One Hundred Years of U.S. Aircraft Carriers

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Program Type:

Arts & Crafts

Age Group:

Adult , Senior

Program Description

Event Details

The United States Navy is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the aircraft carrier in 2022. The legacy of the aircraft carrier over the past century is one of innovation, evolution and dominance. Since the 1940s, the Navy’s ability to project power and deter aggression around the world has been built around the aircraft carrier task force. This presentation by Capt. Ralph “Rafe” Arnott, USN (ret) and U.S.S. Midway volunteer, will illuminate the development and the continuing evolution of the aircraft carrier since 1922. 


Capt. Ralph “Rafe” Arnott  USN (ret), received his Navy Wings in March of 1970 and then reported to Naval Air Station Lemoore, CA for training in the A-7 Corsair II aircraft. He made two combat deployments to Vietnam completing over 200 combat missions flying from the USS Oriskany as a member of Attack Squadron 155. He was stationed at NAS Lemoore on and off over the next 20 years in various squadrons, the last as Commanding Officer of VA-146 making an around-the-world deployment on USS Kitty Hawk.  While assigned as ships’ company on USS Ranger, he worked in the Combat Information Center, and also qualified as Officer-of-the-Deck underway. During a carrier overhaul in Bremerton, WA, he met and married his wife, Susan.

Shore assignments included: Naval War College in Newport, RI, where he also received a Masters’ Degree in International Relations; Yokosuka, Japan, on the staff of Commander Seventh Fleet embarked in USS Blue Ridge; and The Pentagon in Washington, D.C.  His last assignment was as Chief-of-Staff, Commander Strike Fighter Wing Pacific, NAS Lemoore, where he retired from the Navy in October 1993.

After providing training support for the F/A-18 aircraft for two years, he was hired by FedEx and spent the next 15 years flying from Memphis, TN to most every state in the union. He retired upon reaching the mandatory retirement age at FedEx in July 2011 as a B-727 Captain.  He then began volunteering at the USS Midway Museum as a docent and is a member of the Midway Speakers Bureau.