Pearl Harbor marked a turning point for the US Navy. Before December 7, 1941, the battleship was the premier vessel; afterwards, its place was taken by the aircraft carrier.The pride of the Pacific fleet during World War II were the Essex class aircraft carriers. At over 800 feet long and with a displacement of 27,000 tons, these massive ships were able to launch hundreds of aircraft against the enemy, and they did so time and again, with devastating results. But they were vulnerable despite their size, and the Japanese launched repeated kamikaze attacks aimed at detonating the tens of thousands of gallons of highly-volatile aircraft fuel they carried. Despite several direct hits, not one Essex carrier was lost to these suicide attacks. Using a wealth of archival footage, much of it in color, THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER goes into battle and below decks with the Essex carriers, showing what it was like to serve aboard these floating cities during the greatest conflict in mankind's history.