A history of the enduring Essex-class ships, the US Navy's finest and most numerous fleet carrier during World War II, which were modernized repeatedly and served with distinction.
The Essex class was the USN's war-winning ship class of the Pacific War. Of the 24 ships completed, 14 saw action, making the Essex class the largest class of fleet aircraft carriers ever built. These ships had a fine balance of striking power, protection, and speed and were modernized during and after the war. There were five distinct programs carried out, adding not only angled flight decks for jet operations, but repeated upgrades to sensors, weapons, and equipment.