76 years ago today: The end of the wagon

Now that’s a flattop! An image taken from a departing biplane, Aug 03, 1923 of the U.S. Navy’s first aircraft carrier, the converted collier USS Langley. NARA Photo 520639

On this day in February 1942, the U.S. Navy’s first aircraft carrier USS Langley, then operating as a seaplane carrier (AV-3). was attacked by 16 Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” twin-engine bombers of the Japanese 21st and 23rd Naval Air Flotillas south of Tjilatjap, Java, and was so badly damaged by at least five bombs that she had to be scuttled by her escorts.

The “covered wagon” which operated as the country’s only flattop from 21 April 1920 until USS Lexington was commissioned on 14 December 1927, was the cradle of U.S. Naval aviation. Without her, there would have been no almost 100-years of U.S. carrier dominance.

Via NNAM.1982.071.001 by aivation artist Robert Grant Smith, 1980.

Via NNAM.1982.071.001 by aviation artist Robert Grant Smith, 1980.

The painting is the artist’s rendering of the Navy’s first aircraft carrier, the USS LANGLEY (CV-1), conducting flight operations as a ghost ship in the company with one of the Navy’s most modern aircraft carriers, the USS NIMITZ (CVN-68). The painting celebrates the commissioning of the Nimitz 50 years after the first squadron operation off the Langley in 1925. The Nimitz is accompanied by a squadron of A-4M Skyhawks while the Langley is accompanied by a squadron of F6C -2 Curtiss Hawks

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Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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