The most mysterious and indeed mythical ship in the U.S. Navy never sailed and was never completed, commissioned, or crewed. Her history is fraught with controversy, misunderstanding, and misperceptions. Yet, for all this, the aircraft carrier United States (CVA-58) is an important inflection point in the Navy’s history.
The controversy surrounding her cancellation just five days after her keel had been laid can best be understood by separating fact from fiction. The popular or prevalent understanding is that the United States was a big-deck carrier in the vein of the present-day Nimitz and Gerald R. Ford classes, as well as of the predecessor Forrestal, Kitty Hawk, John F. Kennedy, and Enterprise classes. But that is not fact.