Aircraft carriers are warships that act as air bases for carrier-based aircraft. Aircraft carriers are the centerpiece of America's Naval forces. On any given day, aircraft carriers exercise the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Navigation Directions of Warfighting First, Being Ready and Operating Forward.
The US navy aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman travels in the Atlantic Ocean.
US Navy photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Swofford
Sailors scrub the flight deck of the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).
US Navy photo by Terence Deleon Guerrero
The port and starboard anchors of the US Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) sit in a dry dock.
US Navy Photo/Seaman Steven Edgar
The first aircraft carrier commissioned into the United States Navy was USS Langley (CV-1) on 20 March 1922. The Cold War led to multiple developments in the United States' aircraft carrier fleet. The Nimitz-class and the Gerald R. Ford-class nuclear supercarriers are the only classes that are currently in active-duty service.
US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan steams in formation with ships during Invincible Spirit.
US Navy photo/Seaman Jamaal Liddell
Sailors test the saltwater-sprinkler system on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).
US Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kaleb Sarten
Boatswain's Mate Seaman Nicholas Newman, from Long Beach, California, handles a line on the fantail aboard the US Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).
US Navy photo by Seaman Steven Edgar
The US navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt travels in the Pacific Ocean during a tailored ship training event off the coast of Southern California.
US Navy photo/ Petty Officer 3rd Class Austin Clayton
Aircraft carriers are sovereign US territory that steam anywhere in international waters - and most of the surface of the globe is water. This characteristic is not lost on the political decision-makers, who use Navy aircraft carriers as a powerful instrument of diplomacy, strengthening alliances or answering the fire bell of crisis.
As former President Bill Clinton said during a visit to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, "When word of crisis breaks out in Washington, it's no accident the first question that comes to everyone's lips is: where is the nearest carrier?"
US Sailors conduct flight operations on the flight deck of the US Navy aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Indian Ocean.
US Navy photo by Grant G. Grady
The US Navy aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower conducts an ammunition transfer with the aircraft carrier USS George Washington in the Atlantic Ocean.
Navy photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class Bryan Mai
Sailors aboard the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) scrub the flight deck after a countermeasure wash down.
US Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tony D. Curtis
US Navy aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) prepares to launch an E-2C Hawkeye during flight operations in the Pacific Ocean.
US Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Niegel
As a means of access and as a base, forward-deployed Navy and Marine forces are readily available to provide the United States with a rheostat of national response capabilities.
These capabilities range from simply showing the flag - just a presence - to insertion of power ashore.
The fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman conducts a replenishment at sea with the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Atlantic Ocean.
US Navy photo/Chief Petty Officer Mark Logico
The USS Antietam steams alongside the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan during a fueling at sea in the Philippine Sea.
US Navy photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Kaila Peters
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Layton Prado, from Dallas, waits for a signal after using a holdback bar to couple an EA-18G Growler, assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133, to a steam-powered catapult on the flight deck of the US navy aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Indian Ocean,
US Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Grant G. Grady
The four steam-powered catapults on US Navy aircraft carriers thrust a 48,000-pound aircraft 300 feet, from zero to 165 miles per hour in two seconds.
On each plane's nose gear is a T-bar which locks into the catapult's shuttle which pulls the plane down the catapult. The flight deck crew can launch two aircraft and land one every 37 seconds in daylight, and one per minute at night.
Dec. 19, 1962 - An E-2A, piloted by Lieut. Cmdr. Lee R. Ramsey, was catapulted off USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) in the first shipboard test of nose-tow gear designed to replace the catapult bridle and reduce launching intervals.
US Navy aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis pulls into San Diego Bay, after completing a seven-month deployment.
US Navy photo/Seaman Austin R. Clayton
The Atlantic Ocean (Nov. 4, 2001) - US Navy aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) makes a speed run in the Atlantic Ocean while conducting carrier qualifications.
US Navy photo/Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Heather Hess.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fueling) Airman Emmanuel Daniels, from Albany, Georgia, heaves a line on the fantail aboard the US Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush.
US Navy photo by Seaman Apprentice Sophie Pinkham
US Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in Dry Dock 6 post dewatering at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Wash.
US Navy photo/Thiep Nguyen
Navy and Marine Corps aircraft fly in formation above the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson as it in the Pacific Ocean during a regularly scheduled deployment.
US Navy photo/Lt. David Babka
US Navy aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) launches an E/A-18G Growler during flight operations in the Pacific Ocean.
US Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Niegel
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Aaron Sullivan inspects aqueous film forming foam sprinklers on the flight deck of the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).
US Navy photo by Michael Hogan
US Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits the Pacific Ocean.
US Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Devin M. Monroe
Navy Cmdr. Pavao Huldisch addresses sailors on the flight deck of the US Navy aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the South China Sea.
Photo By: Navy Seaman Jeffery L. Southerland
What does the color of these shirts represent?
-Yellow shirts are worn by
Aircraft handling officers
Catapult and Arresting Gear Officers
-Green shirts are worn by
Catapult and arresting gear crews
Air wing maintenance personnel
Ground Support Equipment (GSE) troubleshooters
Helicopter landing signal enlisted personnel (LSE)
-Blue shirts are worn by
Aircraft elevator Operators
Messengers and Phone Talkers
-Purple shirts, better known as “Grapes,” are all about aviation fuels.
-The red color is worn by
Crash and Salvage Crews
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)
-Brown shirts are worn most notably by
Air wing plane captains
Air wing line leading petty officers
-White shirts are worn by a fairly wide mix of deck crew. These include many quality and safety observers such as air wing quality control personnel, individual squadron plane inspectors, and safety observers.
The most well known white shirt wearers are Landing Signal Officers (LSOs) who help talk down approaching aircraft while also making sure the deck is clear for their arrival.
White shirts are also worn by Air Transfer Officers who are responsible for the handling and conveyance of all mail, cargo and passengers arriving via C-2 Greyhound Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) aircraft and helicopters.
When VIPs or media are being escorted on the deck they also wear white. Crews who provide liquid oxygen to aircraft and medical personnel are also assigned white tops.
(DECEMBER 10, 1996)-US Navy aircraft carrier USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) streams in the Northern Puerto Rican Operations Area (NPOA) during carrier air wing qualifications.
US Navy photo/Photographer's Mate Second Class Scott A. Moak.
At sea with US Navy aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (April 19, 2000) - An Explosive Ordnance Disposal team (EOD) working closely with SEAL team personnel, practice Special Insertion and Extraction (SPIE) techniques from an SH-60 "Seahawk" helicopter.
US Navy photo/Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Leland B. Comer.
At sea aboard US Navy aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) November 27, 2001 - After 58 days of sustained round the clock combat operations, crewmembers let off some steam and enjoy a swim-call during a break in flight operations.
US Navy Photo/Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Christopher S. Borgren II
January 23, 1997 - US Navy's newest Strike Fighter, the F/A-18F Super Hornet, taxis towards a catapult aboard the US Navy's newest nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), at the successful completion of sea trials.
US Navy Photo/Photographer's Mate Chief Thomas M. Hensley.
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