Let’s take a look at one event which took place in November in aviation history. On November 26th, 1924 Lt. Dixie Keifer made history when he completed the first ever catapult launch in a Vought UO-1 from the USS California in San Diego harbor. – Read More (Link to blog post)
The Vought OU-1 was used as an observation plane and was in service on many of the battleships of its day. The Vought was originally designed as a sea plane, but with the addition of rear landing gear in place of its central float became known as a convertible aircraft. The Vought UO-1 was first flown in 1922 and it was equipped with an Aeromarine U-873 engine. It had a very brief career with the US Navy and was soon replaced with the more powerful 2 seat version known as UO-2. Thus ending the UO-1’s service
The USS California, however, spent much of it’s time prior to the war as the flagship of the US Navy’s battle fleet in the pacific conducting many peacetime operations and good will missions. It had it’s maiden voyage in November of 1919 and was officially commissioned in August of 1920.
In 1941 it was moored in Pearl Harbor during the attack by the Japanese. It suffered significant damage from 2 torpedoes and dive bomb attacks. That however was not what finally sunk the mighty ship. It was a fire which took out the pumps which removed water from the lower decks which finally took the ship down. It took a full three days for the ship to be finally lost beneath the waves. In April of 1942 the ship was raised and the extensive repairs were done to bring this ship back to life. In 1944 the USS California was returned to service and entered back into the pacific theater of the war. After the war it was returned to Philadelphia where it remained in the US Navy’s inventory until 1959.