The USS Forrestal was called the World's First Super Aircraft Carrier. In 1951, the Navy awarded the contract to build the vessel to Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. of Newport News, Virginia. It was named in honor of James Vincent Forrestal who had served as the first Secretary of Defense, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Navy.
The USS Forrestal was 1,039 feet long and displaced about 60,000 tons of water. The Forrestal had an angled flight deck, which allowed for aircraft to take off and land simultaneously. To launch the heavier jets, it had four steam-powered catapults.
The USS Forrestal was in service for about 38 years. During that time, it was part of the Suez crisis of 1956, the Lebanon crisis of 1958, and Vietnam. It was used in the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Aegean Sea. During its service, the vessel logged about 400,000 nautical miles and was manned in total by about 130,000 men and women.
The vessel was initially classified as a CVA-59, an Attack Aircraft Carrier, but that status was updated in 1975 to a CV-59, a Multi-purpose Aircraft Carrier. When the USS Forrestal was no longer used for combat, it provided medical, rescue and humanitarian assistance.