modernized along the lines of Oriskany , with all but one of those being further updated under the SCB program to facilitate operation of high-performance fighters and heavy attack aircraft.
Korean War and subsequent Cold War needs ensured that twenty-two of the twenty-four ships had extensive post-World War II service, all initially with attack air groups. As bigger carriers entered the fleet, seven of the Essex -class and eleven Ticonderogas were reassigned to the anti-submarine warfare mission.
Unmodernized ships began to leave active service in the late s, but three had about a decade of additional duty as helicopter assault transports for the Marine Corps. The updated units remained active until age and budget shortfalls drove them from the high seas from the late s into the middle s. However, one of the very first of the type, USS Lexington , ran on until as the Navy's training carrier. She then became a museum, a new role that also employs three of her siblings, Yorktown , Intrepid , and Hornet.
Essex was commissioned on the last day of , and went to the Pacific in May following shakedown in the Atlantic area. During the rest of that year, Essex took part in raids on Marcus and Wake islands, the invasion of the Gilberts and attacks on Japanese targets in the Marshalls. While operating off the Philippines on 25 November , she was damaged by a kamikaze suicide attack, but was able to remain in the combat zone. Essex continued her war operations in , supporting the landings at Lingayen Gulf, Iwo Jima and Okinawa , as well as raiding enemy targets in Japanese home waters and elsewhere in the Western Pacific.
She returned to the United States shortly after Japan's surrender and was placed out of commission in January Essex was modernized in the late s and early s, recommissioning in January with a strengthened flight deck, new island and many other changes.
Her designation was changed to CVA-9 in October Following the Korean armistice, she went to the Western Pacific twice more, in and in , then underwent a second modernization. Emerging from the shipyard in with a new angled flight deck and enclosed "hurricane" bow, Essex was now able to safely operate high-performance aircraft. After another western Pacific deployment, she was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet in mid She participated in the Lebanon intervention in mid, then steamed through the Suez Canal to the Western Pacific to operate in the Taiwan area. Essex returned to the Atlantic via the Cape of Good Hope.
After further Atlantic and Mediterranean exercises, Essex was converted to an anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carrier and redesignated CVS-9 in March Her pattern of Atlantic and Mediterranean operations continued for nearly another decade, ending with her decommissioning in June Yorktown was commissioned in April , and named for a previous carrier lost in the Battle of Midway. After shakedown, she passed through the Panam Canal in July to join the war against Japan. Yorktown's first combat operation was a strike against Marcus Island at the end of August.
During the rest of , she took part in a raid on Wake Island and in the Gilberts operation. From late January into May , Yorktown was one of the carriers that covered landings in the Marshall Islands and western New Guinea and generally battered Japanese forces throughout the central Pacific. For the rest of that month and in July, Yorktown struck other targets in the Marianas, the Bonins and Volcano Islands.
Following an overhaul, Yorktown rejoined the fighting fleet in November , participating in attacks on Japanese positions in the Philippines , Formosa, Indochina and on the China coast from then into January Though damaged by an enemy bomb on 18 March, she was able to remain in action. From late March until June , Yorktown took part in the Okinawa campaign.
On 7 April, her planes helped sink the huge Japanese battleship Yamato and some of her consorts. The remaining months of the Pacific war were mainly spent on raids on the Japanese Home Islands. Following Japan's capitulation in August, Yorktown helped cover occupation efforts and brought servicemen home from the western Pacific.
Generally inactive from early , the carrier was decommissioned in January Yorktown began a major modernization in Now capable of operating heavier aircraft and redesignated CVA, she reentered active service in February In early , during her second deployment, Yorktown supported the Tachin Islands evacuation. Later in that year, she was further modernized, receiving an angled flight deck and enclosed bow. After two more western Pacific tours as an attack carrier, in she became an antisubmarine warfare support aircraft carrier, with the new designation CVS The carrier's regular schedule of Far Eastern deployments included periodic exercises with allied navies and, from the mids, support for Vietnam War activities.
In , Yorktown played a major role in the motion picture Tora! Transferred to the Atlantic Fleet in early , she visited Europe during the last part of the year. Decommissioned in June , Yorktown became a memorial in at Charleston, South Carolina, a mission that continues to the present day. Intrepid was commissioned in August , and after arriving in the Pacific, she operated in support of the Kwajalein invasion in January—February On 17 February, while taking part in raids on the Japanese central Pacific base at Truk , she was hit by an aerial torpedo.
An improvised sail was used to help maintain course while she steamed to Pearl Harbor for repairs. The carrier was back in the combat zone in September Over the next few months, she participated in strikes on the Palaus, Okinawa, Formosa and the Philippines. Her planes sank or helped to sink several Japanese ships during the 24—25 October Battle of Leyte Gulf. On 25 November, while attacking targets in the Philippines, Intrepid was hit by a suicide plane. She lost over sixty officers and men and had to go to the U. Intrepid returned to the western Pacific in time for attacks on the Japanese home islands in mid-March , during which she was lightly damaged by a kamikaze.
She next participated in the Okinawa operation, beginning in late March. On 16 April, two suicide planes attacked her, one hitting the flight deck and causing enough damage that Intrepid again needed stateside repairs. Japan surrendered while she was en route to rejoin the fight in mid-August, and she spent most of the rest of supporting occupation efforts. Inactive through much of , Intrepid was decommissioned in March Litton-Ingalls Shipbuilding photo. From left to right; Secretary of Defense Richard B. US Navy photo. US Navy photo NB Navy photo. TS07 is designed to maintain a high level of interoperability between U.
Essex and the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in Sihanoukville for a port call to give Sailors and Marines the opportunity to participate in friendship-building community relations events, medical and dental projects and professional exchanges. Essex is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed U. The Sailors and Marines aboard Essex are departing to one of the two medical and dental community action projects scheduled during the visit.
The annual bilateral exercise improves interoperability between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the US military during humanitarian, medical and engineering missions. The ESF exercise was designed to test the ability of the Strike Groups to plan and conduct multi-task force operations across a broad spectrum of naval disciplines and to refresh skills in completing complex missions that require capabilities that are broader in scope than the individual Strike Groups can provide alone.
The lead ship in the Essex Amphibious Ready Group is standing by in international waters off the coast of Burma in support of Joint Task Force Caring Response a humanitarian assistance operation developed in the wake of Cyclone Nargis.
Essex , lead ship of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, is returning to scheduled operations after leaving the international waters off the coast of Burma. At the request of the Tokyo Metropolitan government, Essex will be involved in the evacuation phase of this year's Tokyo Metropolitan government and Kanagawa Prefecture government disaster response drill. Expeditionary Strike Group and serves as the flagship for CTF 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force commander.
At the request of the Kanagawa Prefecture Government, Essex is participating in the evacuation phase of this year's Kanagawa Prefecture Government disaster response drill. Expeditionary Strike Group and serves as the flagship for CTF 76, the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed amphibious force commander. Cobra Gold is an annual Kingdom of Thailand and U. TNG : " Coming of Age ". By the 22nd century it had become a tradition in Starfleet that its starships honored their historical namesake aircraft carrier predecessors with representations of them in any of their interiors; Enterprise CVN was represented as a painting in Captain Archer's ready room aboard Enterprise NX, whereas the same vessel was in the 24th century represented as a bas-relief in the observation lounge of USS Enterprise -D.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture. As she was declared already sunk by Travers, this, historically at least, only left her three class sisters as possible candidates, USS Yorktown CV-5 , after which Roddenberry had originally named his starship in his Star Trek is Enterprise , having participated in all Pacific campaigns save for the Battle of the Coral Sea , ironically became the sole class survivor and one of history's most celebrated vessels, much like its fictional starship counterpart.
As it turned out, all Yorktown -class sister ships were considered at the start of the second season of The Original Series by Producers D. Fontana and Robert Justman as namesakes for starships belonging to, what they at the time still called, the Starship -class , USS Yorktown having been introduced into the franchise at a later time in dialogue in the second season episode " Obsession " though never firmly established in canon as being Constitution -class.
The annotations on their memos made it very clear that the two Star Trek staffers very much indeed had the WW II carriers in mind when making the name suggestions, and not any other, previous historical vessels,  as was abundantly evidenced by the remark Justman made on his memo of 9 August , which read, " I think there would be several other candidates, such as Saratoga and perhaps another English carrier, a French carrier , a Russian carrier and certainly a Japanese carrier.
At least three other starships, established by production staffers as being named after aircraft carriers, were later added to canon in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fifth season episode " Redemption II " and the Star Trek: Voyager third season episode " Unity ", which included,. Other Starfleet vessels potentially named after aircraft carriers, but not confirmed either way by production sources, included,.