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American Aircraft Carriers

USS Langley


First US Aircraft Carrier USS Langley (CV-1) underway off San Diego, California, 1928,
with Vought VE-7 aircraft on her flight deck. USS Somers (DD-301) is in the background.


USS Langley 

Renamed Jupiter to Langley 11 April 1920

Hull #



Laid down: 18 October 1911

Launched: 14 August 1912


7 April 1913

20 March 1922

Sister Ships

Her sister ships were USS Cyclops, which disappeared without a trace (allegedly in the Bermuda Triangle) during World War I, and USS Proteus, and USS Nereus, which disappeared on the same route as Cyclops in World War II.

History Highlight

Jupiter was converted into the first U.S. aircraft carrier at the Navy Yard, Norfolk, Virginia, for the purpose of conducting experiments in the new idea of seaborne aviation. On 11 April 1920, her name was changed to Langley in honor of Samuel Pierpont Langley, an American astronomer, physicist, aeronautics pioneer and aircraft engineer, and she was given hull classification symbol CV-1. She recommissioned 20 March 1922 with Commander Kenneth Whiting in command. The naming of Langley was one of many shots in a long feud between Orville Wright and the United States Government.

As the first American aircraft carrier, Langley was the scene of numerous momentous events. On 17 October 1922 Lieutenant Virgil C. Griffin piloted the first plane, a Vought VE-7, launched from her decks. Though this was not the first time an airplane had taken off from a ship, and though Langley was not the first ship with an installed flight-deck, this one launching was of monumental importance to the modern U.S. Navy. The era of the aircraft carrier was born introducing into the Navy what was to become the vanguard of its forces in the future. With Langley underway nine days later, Lieutenant Commander Godfrey de Courcelles Chevalier made the first landing in an Aeromarine 39B. On 18 November Commander Whiting, at the controls of a PT, was the first aviator to be catapulted from a carrier's deck.

In the early hours of 27 February, Langley rendezvoused with her antisubmarine screen, destroyers Whipple and Edsall. At 11:40, about 75 miles south of Tjilatjap, nine twin-engine Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" bombers of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service's Takao Kokutai, led by Lieutenant Jiro Adachi, attacked her. The first and second Japanese strikes were unsuccessful, but during the third, Langley took five hits and 16 crew members were killed. Aircraft topside burst into flames, steering was impaired, and the ship developed a ten-degree list to port. Unable to negotiate the narrow mouth of Tjilatjap harbor, Langley went dead in the water, as her engine room flooded. At 13:32, the order to abandon ship was passed. The escorting destroyers fired nine four-inch shells and two torpedoes into Langley, to ensure she didn't fall into enemy hands, and she sank.


24 March 1920

Final Disposition

Sunk (by her escorts) due to extensive damage from a Japanese air attack 27 February 1942

Related Info

General characteristics


19,360 tons (as Jupiter)

11,500 tons (as Langley)


542 ft (165 m)


65 ft (20 m)


27 ft 8 in (8.4 m) (as Jupiter)

18 feet 11 inches (5.8 m) (as Langley)


15 knots


163 officers and men (as Jupiter)

468 officers and men (as Langley)


4 4 inch guns (as Jupiter)

4 5 inch 51 caliber guns (as Langley)



Aircraft carried:

None (as Jupiter)

55 (as Langley)

Source: Wikipedia

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