U.S. Navy - A Brief History of Aircraft Carriers, Part V

The Carriers header
A Brief History of U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers
Part V - Space and Vietnam

Sources: United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1970 [NAVAIR 00-80P-1]
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

All images below are hyperlinked to larger images for better viewing.
All images are official Navy photographs, unless otherwise noted.

picture, caption follows   May 1, 1960 - USS Tarawa (CVS 40) decommissioned and placed in reserve at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She was struck from the Navy List on Jun. 1, 1967, and sold for scrap to the Boston Metals Corp., Baltimore, Md., Oct. 3, 1968.
  Dec. 22, 1960 - Fire broke out on the hangar deck of Constellation (CVA 64) in the last stages of construction at the New York Naval Shipyard. Fifty civilian workers died in the blaze.
picture, caption follows   Apr. 29, 1961 - USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63), equipped with Terrier anti-air missiles, and the first of a new class of aircraft carriers, was commissioned at Philadelphia, Capt. William F. Bringle, commanding.
picture, caption follows   May 5, 1961 - USS Lake Champlain (CVA 39) recovered Cmdr. Alan B. Shepard, the first American to go into space as he completed his Freedom 7 flight. Cmdr. Shephard's flight was 116 miles in altitude and 302 miles down range. The recovery was made by Marine Corps Squadron HMR(L)-262.
picture, caption follows   Jul. 21, 1961 - USS Randolph (CVA 15) recovered Capt. Virgil I. Grissom, USAF, the second American in space, following a 118 mile high flight 303 miles down the Atlantic Missile Range.
picture, caption follows   Jul. 25, 1961 - USS Valley Forge (LPH 8) reclassified as an amphibious assault ship after being converted from an aircraft carrier (CVS 45) at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
picture, caption follows   Oct. 27, 1961 - USS Constellation (CVA 64) commissioned, Capt. T. J. Walker in command.
picture, caption follows   Nov. 25, 1961 - USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) commissioned in Newport News, Va., Capt. Vincent P. DePoix commanding.
picture, caption follows   Dec. 14, 1961 - Installation of Pilot Landing Aid Television system (PLAT) on USS Coral Sea (CVA 43), the first carrier to have it installed for operational use. The system was designed to provide a videotape of every landing and was useful for instruction as well as being a very valuable tool in the analysis of landing accidents. By early 1963, all attack carriers were so equipped.
picture, caption follows   May 24, 1962 - Astronaut Lieut. Cmdr. M. Scott Carpenter was picked up by a helicopter from USS Intrepid (CVS 11) following completing three orbits of the earth in his Aurora 7 capsule. His was the second orbital flight.
picture, caption follows   Oct. 3, 1962 - Cmdr. Walter M. Schirra , in his Sigma 7 space capsule, was recovered in the Pacific after six orbits, 275 miles northeast of Midway, by USS Kearsarge (CVS 33).
  Oct. 24, 1962 - USS Enterprise (CVAN 65), USS Independence (CVA 62), USS Essex (CVS 9), and USS Randolph (CVS 15) took position as part of the Naval Quarantine of Cuba, as imposed by order of President John F. Kennedy following the discovery of offensive nuclear missile on the island of Cuba, placed there by the Soviet Union.
picture, caption follows   Dec. 19, 1962 - An E-2A, piloted by Lieut. Cmdr. Lee R. Ramsey, was catapulted off USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) in the first shipboard test of nose-tow gear designed to replace the catapult bridle and reduce launching intervals. The new system also added to flight deck safety. Minutes later, the second nose-tow launch was made by an A-6A.
picture, caption follows   May 16, 1963 - USS Kearsarge (CVS 33) recovered Maj. L. Gordon Cooper, USAF, and his Faith 7 capsule following his 22-orbit flight.
picture, caption follows   Aug. 2, 1964 - Aircraft from USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) drove off North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats attacking the destroyer USS Maddox, patrolling international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin.
  Aug. 5, 1964 - On order from President Lyndon B. Johnson, aircraft from USS Constellation (CVA 64) and USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) attacked motor torpedo boats and their supporting facilities at five locations along the North Vietnam coast. In 64 attack sorties, these aircraft sank or seriously damaged 25 boats and destroyed a major part of their petroleum stores and storage facilities.
picture, caption follows   Oct. 1, 1964 - USS Franklin (ACT 8), shown here in 1944, formerly CVS, CVA, and CV 13, was stricken from the Navy Register.
  Oct. 3, 1964 - USS Enterprise (CVAN 65), along with USS Long Beach and USS Bainbridge, complete Operation Sea Orbit. The task force was the world's first composed of solely nuclear-powered ships. The ships circumnavigated the globe in 65 days without taking on either fuel or provisions.
picture, caption follows   Jan. 23, 1965 - USS America (CVA 66) commissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Capt. Lawrence Heyworth, Jr., in command. The ship was laid down on 1 Jan. 1961 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Corp. and launched on 1 Feb. 1964.
picture, caption follows   Mar. 23, 1965 - USS Intrepid (CVS 11) recovered astronauts Maj. Virgil Grissom and Lieut. Cmdr. John Young following their Gemini 3 space flight, history's first controlled re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.
  Apr. 27, 1965 - As revolt in the Dominican Republic threatened the safety of American nationals, USS Boxer (LPH 4) began an airlift in which over 1,000 men, women and children were evacuated to Navy ships standing off shore.
picture, caption follows   Aug. 29, 1965 - USS Lake Champlain (CVS 39) recovers astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad after their Gemini 5 splashed down in the Atlantic after a record-breaking eight-day space flight.
picture, caption follows   May 2, 1966 - USS Lake Champlain (CVS 39) decommissioned at Philadelphia.
picture, caption follows   Jun. 29, 1966 - Forty-six planes from USS Constellation (CVA 64) and USS Ranger (CVA 61) strike oil storage plants on the outskirts of Hanoi and Haiphong, beginning a campaign to cripple the North Vietnamese petroleum and oil storage and distribution system.
picture, caption follows   Oct. 26, 1966 - Fire broke out on the hangar of USS Oriskany (CVA 34) as the ship operated in the South China Sea off Vietnam. The fire was caused by a parachute flare igniting. Forty-four officers and men were lost, but the crew prevented even greater damage and loss of life.
picture, caption follows   Jul. 29, 1967 - Fire broke out on the flight deck of USS Forrestal (CV 59) as aircraft were being readied for launch over Vietnam. Flames engulfed the fantail and spread below decks touching off bombs and ammunition. The fires burned for eight hours until heroic efforts of crew members brought them under control. Damage to aircraft and the ship was severe. The final casualty count was 132 dead, two missing and presumed dead, and 62 injured.
  Sept. 7, 1968 - USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) commissioned at the Norfolk Naval Base. Named for the 35th President of the United States, the ship's keel was laid Oct. 22, 1964, at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.
  Jan. 14, 1969 - A fire aboard USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) resulting from the detonation of a MK-32 Zuni rocket warhead overheated by exhaust from an aircraft starting unit, took 27 lives, injured 34, and destroyed 15 aircraft.
picture, caption follows   Feb. 13, 1969 - USS Randolph (CVS 15) decommissioned and placed in the Reserve Fleet.
picture, caption follows   Jun. 30, 1969 - USS Essex (CVS 9) decommissioned and placed in the Reserve Fleet.

Last Update: 15 June 2009