The Saratoga’s bow cut through the black water, leaving a luminescent trail in her wake as she moved through the darkness in the early hours of 26 January 1929. The big flattop was steaming north in the tranquil waters of the Gulf of Panama at 26 knots. Seventy planes stood silently on her 888-foot flight deck waiting for the signal to start engines. On her flag bridge, standing in the cool night air, was Rear Admiral Joseph Mason Reeves, the commander of Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet.
The Aircraft Carrier Comes of Age
Shaping and steering the first U.S. carrier task force, “Bull” Reeves demonstrated the potential, and the punching power, of naval aviation.
By Thomas Wildenberg