Please report any broken links or trouble you might come across to the Webmaster. Please take a moment to let us know so that we can correct any problems and make your visit as enjoyable and as informative as possible.

NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive

Patch at left courtesy of CAPT Gene Oleson, CHC, USN (Ret) (
Patch at right contributed by Mike Smolinski.

(later CV-66)

Click On Image 
For Full Size Image
Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
CV-66 America + DDG-46

An aerial starboard view of the guided missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG-46) and the aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66) underway. Judging from ships' equipment and apparent Air Wing composition, this picture was most likely taken on 14 April 1981, as America and Preble departed Norfolk, Virginia, on a seven-month deployment to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.

US Navy photo, available from as DN-SC-87-08416.

Bill Gonyo
Robert M. Cieri
CV-66 America

Aircraft and crewmen on the forward flight deck of USS America (CV-66) as the ship heads south through the Suez Canal, 6 May 1981. America was the first US carrier to transit the Canal since Intrepid (CVS-11) did so in June 1967, just prior to the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War.

This was Carrier Air Wing Eleven's (CVW-11) second and last deployment aboard America. Among the aircraft visible on this photo are A-7E Corsair IIs (VA-192 "Golden Dragons" and VA-195 "Dam Busters"), A-6E Intruders (VA-95 "Green Lizards") and one S-3A Viking (VS-33 "Screwbirds").

US Navy photo by PH1 Jim Preston (DVIC id: DNST8201721).

Defense Visual Information Center
CV-66 America

An aerial port quarter view of the aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66) after her transit through the Suez Canal, 6 May 1981. US Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Robert Bunge (DVIC id: DNST8405063).

Defense Visual Information Center
CV-66 America

An aerial stern view of USS America (CV-66) and USNS Navasota (T-AO 106) during an underway replenishment operation in the Indian Ocean, June 1981.

US Navy photo by PH2 Collins (DVIC id: DNSC8507724).

Defense Visual Information Center
CV-66 America

Wonderful overhead view of America in the Suez Canal, 21 October 1981, at the completion of a deployment in the Indian Ocean. This transit, however, proved to be more tense than the southward one, 5 1/2 months earlier (see above), owing to the fact that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat had been assassinated on 6 October.

US Navy photo by PH2 Thorsvik (DVIC id: DNST8208141).

Defense Visual Information Center
CV-66 America

An F-14A Tomcat assigned to VF-102 "Diamondbacks" taking off from USS America (CV-66), probably in the early 1980s. Photo from The American Fighter, by Enzo Angelucci.

Robert Hurst
CV-66 America

A left underside view of an F-14A Tomcat from USS America (CV-66) escorting a Soviet Tu-95 Bear D reconnaissance aircraft away from the exercise Northern Wedding '82 task force, over the Atlantic Ocean, September 12, 1982.

US Navy photo (DVIC id: DM-SN-83-02047).

Defense Visual Information Center
CV-66 America

USS America under way in the Med in 82 or 83. Photographer is Mario Mederos, H-46 crewchief from HMM-263.

Pete Harlem
CV-66 America
103k A VA-34 "Blue Blasters" A-6E Intruder is moved onto a bow cat. Sometime in 1982. Photo by PH2 Bunge. Robert Bunge, PHAN-PH2, USS America
CV-66 America
40k USS America Battle Group, Indian Ocean, 1983. Photo by PH2 Bunge. Robert Bunge, PHAN-PH2, USS America
CV-66 America
62k USS America in Indian Ocean, 1983 (see below). Photo by PH2 Bunge. Robert Bunge, PHAN-PH2, USS America
CV-66 America

A bow view of USS America (CV-66) underway in the Indian Ocean, April 21, 1983, as 16 aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW-1) fly overhead.

Omar Rubido, former member of the Armada Española
CV-66 America
69k An aerial port bow view of the aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66) underway in the Indian Ocean, 24 April 1983. Photo by PH2 Bunge. Alex Tatchin
CV-66 America

An aerial port bow view of the aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66) underway in the Indian Ocean, 24 April 1983. US Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Robert D. Bunge (# 050420-N-0000X-001).

Chester Morris
CV-66 America

An aerial bow view of the aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66) underway in the Indian Ocean, 24 April 1983. US Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Robert D. Bunge (# 050420-N-0000X-002).

Chester Morris

50k On a visit to Málaga (Spain) May 21 1983 © Juan Ternero

108k Coming alongside Málaga (Spain) May 21 1983 © Juan Ternero

79k At anchor Málaga (Spain) May 21 1983 © Juan Ternero

80k On board shot showing the F-14's she operated in May of 1983 © Juan Ternero
CV-66 America
85k Dry docked at Portsmouth, 1983. Photo by PH2 Bunge. Robert Bunge, PHAN-PH2, USS America
CV-66 America
98k F-14A Tomcats assigned to VF-33 "Starfighters" and VF-102 "Diamondbacks" lined up on the waist. Sometime in 1984. Photo by PH2 Bunge. Robert Bunge, PHAN-PH2, USS America


USS America at Norfolk, August 1985.

Note stem-mounted anchor, required by a big sonar dome in the forefoot. America and John F. Kennedy had bow sonar domes, though only America had sonar actually installed; the set (a low frequency SQS-23) was removed in late 1981.

© AMS3 Rick Rowan


USS America at Norfolk, August 1985.

Note the red-and-white painted "Belknap pole," a navigational aid now used on all carriers and designed after the tragic collision of the guided-missile cruiser USS Belknap (CG-26) with the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) in 1975.

© AMS3 Rick Rowan


A starboard beam view of the aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66) at Vestfjord, Norway, September 1985. America was participating in NATO exercise Ocean Safari '85, and in the process became the first U.S. aircraft carrier to operate inside a Norwegian fjord.

U.S. Navy photo by PHAN Meore. Available from as # DN-SC-86-03144.

Robert M. Cieri


An elevated beam view of the aircraft carriers (front to back) USS America (CV-66), USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) moored at piers No. 11 and 12, Naval Station Norfolk, VA, sometime between October 18th and 26th, 1985.

America returned from Exercise Ocean Safari on 9 October, and Nassau (LHA-4), readily visible in the background, on 12 October. John F. Kennedy arrived in Norfolk on 18 October, after post-overhaul trials and a visit to Fort Lauderdale, FL. Nimitz arrived from the Med on 4 October. Dwight D. Eisenhower had returned from the Caribbean on 22 August and began a COH at Newport News on 26 October.

U.S. Navy photo, available from as # DN-SC-86-02405.

Robert M. Cieri


The catapult crew of the aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66) are shrouded in smoke from the catapults, while [three] F-14A Tomcats [from VF-33 "Starfighters" and VF-102 "Diamondbacks"] await their turn for launching. Photo US DoD.

Photo and text from Carriers: The Men and The Machines, by David Miller and Lindsay Peacock.

Location unknown. Date unknown (most likely mid- to late-1980s).

Robert Hurst

91k Benidorm, Spain, July 1986, three months after Operation Eldorado Canyon (attacks on terrorist-related targets in Libya).

Photos © Robert Leslie



This photo (top) has been widely circulated and discussed. Many have questioned its authenticity. It is usually said that "this is an actual fly-by during deployment of the Nuclear Aircraft Carrier USS Stennis. The pilot was grounded for 30 days, but he likes the picture and thinks it was worth it. Yikes!"

In fact, the photo is real, but the usual caption is totally wrong. The aircraft carrier is USS America and the photo was taken in 1988, when construction of John C. Stennis had not yet begun. The pilot was CDR Dale O. Snodgrass, and he was not grounded.

Retired Captain Snodgrass wrote in 1998: "I am amazed that after nine years this photo is being scrutinized with such fervor. The photo is in fact real. It was taken during a dependent's day airshow aboard the USS America in the summer of 1988. I was Executive Officer of VF-33, the Captain of the America was JJ Coonan. It was of my opening pass in the F-14 demo. [...] This photo indeed has a surrealistic quality. I believe it is due to the focal length of the camera used. There is no doubt that this pass was an aggressive low level maneuver, however, it was briefed to the Airwing Commander who happened to be Captain JL Johnson. Currently he is the Chief of Naval Operations. In fact the officer standing on the flight [deck] with his hands behind his back adjacent the LSO platform is CNO."

The photos were taken by Sean E. Dunn, who served aboard America from May 1987 to December 1989. Visit Sean's web site to read his story and see more photos from that day.

Jack Treutle

89k © Sean E. Dunn, used with permission
CV-66 America

Air-to-air right side view of two F-14A Tomcats from Fighter Squadron (VF) 33 "Starfighters" over the coast of Puerto Rico, during training prior to a deployment aboard USS America (CV-66). Photo dated 1 April 1990, taken by LCDR K.P. Neubauer; available from, id. DN-SC-92-04334.

Robert Hurst
CV-66 America

9-photo series of USS America (CV-66) underway "in the Persian Gulf," possibly in 1990–91.

Gerd Matthes, Germany
CV-66 America
CV-66 America
CV-66 America
CV-66 America
CV-66 America
CV-66 America
CV-66 America
CV-66 America
CV-66 America

View of the flight deck during Operation Desert Shield, January 1991, in the Suez Canal.

Photo by Matthew Trujillo, ISSN, Ops. Dept. at the time
CV-66 America

An F-14A Tomcat lands aboard USS America (CV-66) during Operation Desert Shield.

Photo by Matthew Trujillo, ISSN, Ops. Dept. at the time
CV-66 America

A view of the flight deck of USS America (CV-66) getting ready to start the first flight ops of the war (Operation Desert Storm, January 1991) from the ship.

Photo by Matthew Trujillo, ISSN, Ops. Dept. at the time


At anchor in Málaga, Spain, 23rd January 1994.

© Daniel Ferro


On 13 September [1994], less than two weeks after leaving the shipyard, America was in the Atlantic heading for Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy. As the world focused on the situation in Haiti, America carried not her normal air wing, but elements of the Joint Special Operations Command and helicopters of the 160th Army Special Aviation Regiment. Arriving at VooDoo Station on 17 September, word was received the next day to execute the planned invasion of Haiti that evening. However 45 minutes after being issued, the order was cancelled by President Clinton.

For the next 30 days, America experienced possibly the most unique situation in her history. More than 2,000 Army, Air force and Marine Corps special forces troops, and helicopters, melded together. During the ensuing month, 400 sorties were launched with a 96% completion rate. Released on 18 October, America was back in familiar Norfolk four days later.

160th SOAR (Abn)

("Nightstalkers Don't Quit")


NS Norfolk, VA, June 1995, as seen from USS George Washington (CVN-73).

Wendell Royce McLaughlin Jr


A starboard bow view of USS America (CV-66) returning to Hampton Roads from sea, 19 August 1995, after Hurricane Felix departed the area. The aircraft carrier was preparing to deploy to the Mediterranean and upon her return to the States, she would be decommissioned. Photo by Don S. Montgomery, USN (Ret.)

(Photo available from, id.: DN-SC-95-02264).

Robert M. Cieri


Valletta, Malta, January 23, 1996 — Tug boats assist the U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66), as she enters the capital city of Valletta, Malta, located in the central Mediterranean. USS America enjoyed a well deserved six-day port visit in this historic city, following continuous operations off the Bosnian coast in the Adriatic Sea. This port visit was special since a U.S. Navy carrier had not visited this historical port in over twenty five years. America and elements of her battle group had been operating in the central Mediterranean in support of NATO peace keeping operation Joint Endeavor. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Michael Flinn (# 960123-N-0000F-001).

Bill Gonyo


The crew of the USS America (CV-66) man the rails as tugboats push the ship to the pier in Norfolk, Va., ending a six-month Mediterranean Sea deployment on February 24, 1996. Additionally, the America Battle Group operated in the Adriatic Sea in support of the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina for Operation Joint Endeavor. This was the last deployment for the USS America which was decommissioned on August 9, 1996. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Rosser, U.S. Navy (# 960224-N-6240R-005).



Aerial stern view of the aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66) as the ship completes mooring at pier #12, Naval Station Norfolk, Va., 24 February 1996.

The ship had just returned from her final Mediterranean deployment and was scheduled for decommissioning later that year.

U.S. Navy photo by Robert J. Sitar, available from, id. DN-SC-97-00627.

Robert M. Cieri


The crew of the aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66) marches down the gangway for the last time as their ship is decommissioned in ceremonies at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va., on August 9, 1996. America returned from her last deployment February 24; her squadrons flew 250 combat missions over the skies of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The "Nation's Flagship" and crew also distinguished themselves during Operation Desert Storm: America was the only carrier to launch strikes against Iraqi targets from both sides of the Arabian Peninsula: Red Sea and Persian Gulf. The aircraft carrier was commissioned January 23, 1965, at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. During her second deployment, America assisted with the rescue and medical treatment of crew members from the technical research ship USS Liberty (AGTR-5) after she was attacked by Israeli torpedo boats and jet fighters, June 8, 1967. America also completed three deployments to "Station" off the coast of Vietnam, where she spent as many as 112 consecutive days on station. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Benjamin D. Olvey, U.S. Navy (# 960809-N-4004O-005).

Ex-USS America


Digital Ortho-Quadrangle (digitized and ortho-rectified aerial photograph) of ex-USS America and other inactive ships, NISMF Philadelphia, 24 April 1999.

Image courtesy of the US Geological Survey.

Submitted by Greg Stewart.
Ex-CV 66 America

Ex-USS America (CV-66) at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in November 1999. Behind America is the battleship ex-USS New Jersey (BB-62), which had just arrived from Bremerton, Washington (Author's Collection).

From Warship Boneyards, by Kit and Carolyn Bonner.

Submitted by Robert Hurst.


Ex-USS America at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 31 August 2002.

Roy J. Brooks

(formerly FC1(SW), USN)


Ex-USS America seen from the window of a commercial flight on January 14, 2004 about 4:43PM.

© Thomas V. Hoffmann


Ex-USS America being towed out to the SinkEX operations, seen as she left Philadelphia.

The decommissioned aircraft carrier departed the Navy’s Inactive Fleet Facility April 19, 2005 for her final and vital mission as a live-fire test and evaluation, and weapons effect platform for the next generation aircraft carrier.

Photos by Cam Massara, Metro Machine Corp., Philadelphia.

Submitted by Jon White, Sailor of the USS Luce (DDG-38)




Atlantic Ocean, May 14, 2005 — The decommissioned aircraft carrier, ex-USS America (CV-66) was "laid to rest" after being sunk at sea. America was the target of a series of tests designed to test new defense and damage control systems for the CVN-21 program. The conventionally-powered carrier left active service in 1996. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Michael Sandberg (# 050514-N-4374S-096).

Chester Morris
CV-66 America
62k Model of USS America. Courtesy of Joel Rosen, Motion Models
CVA-66 America
71k Launching of America (CVA-66), 1 February 1964, Newport News, Virginia. Postal cover signed by Mrs. David L. McDonald (ship's sponsor and wife of the Chief of Naval Operations) and Paul Nitze (Secretary of the Navy and principal speaker). S. Dale Hargrave
CVA-66 America

Postcard showing USS America (CVA-66) underway in the early 1970s.

Omar Rubido, former member of the Armada Española

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Photo Index
Aircraft Carrier
Photo Index Page

Comments, Suggestions or Image submissions, E-mail Carrier Information
Problems and site related matters, E-mail Webmaster

This page was created by Timothy Dike and is maintained by Fabio Peña
All pages copyright NavSource Naval History

Last update: 10 August 2014