Beginning in World War I, the U.S. Navy operated floatplanes from battleships and cruisers—and from a few destroyers and a submarine. Destroyers originally were developed in the late 1800s as torpedo boat destroyers, but by the World War II era, they had evolved into multirole ships. Among those roles was screening and scouting for the battle fleet; for the latter task, aircraft could provide valuable assistance.
The USS Noa (DD-343), completed in 1919, was one of several hundred flush-deck, four-stack destroyers built by the U.S. Navy during and just after World War I. They were the backbone of the U.S. destroyer force during the 1920s and 1930s, and many were in action in World War II. The Noa was decommissioned in 1934 and placed in reserve in Philadelphia.