But who could resist the potential for air supremacy at sea? On March 20, 1922, the U.S. Navy took a big step in that direction when it commissioned the USS Langley as its very first aircraft carrier, with the designation CV-1. This photo is from October of that year, when flight operations began to and from the Langley. (Judging by the silhouette of the aircraft, it could be a Vought VE7-SF, the first plane to take off from the Langley.)
In the 1920s, "Langley was the platform from which Naval Aviators, guided by Captain Joseph M. Reeves, undertook the development of carrier operating techniques and tactics that were essential to victory in World War II," writes the Naval Historical Center.
The Langley was about 542 feet long and had a beam of 65 feet. It carried a crew of 468 and could move along at 15 knots.
This photo shows the Langley being abandoned that day.
This photo shows Ely's landmark takeoff.