The plot of the film revolves around the life of seamen on board an anonymous aircraft carrier. Because of war time restrictions, the name of the aircraft carrier was disguised as “the Fighting Lady”, although she was later identified as USS Yorktown (CV-10). (“Fighting Lady” was the known moniker of the Yorktown, just as “Lady Lex” for Lexington, “The Big E” for Enterprise, etc…) A few shots of aircraft landing were filmed aboard the Yorktown’s sister ship USS Ticonderoga.
Frequently mentioned is the adage that war is 99% waiting. The first half or so of the film is taken up with examining the mundane details of life on board the aircraft carrier as she sails through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific Ocean, finally seeing action at Marcus Island (attacked in 1943). The film provides aerial views of a series of airstrikes at Japanese bases in the Pacific theatre.
Following an attack on Kwajalein in early 1944, intelligence reports that an armada of Japanese ships is massing near Truk, a major Japanese logistical base in the Carolines. The Fighting Lady and some of her task force are sent on a “hit and run” mission to neutralize it and return to Marcus, but not to attempt a landing.
Once the ship returns from the massive, two-day Truk raid, it is then sent to the waters off the Marianas and participates in the famous “Marianas Turkey Shoot”.
At the very end some of the servicemen who appeared in the film are reintroduced to us, and the narrator informs us that they have died in battle.
US Navy / Public domain