The Almost Carrier, USS America, Steams Toward South China Sea

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Potatoe, tomato.

USS Saipan (LHA-2) was commissioned in October 1977 and was at the time, in the words in the last sentence of the Daily Mail article about USS America, a very formidable ship. What Saipan and her sister ships of the Tarawa-class had for capability then is much improved on now with the newer America-class ship.

I’m a proud plankowner of Saipan, along with 750 or so former shipmates, and we well knew that while an LHA-type ship doesn’t support aircraft designed for catapult launch and trap-wire landing, it does support a wide variety of rotary wing and VSTOL aircraft, and has several capabilities that larger CVN-type ships (aircraft carriers) don’t have. A little online research would give a person perspective of what an LHA can do. Check it out, these are awesome ships.

Throughout the history of USN flattops, of whatever type, and there have been many since USS Langley was commissioned in 1922, the sailors of each type of ship had bragging and fighting rights over what type of flattop was bigger, longer, wider, faster, more important… you name it. And all the while, the civilian world and media was and still is for the most part uninformed about the purposeful distinctions inherent between the two types of ships. For the Daily Mail to infer that USS America as a ship should be compared to other countries carriers, simply due to her size is a case in point where the author of the article knows not of what he or she is writing about.

I’ll sleep well tonight, knowing USS America, with her sailors who are serving America is projecting Sea Power in or near the South China Sea. Go America!