In the letter, Mr. Hawley refers to a diagram published some time ago showing the size of the U. S. fleet in the Atlantic. Mr. Hawley takes exception, and he should know. Here is the "dope" on active aircraft carriers, battleships and cruisers:
Norfolk, Va., Feb. 9, 1948
The truth of the matter is, we have three heavy, or battle
carriers now in commission. They are the CVB's "F.D. Roosevelt,"
"Coral Sea," and "Midway," all of 45,000
At present the "Roosevelt" is here in the yard undergoing some alternations but is still in commission and will remain so. In addition to these three heavy jobs we have several of the "Essex" type carriers of 27,000 tons or more displacement. They are not small jobs either, as they can carry 110 planes. I know, as I spent five months on the Leyte last year. It was during maneuvers and the Mediterranean cruise. There are the Leyte, Philippine Sea, Sicily, Valley Forge and some others, the names of which I cannot recall at this time. These facts are known here on the east coast, and we see items about it in the local papers every few days.
I realized that our navy has necessarily been greatly reduced in size, but the policy at the present time is to stress quality rather than quantity and to spend a rather high percentage of naval appropriations on research. It is true that the larger per cent of our active carriers are still equipped with war-time fighter and bomber planes, and an increasing number is being reequipped with new models developed or produced since the war.
As an example, the latest carrier fighter plane is the Grumman F8F or "Bearcat," and the one-man dive-bomber and torpedo plane, the AD-1, by Douglass.
I am attached to a service unit that maintains these planes when they are shore-based, as they all are when the ship is in port for any length of time. The ships I spoke of are in the Atlantic fleet air force. We have a comparable number in the Pacific fleet, but I am not familiar with the exact number and types. However, I will say that we have only two battleships, now in commission, the Missouri (Big Mo), in the Atlantic and the New Jersey or Iowa in the Pacific. Battleships are not the basic units of a fleet anymore. They have been replaced by the larger carrier.
Excuse this paper, Bill, as it was all I could find on the spur of the moment, but I just had to put in my two-cents worth when I read that item. The Times keeps us in contact with the home-folks, so keep it coming. Best of luck to you and yours.
Elmer E. Hawley
P.S. In case anyone is interested, my military address is: E. E. Hawley, ACETM, Fasron No. 3, M4A Div., Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Va.