In 2002, Jason McDonald began an extraordinary project to document the experiences of American sailors who served on Independence class light carriers in World War II and Korea.
In 1939, Admiral John McCain argued for the creation of light carriers, since the Essex class fleet carriers were expected to take four years to build. With dozens of Cleveland class light cruisers planned for construction, nine were selected conversion to light carriers. New York Shipbuilding in Camden, New Jersey built all nine ships.
From 2002-2005, McDonald and cinematographer Tansal Arnas conducted 125 hours of interviews with over 90 veterans of all nine ships and USS Saipan, a post-war light carrier built on a Baltimore class heavy cruiser. McDonald is grateful for the support of the many museums and institutions that have supported the project.
On these pages are samples of 83 of the interviews conducted. If fundraising is successful, we plan to offer an iPad app with edited documentaries about combat, life aboard ship, crossing the Equator, and others.