On July 12, 1951, the Navy announced that the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company had been awarded a contract to build CVA-59. This ship, the first carrier to be designed in this country since the end of World War II, was launched on December 11, 1954, and was christened the United States Ship Forrestal by Mrs. James Forrestal, in honor of her husband, the first Secretary of Defense.
Why was it necessary to build this warship? Most navy men are familiar with the vital role played by the carrier task forces in the Pacific campaigns of World War II. They know also of the important contribution made by these same aircraft carriers during the Korean action. The reason why it was necessary to build an attack aircraft carrier of the size and with the special characteristics of the Forrestal is not, however, nearly so well appreciated.