Only the very best officers are given command of U.S. Navy ships, and only the elite of these are selected for command of aircraft carriers. The USS America was the third of four Kitty Hawk-class super-carriers. Commissioned in 1965 and decommissioned in 1996, she served in many conflicts, cruising three times to Vietnam, and once each to Libya, the Persian Gulf and Bosnia. This book profiles the 23 men who commanded the America and her crew of 5,000 during 31 years of service. Most of them were combat veterans who served during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Mayaguez Rescue Operations, Lebanon, Haiti, Libya, Bosnia, and Desert Storm. Four were Naval Academy graduates; seven were test pilots; one became Inspector General of the Navy; one wore both Navy wings and submariner dolphins; and one was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for nearly six years. Two retired as admirals - one of these was Chief of Naval Operations - five as vice admirals, and 11 as rear admirals. Each profile gives a full career account based on official biographies, published memoirs, and interviews with the commanding officers or their families.
The late James E. Wise, Jr, a retired Navy captain in Alexandria, Virginia, wrote many books on history and the performing arts. Scott Baron, a US Army veteran of the Vietnam War and former law enforcement officer teaches US History in Salinas, California.