CVA-59 was named after James Vincent Forrestal (1892-1949). He became the first Under Secretary of the Navy in August 1940, charged with building the world's largest Fleet. His brilliant work in procurement and production led to his appointment as the 48th Secretary of the Navy in May 1944. Forrestal carried out this new assignment with such distinction that he was the natural choice as the first Secretary of Defense, a position to which he was appointed in September 1947, and in which he continued outstanding service to the Nation, until he resigned in March 1949. He had served in the US Navy as a naval aviator during World War I.