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Sunk, Scrapped or Saved: The Fate of America’s Aircraft Carriers

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USS Constellation (CV-64). US Navy Photo

USS Constellation (CV-64). US Navy Photo

American aircraft carriers at their peak are the queens of the high seas, outclassing even America’s nearest peer competitors. They’re the anchors of U.S. seapower, and have a commensurate price tag, costing billions of dollars to build and thousands of sailors to man.

But even the proudest ships outlive their military usefulness — and sometimes they’re barely worth the trouble to tear them down.

USS Constellation (CV-64) will be the latest carrier to meet the scrappers. The Navy announced in July that it plans to pay International Shipbreaking, a company in Texas, $3 million to rip the vessel apart. According to the Kitsap Sun, the sea service decided it would cost too much to turn it into a museum, and no other countries were interested in buying the 1,073-foot, 61,981-ton vessel.

The “Connie” is receiving a fond send-off at ports along its journey, which Foss, the maritime company hired to drag Constellation to her last reward, is tracking through a blog. Many of her well wishers are sailors who served on the 53-year-old ship during the Vietnam War.

Constellation was deployed to the Tonkin Bay and her air wing flew reconnaissance missions over Laos in the 1960s and served off Vietnam repeatedly through the early 1970s. Later in life, she helped enforce the no-fly zone over Iraq in 1995. She hasn’t sailed since being mothballed in 2003.

USS Saratoga returns from Operation Desert Storm. US Navy Photo

USS Saratoga returns from Operation Desert Storm. US Navy Photo

The Navy sold USS Saratoga (CV-60) — another Vietnam-era non-nuclear carrier — in May for a single penny to ESCO Marine, which will tear it down and sell the scrap. Saratoga first set sail 58 years ago in 1955. She weighs in at 61,235 tons, according to public data from the Navy, and is 1,067 feet long.

Like the Constellation, some pondered turning Saratoga into a museum. USS Saratoga Museum Foundation took a run at having its namesake preserved, but, according to the group’s final newsletter in 2010, the Navy surprised it by taking CV-60 off donation status and offering the John F. Kennedy as a potential museum instead. The Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame has taken up the Kennedy project and is still in the process of getting approval.

Saratoga and Constellation are just the latest in a long line of decommissioned carriers, the first of which dates to the 1920s.

USS Langley (CV-1)

USS Langley (CV-1) in 1926. US Navy Photo

USS Langley (CV-1) in 1926. US Navy Photo

Langley was the first of its kind. Originally built as a “collier,” or coal-hauling ship, called USS Jupiter (AC-3), it was converted to a 19,670-ton, 542-foot carrier and re-designated CV-1 in 1920. As a carrier prototype, Langley was used for various experiments with the concept of naval aviation, and in 1922 a Vought VE-7SF Bluebird biplane with flotation gear was the first aircraft launched from her deck, according to the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. She survived until 27 February 1942, when she was severely damaged by Japanese dive-bombers and subsequently scuttled.

USS Lexington (CV-2)

USS Lexington (CV-2) in 1929. US Navy Photo

USS Lexington (CV-2) in 1929. US Navy Photo

The ship also started life as a different species of vessel—a battlecruiser. The Navy switched to building her as an aircraft carrier partway through construction in 1922 and launched the vessel in 1925. At 888 feet and 37,000 tons, she was designed to carry 78 aircraft. Lexington was one of the first ships to respond to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor by sending out planes to hunt for the Japanese fleet, according to an official Navy history. Six months later she was sunk by a Japanese torpedo at the Battle of Coral Sea.

USS Saratoga (CV-3)

USS Saratoga (CV-3). US Navy Photo

USS Saratoga (CV-3). US Navy Photo

The elder Saratoga was the Lexington’s sister ship, also converted into an aircraft carrier from a battlecruiser in 1922. Unlike her sister, however, she survived multiple hits from the Japanese in World War II. Her fatal encounter was with the U.S. military, when she was sunk as part of atomic bomb testing in the Bikini Atoll in July 1945. The initial “air burst” test did little damage, but a subsequent underwater bomb test did the ship in. Today she serves as an attraction for scuba divers.

USS Ranger (CV-4)

USS Ranger (CV-4) in 1944. US Navy Photo

USS Ranger (CV-4) in 1944. US Navy Photo

The ship was another of the lucky few early aircraft carriers to survive World War II. Launched in 1933, she was the first carrier built from the keel up instead of converted from another type of hull. She weighed 14,500 tons and was 769 feet long, and could carry up to 86 P-40 planes. In 1942, she helped launch the Allies’ North Africa campaign from the coast of Morocco, and later attacked German shipping vessels near Norway. For her efforts, she was sold to Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. for scrap in January 1947.

USS Yorktown (CV-5)

USS Yorktown (CV-5) damaged at the Battle of Midway. US Navy Photo

USS Yorktown (CV-5) damaged at the Battle of Midway. US Navy Photo

Yorktown was launched in 1936 with a fighting weight of 19,800 tons and length of 809 feet. Built to hold 90 aircraft. In January 1942, she fought in the Marshall-Gilberts raids, which were the first American offensive of World War II, but in June that year she was done in by Japanese torpedoes at the Battle of Midway, with a loss of 141 sailors.

USS Enterprise (CV-6)

USS Enterprise (CV-6). US Navy Photo

USS Enterprise (CV-6). US Navy Photo

Enterprise was the seventh ship to bear that name, but the first carrier. Commissioned in 1938, she bore the same dimensions and aircraft capacity as the Yorktown. In 1941, her scout planes arrived at Pearl Harbor to discover the bombing in progress. Three days later her aircraft sunk a Japanese submarine. She fought in the battles of Midway and Guadalcanal, surviving both, though emerging from the latter heavily damaged. After the war she became redundant. At first slated to become a permanent memorial, those plans were shelved in 1949 for lack of funding. Instead she was sold to the Lipsett Corp. for scrap metal; her teardown was completed in 1960.

USS Wasp (CV-7)

Wasp (CV-7) was commissioned in 1940. Smaller than the Yorktown class, she weighed 14,700 tons and measured 741 feet, but could carry up to 100 aircraft. She joined the initial assault on Guadalcanal in August 1942 and was sunk there by the Japanese the following month.

USS Hornet (CV-8)

USS Hornet during the battle of Santa Cruz. US Navy Photo

USS Hornet during the battle of Santa Cruz. US Navy Photo

The life of Yorktown-class carrier Hornet (CV-8) was a brief one. Commissioned just two months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, her first major mission was the carrier base for the Doolittle Raidthe Battle of Midway in June 1942. That October, she was fatally wounded at the Battle of Santa Cruz and sank off the Santa Cruz Islands. Like the other Yorktown carriers, she weighed 19,800 tons, measured 809 feet and carried up to 90 aircraft.

USS Essex (CV-9)

USS Essex (CV-9). US Navy Photo

USS Essex (CV-9). US Navy Photo

The eponymous lead of the 24-ship Essex carrier class, was commissioned in 1942, weighing in at 27,100 tons and measuring 872 feet. Made to hold between 90 and 100 aircraft and in 1945 launched attacks on Tokyo in anticipation of a major landing on the home islands, which never occurred. After the war she was renovated and recommissioned in 1951, then transformed into a submarine warfare support carrier in 1960. In 1975, Essex was sold for scrap.

USS Yorktown CV-10

USS Yorktown Museum. US Navy Photo

USS Yorktown Museum. US Navy Photo

Named after the deceased Yorktown—sunk at the Battle of Midway—the Yorktown was commissioned in April 1943. An Essex-class carrier and supported amphibious assaults on several Pacific islands held by the Japanese and participated in bombing the home islands near the end of the war. Surviving the war, she went on to participate in the Vietnam War. In 1974, the Navy donated her to Patriot’s Point Development Authority in South Carolina, which turned her into a museum. She was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. In 2012, the ship hosted the second annual Carrier Classic college basketball game.

USS Intrepid (CV-11)

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City

Commissioned in April 1943 as a member of the Essex line of carriers, the Intrepid. Her first campaign was the attack on the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, followed by the assault on the Philippines. In 1952, she was converted into a more modern carrier, according to the official Navy history of the ship, after which it participated in recovering astronauts from post-mission splashdowns and later fought in the Vietnam War. Despite initial plans that she be scrapped after her 1974 decommissioning, Intrepid was instead opened as the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City in 1982. She served as an FBI operations center after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

USS Hornet (CV-12)

USS Hornet (CV-12) practicing recovering the Apollo capsule.

USS Hornet (CV-12) practicing recovering the Apollo capsule.

Commissioned in 1943, the Hornet was named in the earlier Hornet‘s honor when the latter was sunk by the Japanese. Like her predecessors in the Essex line of carriers. She saw action in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. Hornet was the ship that recovered the Apollo 11 astronauts following the U.S. moon landing. The ship was mothballed in 1970. CV-12 was placed on the National Historic Landmark registry in 1991 and donated as a museum to the Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation in 1998. Several television episodes and films have since been shot on board, and she has received widespread media attention for alleged hauntings aboard.

USS Franklin (CV-13)
The Essex-class Franklin was commissioned in 1943. Steaming close to the Japanese mainland islands in 1945, she was struck by Japanese bombs and catastrophically wounded. Eight hundred sailors died in the ensuing conflagration, but the ship was saved. While technically active until 1964, she never took to the seas again after the war and in 1966 was sold to the Portsmouth Salvage Company.

USS Ticonderoga (CV-14)

Kamikaze crashes near USS_Ticonderoga (CV-14) in 1944. US Navy Photo

Kamikaze crashes near USS_Ticonderoga (CV-14) in 1944. US Navy Photo

The ship was commissioned in 1944. The same year she participated in the campaign against the Philippines and went on to assault the Japanese home islands in the final days of the war. Two decades later she played a role in the Gulf of Tonkin incident, launching aircraft to support the USS Maddox andUSS Turner Joy against alleged attacks by the North Vietnamese. An inspection in 1973 found that she was unfit for service. Ticonderoga was subsequently decommissioned and sold for scrap in 1975.

USS Randolph (CV-15)
Commissioned in October 1944, Randolph (CV-15) weighed 27,100 tons, was 888 feet long and held 90 to 100 planes. She participated in attacks on the Japanese home islands late in the Second World War, then ferried troops home from Europe in Operation Magic Carpet. She was decommissioned after a relatively uneventful postwar life in 1969. In 1975, Randolph was sold to Union Minerals and Alloys for $1.5 million and torn down for scrap.

USS Lexington (CV-16)

Undated photo of USS Lexington Museum By the Bay

Undated photo of USS Lexington Museum By the Bay

The ship was commissioned in 1943, was named for the ship lost in the Battle of Coral Sea while the former was under construction. She was built to weigh 27,100 tons and was 872 feet long, carrying up to 110 aircraft. CV-16 fought off the Philippines in World War II, then was decommissioned in 1947, but resurrected as an attack carrier in 1955. From 1969 to 1991 she served as a training ship. In 1992, after decommissioning, the Lexington was donated to become USS Lexington Museum on the Bay off Corpus Christi, Texas.

USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) was commissioned in 1943 and designed to carry 90 to 100 aircraft. Bunker Hill fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima and carried troops home from the Pacific in Operation Magic Carpet. Decommissioned in 1947, she was in mothballs until 1966, after which she was decommissioned, but still used as a stationary electronics test platform. She was sold for scrap to the Zidell Marine Corp. in 1973.

USS Wasp (CV-18) was commissioned in November 1943, weighing 27,100 tons and measuring 872 feet. Like most of the Essex class, she was designed to carry 90 to 100 aircraft. Before the end of the war, Wasp participated in Pacific island assaults and the attack on Okinawa. Wasp was decommissioned in 1972 and sold to the Union Minerals and Alloys Corp. in 1973 for scrap metal.

USS Hancock (CV-19) was commissioned at the tail end of World War II in April 1944. As an Essex-class ship, she weighed 27,100 tons and measured 888 feet, carrying 90 to 100 aircraft. Though her time fighting in the Pacific in World War II was brief, she lived long enough to see the end of the Vietnam War as well. In 1976 she was decommissioned, then sold for scrap and torn down the same year.

USS Bennington (CV-20) was commissioned in August 1944, weighing 27,100 tons and measuring 872 feet, and able to carry 90 to 100 planes. In 1970 she was decommissioned. In 1993, she was sold for scrap metal, then towed across the Pacific to India to be scrapped.

USS Boxer (CV-21) was another Essex-class carrier. Commissioned in 1944, she weighed 27,100 tons and measured 888 feet, and was able to carry up to 110 planes. In 1950 she rushed supplies to U.S. bases in Japan at the outbreak of the Korean war. In 1969 she was decommissioned, and then sold for scrap in 1971 and torn down at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

USS Independence (CVL-22)

USS Independence (CVL-22) afire aft, soon after the "Able Day" atomic bomb air burst test at Bikini on July 1, 1946.

USS Independence (CVL-22) afire aft, soon after the “Able Day” atomic bomb air burst test at Bikini on July 1, 1946.

Independence was the first light aircraft carrier built by the Navy and the lead in its class. Commissioned in 1943, she weighed 10,662 tons and measured 623 feet from tip to tail. She was designed to carry just 30 aircraft. Independence fought in the Philippines and Okinawa in World War II. After the war in July 1945, she was disposed of in Operation Crossroads, atomic bomb testing at the Bikini Atoll, as a target ship. However, while severely damaged in the blast, she didn’t sink. Instead, she was later hauled to San Francisco in 1951, where she was scuttled. In 2001, the San Francisco Weekly raised concerns that the still radioactive hull contributed to nuclear pollution in the area.

USS Princeton (CVL-23)

Explosion onboard USS Princeton (CVL-23)

Explosion onboard USS Princeton (CVL-23)

The ship was the second U.S. light aircraft carrier, this one weighing 13,000 tons and measuring 623 feet, was commissioned in 1943. Princeton was designed to carry 45 aircraft. She fought for just over a year and a half before she was sunk at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944, taking 108 men with her.

USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24) commissioned in 1943. Designed to carry 24 fighters and nine torpedo planes, she was 11,000 tons and 622 feet long. She supported landings on Iwo Jima and attacks on the Japanese home islands before the end of the war. In 1953, she was loaned to the French navy under the name Bois Belleau, serving in the Algerian war before returning to the U.S. Navy in 1960. She was then sold to Boston Metals Co. for scrapping seven weeks later.

USS Cowpens (CVL-25), also known as “The Mighty Moo,” was commissioned as a light aircraft carrier in 1943, weighing 11,000 tons and measuring 622 feet. In World War II she took part in the assault on the Marshall Islands and the fight for the Philippines. In May 1960 she was sold for scrap.

USS Monterey (CVL-26) was commissioned in 1943, weighing 11,000 tons and measuring 622 feet. She participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea before the end of the war. During the Korean War she spent four years as a training ship before decommissioning in 1956. She was sold for scrap in 1971.

USS Langley (CVL-27) was commissioned as a light carrier in 1943, in time to participate in attacks on the Marshall Islands and Okinawa. She weighed 11,000 tons and measured 622 feet, carrying up to 45 aircraft. She was loaned to France from 1951 to 1963, then returned to the United States and sold to Boston Metals Co. for scrap metal in 1964.

USS Cabot (CVL-28)

USS Cabot (CVL-28) pier side in New Orleans

USS Cabot (CVL-28) pier side in New Orleans. Photo by Merlin Dorfman

Commissioned in 1943, Cabot (CVL-28) weighed 11,000 tons and measured 622 feet. She participated in the Pacific campaign of World War II, then was mothballed for 12 years until she was loaned to the Spanish fleet in 1967. In 1989, she was returned and converted into a museum anchored off New Orleans. However, her caretakers fell into debt, and in 1999 she was auctioned off to Sabe Marine Salvage for scrap.

USS Bataan (CVL-29) was commissioned in November 1943, weighing 11,120 tons and 622 feet long. She fought in the Pacific campaign of World War II, then saw action again in Korea in 1952. Decommissioned in 1954, she was sold for scrap seven years later to the Nicolai Joffe Corp. in Beverly Hills, Calif.

USS San Jacinto (CVL-30) Also commissioned in November 1943 was the San Jacinto (CVL-30). As another light aircraft carrier designed to carry 45 planes, she weighed 11,000 tons and was 622 feet long. She fought in the Marianas Islands and supported attacks on the Japanese home islands near the end of World War II, then was decommissioned two years after the end of the war. In 1971 she was sold to the National Metal and Steel Corp. in California for scrap metal.

USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) was commissioned in November 1944, the Essex-class Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) weighed 27,100 tons and measured 872 feet. She joined the war in time to participate in attacks on the Japanese home islands, and afterward transported troops home from the Pacific theater. She was briefly deactivated after World War II, but called back to duty to participate in the Korean War, and fought again in Vietnam. Decommissioned in 1971, she was mothballed for 20 years before being sold and scrapped by Southwest Marine Recycling.

USS Leyte (CV-32) had just missed the end of World War II when she was commissioned in April 1946, but saw action later in Korea. An Essex-class carrier, she weighed 27,100 tons and measured 872 feet, and was built for 90 to 100 aircraft. She was decommissioned in 1959 and sold for scrap in 1970.

USS Kearsarge (CV-33) was commissioned in March 1946, weighing 27,100 tons and 872 feet in length. She was built to hold 90 to 100 aircraft. Though she missed the end of World War II, Kearsarge served in the Korean War and Vietnam. She was decommissioned in 1970. Four years later she was sold for scrap metal.

USS Oriskany (CV-34)

The was the last of the Essex carriers commissioned, having started construction in World War II but only joining the fleet in 1950. She underwent extensive modernization while still under construction, ending up at 30,800 tons and 904 feet long, though still built for just 90 to 100 planes like the rest of the Essex class. She supported the amphibious assault on Inchon in the Korean War and later launched bombing missions over Vietnam. Decommissioned in 1976, Oriskany was subject to a variety of aborted plans, including reactivation (which failed because of the poor material condition of the ship), inclusion in a “City of America” exhibit in Tokyo Bay (for which financing collapsed), and a contract for scrapping (which was canceled for lack of progress). Still floating in 1999, she was used for the set of the Robin Williams film What Dreams May Come. Finally, in 2004, the Navy gave Oriskany to Florida, which sank her for use as an artificial reef. In 2007, The Times of London listed her as one of the best shipwrecks for scuba-divers in the world.

Reprisal (CV-35) was doomed before she was born. Started during World War II, the 27,100-ton, 872-foot carrier was canceled in August 1945 when she was half-finished. She was sold to Boston Metals Corp. for scrap in 1949.

USS Antietam (CV-36) was commissioned in January 1945, weighing 27,100 tons and 888 feet long. As an Essex-class carrier, she was built to carry 90 to 100 planes. In 1951 and 1952 she launched sorties over Korea. Decommissioned in 1963, she was sold to Union Minerals and Alloys Corp. for scrapping in 1974.

USS Princeton (CV-37)

F-9F Fighters zoom by USS Princeton (CV-37) in 1951. US Navy Photo

F-9F Fighters zoom by USS Princeton (CV-37) in 1951. US Navy Photo

Commissioned in November 1945, Princeton (CV-37) was 27,100 tons and 888 feet, and ready to carry 90 to 100 aircraft. While too late for World War II and thus deactivated, she was recommissioned in 1950 for the Korean War, and supported operations in the Vietnam War as a converted amphibious assault carrier. She was decommissioned in 1970 and sold for scrap metal the following year.

USS Shangri-La (CV-38) one of the last Essex carriers commissioned in time to fight in World War II, having been commissioned in September 1944. She weighed 27,100 tons, was 888 feet long and held 90 to 100 aircraft. After the surrender of the Japanese, the next time Shangri-La saw action was in Vietnam in 1970. Decommissioned in 1971 and kept in reserve for 11 years, the U.S. Maritime Administration plundered her for spare parts to use on the training carrier Lexington before she was sold for scrap and demolished at a yard in Taiwan.

USS Lake Champlain (CV-39) was commissioned in June 1945, in time to carry troops home from World War II combat theaters. An Essex-class carrier, she weighed 27,100 tons, measured 888 feet and could hold 90 to 100 aircraft. The ship served in Korea and helped blockade Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1969 she was decommissioned. Three years later she was sold for scrap.

USS Tarawa (CV-40) was commissioned in December 1945, weighing 27,100 tons, 888 feet long and designed to carry 90 to 100 planes. Four years later she was decommissioned, but resurrected for the Korean war the following year. However, Tarawa never fought in Korea, participating instead in high-altitude nuclear tests before being re-decommissioned in 1961. In 1961 she was sold to Boston Metals Corp., which tore her down for scrap at a yard in Baltimore.

USS Midway (CV-41)

USS Midway Museum (CV-41).

USS Midway Museum (CV-41).

The ship was the lead in a new class of larger carriers. When commissioned in September 1945 she weighed 45,000 tons—though she put on another 21,000 pounds before decommissioning—was 972 feet long and could theoretically carry 137 planes, though in reality the Navy learned she couldn’t coordinate operations for that many. Most of the action she saw was in Vietnam, where she laid mines around North Vietnamese ports and later evacuated refugees as South Vietnam collapsed. She also played a part in Operation Desert Storm. She was decommissioned in 1992. Eleven years later, work began to turn the Midway into a museum. In 2004 she opened as a museum at the Navy Pier in San Diego.

USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42)
Commissioned in October 1945, Roosevelt weighed 45,000 tons and measured 968 feet in length. She was designed to hold 137 planes. Unlike other carriers in the Midway class, Franklin Roosevelt was never fully upgraded, and instead was decommissioned in 1977 due to its poor material condition. In 1978 she was sold to the River Terminal Development Co. for $2.1 million. After the ship was raided for usable equipment, she was scrapped at a yard in New Jersey.

USS Coral Sea (CV-43)
The ship was commissioned in 1947 as a large aircraft carrier of the Midway class, weighing 45,000 tons and 968 feet long. She could carry up to 130 planes. From 1965 to 1975 she performed repeated combat tours around Vietnam, and in 1979 she participated in a disastrous attempt to rescue hostages held at the U.S. Embassy in Iran. Decommissioned in 1990, Coral Sea was sold to Seawitch Salvage in Baltimore three years later.

Unnamed Midway-class (CV-44)

USS Valley Forge (CV-45)

USS Valley Forge (CV-45). US Navy Photo

USS Valley Forge (CV-45). US Navy Photo

The ship was commissioned in November 1946. The last Essex-class carrier to join the fleet, she weighed 27,100 tons and measured 888 feet in length, with a capacity for 90 to 100 aircraft. She launched the first bombing strike of the Korean War in 1950 and deployed there repeatedly through 1952, and also performed combat deployments during the Vietnam War. Valley Forge was slated to become a museum after she was decommissioned in 1970, but funding fell through, and she was sold to Nicolae Joffre Corp. for scrapping instead in 1971. In the meantime, however, she was used as a filming location for the science-fiction film Silent Running.

USS Iwo Jima (CV-46) never made she out of the harbor. Ordered in 1943, she was canceled while under construction. What there was of the ship was scrapped in 1946.

USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) was commissioned in May 1946 as a long-hulled Essex-class carrier, weighing 27,100 tons and 888 feet long. In 1950 she was called to duty for the Korean War, deploying twice to that theater of operations. Philippine Sea was decommissioned in 1958 and sold to Zidell Explorations Corp. for scrap in 1971.

USS Saipan (CVL-48)

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Saipan was the lead ship in a new class of light carriers. Commissioned in July 1946, the Saipan was 14,500 tons, 684 feet long and designed to carry approximately 50 aircraft. She hosted the first carrier-based jet squadron, which consisted of FH-1 Phantoms. In 1966 Saipan was converted from a carrier to a Major Communications Relay Ship and renamed the Arlington. She performed combat tours of Vietnam in 1967 and 1968 and helped recover astronauts from NASA’s space flights. Decommissioned in 1969, the vessel was sold for scrap 10 years later.

USS Wright (CVL-49) was the second in the Saipan class, weighing 14,500 tons, 684 feet long, and built for about 50 aircraft. Commissioned in February 1947, she was converted to a command ship in 1963 but retained her original name. She was decommissioned in 1970 and sold for scrap in 1980.

Six Essex-class carriers with hull numbers CV-50 through CV-55 were ordered 1944, but all were canceled before construction started. The Midway-class carriers CV-56 and CV-57 were also canceled before their keels had been laid. CV-58, the lead ship in a new class—tentatively to be named the United States, was likewise canceled, but only five days after the keel was finished in 1949.

USS Forrestal (CV-59)

Fire on USS Forrestall June 29, 1967. US Navy Photo

Fire on USS Forrestal July 29, 1967. US Navy Photo

The ship was commissioned in 1955, inaugurated a new line of so-called “supercarriers,” weighing 60,000 tons and 990 feet in length. She was built to carry about 85 aircraft. She was decommissioned in 1983 and plundered for spare parts to support the rest of the carrier fleet. The Navy offered what remained for donation as a museum and a foundation took up the cause, but failed to raise enough funds for the project. The Navy then considered donating Forrestal to a state to sink as an artificial reef, but that idea fell through as well. In 2013, Naval Sea Systems Command announced that it plans to pay All Star Metals one cent to tow and scrap the ship. All Star Metals will receive the profits from metal it salvages and sells. It was towed away in February of this year.

USS Saratoga (CV-60)
See above.

USS Ranger (CVA-61)

USS Ranger (CV-61). US Navy Photo

USS Ranger (CV-61). US Navy Photo

Ranger was the third Forestal-class super carrier. Commissioned in 1957, the ship served extensively in the Vietnam throughout Operation Desert Storm. The ship was decommissioned in 1993 and sent to the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Wash. A 2012 bid to turn Ranger into a museum ship on the Columbia River near Fairview, Ore. failed. The ship will likely be scrapped.

USS Independence (CV-62)

USS Independence (CV-62) in mothballs.

USS Independence (CV-62) in mothballs.

Commissioned in 1959, Independence was the final Forestal-class carrier. The ship was decommissioned in 1998. It’s currently at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Wash.

USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)

Named for the North Carolina site of the first powered flight, Kitty Hawk commissioned in 1961. The 83,000-ton carrier served in Vietnam War and was the forward deployed U.S. carrier in Japan from 1998 to 2008. The ship was decommissioned in 2009. Kitty Hawk is currently Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Wash. Groups in North Carolina and Florida have made bids to turn the ship into a museum.

USS Constellation (CV-64)
See above.

USS Enterprise (CVN-65)

The first U.S. nuclear carrier, Enterprise was commissioned in 1961 and was in service for more than 50 years. It’s being defuled and disassembled in Newport News, Va.

USS America (CV-66)

USS AMERICA (CV-66) underway as16 aircraft from Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1) fly overhead in 1983. US Navy Photo

USS AMERICA (CV-66) underway as16 aircraft from Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1) fly overhead in 1983. US Navy Photo

The ship was commissioned in 1965. As a Kitty Hawk-class carrier, she was 62,154 tons and 990 feet long, and designed to carry 79 aircraft. She performed three combat tours of duty in Vietnam and participated in peacekeeping and evacuation missions in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as supporting Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. While America was originally slated for a service-life extension program, because of budget cuts she was decommissioned instead in 1996. Plans to have it sold for scrap were canceled in favor of using the hull as a target in live-fire underwater explosive tests. In 2005 she was scuttled near Cape Hatteras off the North Carolina coast.

USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)

USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) towed to Philadelphia in 2008.

USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) towed to Philadelphia in 2008. Photo via Wikipedia.

John F. Kennedy was commissioned in 1968. It’s the last conventionally powered carrier the U.S. Navy builds ahead of the Nimitz-class of nuclear carriers. The ship spent most of the 1970s in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and responded to the Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. The ship also fought during Operation Desert Storm. The ship was decommissioned in 2007. The ship is currently part of the Philadelphia reserve fleet.

  • Marcd30319

    That photo of the USS America being sunk in 2005 is quite obviously the Oriskany, not the former CV-66.

  • http://nickysworld.wordpress.com/ Nicky

    The USS Ranger (CVA-61), USS Independence (CV-62), USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) and USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), we could have sold them to places like India, UK, France or Brazil that wants a conventional powered Carrier.

    • J

      I’d rather see the Indy sunk then sold to a foreign navy. I spent 3 1/2 years on there.

      • Secundius

        @ J.

        Agree’d, especially a Navy, that might use that same Carrier Hull against US.

      • Eric Arllen

        But not sunk ingloriously as was the fate of ex-USS PHOENIX (CL-4). Renamed ARA GENERAL BELGRANO (C-4), she was torpedoed by HMS Conqueror during the Falklands War. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

        • Secundius

          @ Eric Arllen.

          The ARA. GENERAL BELGRANO (C-4), was an ex-BROOKLYN class Light Cruiser, not an Aircraft Carrier.

          • Eric Arllen

            Very good. You’re paying attention.

            My post addressed the fate of ex-USS warships of all sizes. Those of us who actually have served develop a special relationship with our ships. We care about what happens to them.

          • Ed C

            it was actually CL-46, not CL-4….

          • Secundius

            @ Ed C.

            Your Right! My Bad!! Typo error!!! Sometime my fingers move faster then my mind, and I’ll commit it to print and/or posting. Without proof reading the statement first,

      • http://nickysworld.wordpress.com/ Nicky

        I would rather give the old The USS Ranger (CVA-61), USS Independence (CV-62), USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) and USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) to our trusted allies such as the UK and France. They sure need a carrier presence.

        • Secundius

          @ Nicky.

          The UK. and France, are no longer global powers, they can’t afford it. That’s why their going to Medium Sized Aircraft Carriers. And even Light Carrier (i.e. Through-Deck Cruisers). The only country that can afford them, is US!!!

          • Diogenes

            Who says we can afford them?

          • Secundius

            @ Diogenes.

            Because if we were to remove our Aircraft Carrier Force. We’d be speaking Chinese right now.

          • Diogenes

            That is nonsensical unless you are suggesting China plans on invading US sometime soon with massive fleet of junks led by a 30 year old Russian carrier that wouldn’t survive first US sub it encountered. Carriers are destined to go the way of the battleship. Has to happen. Carriers will soon be – if not already – indefensible from land and air delivered weapons wiith longer range and more lethality than current US aircraft can deliver or defend against. Still good for pounding Third World targets but even that is destined to change with proliferation of smart weapons that cost millions instead of billions.

          • Secundius

            @ Diogenes.

            The ChiCom PLAN currently has 470-ship’s in their Navy and growing, the US. Navy currently has 430-ships, and is be reduced too 306-ships. If fleet strength drop below 250-ship’s, we’d be hard press to protect our national interests, allies, our outer territories, and ourselves. Aircraft Carriers do not operate independently. And our tries to keep at least 30% of or fleet deployed. Do the math. At current Fleet Strength we can deploy 129-ships,. If we reduce of Fleet Strength too 306-ship’s, then were only deploying 91.8-ships. And if the Fleet Strength drop to 250-ship’s, your looking at 75-ship’s deployed At the end of World War Rwo, the US. Navy, had a official Fleet Strength of 71,009-ship’s of various classes, and with county of only approximately 127,000,000 people. Currently our countries population exceeds 306,000,000 people. As I say again, DO THE MATH.

          • Diogenes

            Perhaps sir, you should consider using logic instead of mathematical fear mongering to justify your intractable position. What makes you think the Chinese want to attack us? It wants to take over the world’s economy by guile. Your alarmist opinion is an example of that. Carriers came into sway after Pearl Harbor… I believe it was Fleet Admiral King that said the destruction of the US battleship force was a blessing in disguise because it forced the US to innovate. Well… maybe it is time to innovate again, before we have another Pearl Harbor. The loss of just one of our CVNs could very well destroy what is left of US prestige in Asia. Unless Jane’s Fighting Ships and other quasi-official publications, as well as USNI, are wrong, you sir are comparing apples and oranges.The Chinese blue water Navy is years away from being a threat to the US Navy unless we persist in sailing our massive behemoths into harm’s way without the possibility of defending them from today’s missile and sub technology… much less tomorrows. Our Asian Rim allies perhaps have a problem… particularly Japan and the Philippines… but unless we are gong to resurrect War Plan Orange and sail into harm’s way to refight WWII with a our mighty fleet your worries sound far more like the specious thesis of those in the US who advocate more and more weapons from yesterday to fight tomorrow’s wars. Worked great in Iraq! Chinese hegemony is less likely than the destruction of the US economy building and supporting weapons platforms that can’t be sustained in a major conflict because they are huge, slow, highly visible targets.

          • Secundius

            @ Digenes.

            I’d really like to answer your questions on this subject. Too give credit to the movie Animal House. I’ve been put on “Double Probationary Suspension” or, even “Triple Probationary Suspension” by the Fo-Police, trying too answer you question.

          • Diogenes

            Cool! I live on double secret probation… we related? Can assure you of being proud American. But in any event we did in the Russkies the way China is trying to do us in… promoting the big stick until we spend ourselves into oblivion.. Someday the US may get over its paranoia… understandable but fallacious. Pearl Harbor was a brilliant military maneuver by Japan when we put it on the economic ropes. Only people who didn’t know it wouldn’t work were the idiots who insisted on exercise… Even its author thought it was short-sighted and futile, and 9/11 is a twisted, militarily indefensible aberration. If we pick a fight with a developed country sporting modern missile and undersea defenses our carriers will be sooooo vulnerable. A Chief sonarman told me first time we would know bubbleheads around is when ship blew up. Perhaps worse, most land-based anti-ship defenses outrange our aviation assets. Do we send the fleet so planes can buzz around carrier group protecting it instead of projecting power? Sticky wicket. Just the way Navy is hyping short-legged Growler is indicative of how desperate we are… our brain trust knows if we can’t knock out opponents’ defenses at git-go we are hosed. Oh yeah, yesterday was Aviation Day… Billy Mitchell would feel proud.

          • Secundius

            @ Diogenes.

            I tried to answer some of question. But after posting them the were reddit from the website by the Fo-Police in this discussion group. And I think they did it because I was to critical on my commentary about the Chinese. I’ve learned that several other people’s comments have reddit, too. Watch Out!

          • Diogenes

            Fo-Police sure must get bored. Nothing here that hasn’t been discussed in greater detail by far better minds than mine in Proceedings and Navy History magazine. Saying carriers are obsolete however greatly disturbs six or seven generations of sailors that stake their well deserved reputations on them, but facts are facts and Billy Mitchell was right, it just took a long time for technology to catch up to him. Good luck.

          • Secundius

            @ Diogenes.

            In this particular case, I really, really, must have pissed-them-off.

          • Secundius

            @ Diogenes.

            It would appear that I am of the “Double Secret Probation” list for now. So, I’ll try to answer one of your questions. I this it would be most cost effective to eliminate the F/A-18F Super Hornet/Rhino airframe and concentrate on just building the EA-18G Growler airframe instead. All the Growler is, is a enhanced Super Hornet/Rhino aircraft with all the same beel’s and whistle’s, found on the F/A-18F with the addition of having a “horn”. All the characteristics are the same, performances are the same, plus it has the added benefits of being able to do more, still. That way you don’t need a separate Growler electronics warfare composite squadron, if the Growler is part of the Fighter/Attack/Electronics Warfare squadron. And use the composite squadron for something else, like a composite V-22 Osprey squadron instead.

          • http://nickysworld.wordpress.com/ Nicky

            What about India and Brazil

          • Secundius

            @ Nicky.

            Brazil can’t afford the only one they do, have. And it doesn’t spend that much time at sea!

          • Michael Florence

            The (UK) Royal Navy’s ‘through-deck cruisers’ have now all been decommissioned or scrapped. We are currently building two new carriers: HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales which will each displace 65,000 tonnes (64,000 long tons) and at 920ft (280m) long are hardly ‘medium’ sized carriers! At US$5bn a piece, it would certainly have been cheaper to buy a couple of mothballed U.S. carriers and retrofit ski-jumps for the F-35B’s.

    • Secundius

      @ Nicky.

      Because US. Navy, Aircraft Carrier. Fall under the classification of TOP SECRET, destroy or scrap after use. You can learn a lot, about other Navy just by the design and construction of their ship’s.

  • Randall Brinson

    The notes for the Hornets,,,,CV-8 and CV-12 need to be proof read. They are both listed as having been used in the Doolittle raid. It was CV-12 that was used. Why is there not any write up for the Ranger, Indy, Kitty Hawk and the Kennedy as for when built, what actions they served in before going to the moth ball fleet? I served on the Ranger and enjoyed those three years with pride.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Some great names presented in the article. Carriers are always impressive ships. Personally, I’d rather see them sunk as reefs or used for live fire exercises if they aren’t adopted as museum pieces, and realistically, there are only so many locations that can support them in that role.

  • OleSalt_1

    There is still a need for the USN and the major Navies to have aircraft carriers. The “ship” acts as a floating base that can be deployed anywhere where she is needed, as in the case of Iraq where aircrafts have been effectively launched against Islamic Extremists IS. However, new carriers should be hi-tech/sophisticated to protect them from newly developed anti-ship cruise missiles. China claims to have them, and will use its cruise missiles against any intervention in the Taiwan Straits during conflicts.

    • Secundius

      @ OleSalt_1.

      The problem with the ChiCom S300 High-Supersonic Anti-Shipping Missile, are numerous. Even though Vmo of the Missile is Mach 4+. That’s Mach 4+, at high altitude (~82,000-feet). Which means any E-2D Hawkeye II, parked 400nm from the carrier will see it and give warning to the fleet. Its only the 20- to 30-miles, where it bleeds-off speed and altititude to about 100-feet. If said S300 missile is traveling at 100-foot altitude in the South China sea. Where the surface temberature is ~84-deg. F, Even at the range of 30-nm said S300 would vaporize before reaching its target at Mach 4+. And even if it were albe to reach it target. The shock-wave of Mach 4+ fling and speed, making constact with the oceans surface, would produce a “Rooster Tail” you could easily see for space. Using Mk. 1 “Eyeballs” and be picked-up buy every radar system, including ships navigation radar from well-over 100-miles out. In conclusion, every miisile, gun, rifle, pistol, and slingshot, will be pointing and aim at the threat missile. Not, too mention the scullery crew’s pots and pans as well.

  • Tokyo Datum

    As the grandson of a CVE-78 SAVO ISLAND veteran, I feel obliged to point out we shouldn’t forget the Casablanca-class escort carriers – the most numerous class of aircraft carrier ever constructed (50 between 1942 and 1944).

    • Secundius

      @ Tokyo Datum.

      Yes, and preformed a vital role as Convoy Protection Jeep Carriers through all theaters of operation, too.

    • Secundius

      @ Tokyo Datum.

      Casablanca class Escort/Light/Jeep/Woolworth Carriers, all had VICTORY class Bottom Hulls with two-screws.

  • howard_t

    2 1/2 years in Midway as well as a few weeks in Constellation and a few days in Forrestall. All were first class fighting ships, and I still think of Midway as my true home. The aircraft carrier is without doubt the most versatile weapons system in the world, but weaponry today has rendered the carrier far too vulnerable. There is now a serious problem. Unmanned systems do not have the autonomous decision making capability of a manned aircraft. Long-range aircraft cannot loiter to support ground forces adequately. The carrier fills this need perfectly, but survivability may well doom the class. Where we go from here is still an open question.

  • Eric Arllen

    The correct naval term for the “weight” of a ship is displacement. Displacement is expressed in tons of saltwater the floating hull of a fully equipped and loaded vessel moves out of the way or displaces. Displacement varies depending on the density of the saltwater and its temperature. Ships have marks on their sides at the waterline that aid in determining the ship’s displacement.

    Would be a nice thing if someone at the U. S. Naval Institute actually understood this rather basic piece of naval lore, but alas, it appears not to be. One can be absolutely certain, however, the USNI editorial staff is fully up to speed on all things pertaining to that, sadly, very large “party line” side of our Navy that concerns itself with environmental issues, embracing an ever expanding list of sexual orientations, whales and ASW, women in the military, protecting our Officers, Sailors and Marines from the dangers of religious faith (especially Christianity and Judaism) and understanding that traditional things of substance are probably bad.

    • Penn Bowers

      I don’t know you but wish I did. Your last paragraph expresses my sentiments better than I could have expressed them myself. Nice to know there are some kindred spirit shipmates/ squadron mates still paying attention.

      • Eric Arllen

        Thanks, Penn. If you ever find yourself in the vicinity of Charlottesville, VA look me up.

    • Secundius

      @ Eric Arllen.

      Light Tonnage, applies just to the ship.
      Standard or Dead Weight Tonnage, applies to the ship itself, plus the equipment to run her.
      Gross Tonnage, applies with everything on it. (All the Bell’s and Whistle’s) on as well.

      • Eric Arllen

        Lots of ways to skin the cat and many ways to define displacement. The important thing the term is displacement not weight. We weigh anchors, not ships.

        • Secundius

          @ Eric Arllen.

          I’m using the language of 17th, 18th, 19th 20th and 21st Century Naval Terminology. If you say is true, why call it Dead Weight or Gross Weight,. Call it Something Else. I could use weight measurements from those centuries, but that would confuse people, especially those who are not familiar with nautical terminology.

          • Eric Arllen

            Not sure why this discourse continues, but I think this should be the final word on the subject. This excerpt is from the 1942 USN publication “Nomenclature of Naval Vessels”. It is contempaneous with most of the aircraft carriers in the article so it should be completely Germane. You can find it at the Naval Historical Center. Here is the excerpt addressing all it has on displacement. Enjoy!

            DISPLACEMENT
            The volume of fluid displaced by a freely floating and unrestrained vessel, the weight of which exactly equals the weight of the vessel and everything on board at the time the displacement is recorded. Displacement is expressed in either cubic feet or in tons of salt or fresh water.
            DISPLACEMENT CURVES
            Curves drawn to give the displacement of the vessel at varying drafts. Usually these curves are drawn to show the displacement in either salt or fresh water, or in both, the salt water curves being based on 35 cubic feet to a ton and fresh water curves on 36 cubic feet to a ton. Corrections are made from these basic standards for variable density of the water.
            DISPLACEMENT, DESIGNED
            The displacement of a vessel when floating at her designed draft.
            DISPLACEMENT, FULL LOAD
            The displacement of a vessel when floating at her greatest allowable draft as established by the classification societies. In warships, an arbitrary full load condition is established.
            DISPLACEMENT, LIGHT
            The displacement of the vessel complete with all items of outfit, equipment, and machinery on board, but excluding all cargo, fuel, water, stores, passengers, dunnage, and the crew and their effects. Naval and merchant practice differs in one particular; in the former the machinery weights are dry, while the merchant light condition includes the water and oil in the machinery with boilers at steaming level.

          • Secundius

            @ Eric Arllen.

            All I was trying to do is answer a question. Which lead to somebody responding that the word “weight” applies to anchor’s only. And then that’s where it started.

          • Eric Arllen

            When one hauls an anchor and its very substantial chain back aboard ship the proper command to do so is “weigh anchor”.

            Weigh… Weight. Word play.

            Are we done now?

    • Jeff

      “Displacement is expressed in tons of saltwater the floating hull of a fully equipped and loaded vessel moves out of the way or displaces.”

      It’s a good thing no ships ever venture into fresh water. :-)

      The “marks on their sides”, by the way, are known as a Plimsoll line and lore is “a body of knowledge or tradition that is passed down among members of a culture, usually orally”. I don’t think displacement is really that. It’s science fact. You know, since we’re all so concerned here about factual accuracy and such here. :-)

      • Eric Arllen

        Just a fount of knowledge, aren’t you.

        I didn’t bring the Plimsoll Line into the discussion because it is a commercial requirement not used on USN warships which carry draft marks on each side, bow, midships and stern.

        Actually, next to the Plimsoll Line on a commercial ship (marked A-B for American Bureau of Shipping) you’ll find additional draft lines that give the fully loaded waterline for tropical fresh and fresh water as well as tropical, summer, winter, and winter North Atlantic salt water.

        On the use of “lore”, you will note “terminology” has taken its place. Sorry to have offended. But I’m guessing it’s really my last sentence that has your panties in a wad and that is all about opinion. Mine is pretty clear.

        ;-)

  • James S Woody

    Guys, there is a mistake in the USS Hancock paragraph – she was not decommissioned in 1970 as I was in WestPac on her in 1972.

    • http://news.usni.org/ Sam LaGrone

      Good catch. Thanks.

      • Marcd30319

        Sam, since I was the first to post here, and I noted that the “original” image of the USS America being sunk was actually the USS Oriskany, it would be nice to come back and see my initial post which ain’t here anymore.

        Just saying…

        • Secundius

          @ Marcd30319.

          Yeah, and I’d like to see mine, too. If all possible. But I know the Fo-Police, won’t allow it.

    • Secundius

      @ James S Woody.

      The CVS-19, USS. Hancock, was decommissioned in, 30 January 1976 CE. And, sold for scrape in, 1 September 1976 CE.

  • Another CCSA3.0 Photographer

    Where is the Attribution for the JFK photo? It is not a public domain USN photo. Go back to Wikipedia where you got it and read the licensing terms for that photo.

  • bruno

    We’re cv 69 Dwight d Eisenhower

    • Secundius

      @ Bruno.

      You seem to have a Great Affection for the ol’ chap CVN-69, USS. Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower, Ike is currently in drydock having two new CIWS systems installed, one mounted on a “forward” Starboard sponsen and one mounted on a “aft” Port sponsen. Ike’s new Skipper is Captain Stephen T. Koehler, in 19 July 2013 CE. Ike, is expected to be replaced in or around 2027 CE. By a Gerald Rudolph “Jerry” Ford, Jr. class Aircraft Carrier.

  • MoWanchuk

    “… she (Saratoga CV 3 and Independence CVL 22) was sunk as part of atomic bomb testing in the Bikini Atoll in July 1945.”
    – The tests at Bikini Atoll were in July 1946.

    “… her (USS Enterprise CV 6) scout planes arrived at Pearl Harbor in the night to discover the bombing in progress, responding with attacks on Japanese vessels.”
    – By the time Enterprise arrived at Pearl Harbor proceded by some of her F4F Wildcats on the evening of 7 December 1941 the Japanese attack had long since ended. The ship got underway the next day, but encountered no Japanese surface ships. A Japanese submarine was sunk on 10 December 1941 by Enterprise aircraft.

    • Secundius

      @ MoWanchuk.

      There’s a reason why they painted out the red dots in all pre-Pearl Harbor aircrafts, Because idiots on the ground, couldn’t seem to know who’s planes, were, who’s. (i.e. American or Japanese).

  • Francis Brostrom

    The timeline for the Forrestal is incorrect, I served aboard her as an AT3 in 1987, while in the Naval Reserve.

  • Eric Arllen

    Displacement is the term of art real sailors use to tell folks how much a ship “weighs”.

    I guess my deleted comment on the topic struck a little too close to the mark to be allowed to stand in this forum for discussion.

    • Secundius

      I don’t see why you can’t just “Parkerize: or “Hot Blue” the hulls during a ships construction. It seems it would save TONS of weight to the Displacement

  • Merlin Dorfman

    Hey, that’s my picture of CVL-28! I would at least like to have gotten some credit…

  • Marcd30319

    Sunk, Scrapped or Saved…

    That pretty much says it all for any ship, naval or otherwise.

    And with all due respect to those intrepid historical preservation groups trying to save our naval heritage by turning these old ships into museums, the task is very daunting/ I know because I tried saving the USS Triton but bureaucrats and nay-sayers said it could not be done. Fortunately, the City of Benton did save the Big T’s massive sail, and there is a lovely park there.

    If we could not save the USS Enterprise CV-6, nearly lost the Constitution, and it took a Hyman Rickover to preserve the Nautilus, it just isn’t easy to save these old ships for future generations.

    BTW – All CV-6 was scrapped, I believe several port-hole were save and added to the USS Enterprise CVN-65. Hopefully, some NAVSEA or Newport News guys with a sense of history will salvage that part and add it to the new Enterprise CVN-80.

    Hopefuilly…

    • Kirt Ekstrom

      It is likely the Anchors of the CVN-65 will be Installed on the CVN-80

      • Secundius

        @ Kirt Ekstrom.

        Nothing definitive about the Enterprise, except she’s to be scrapped in Washington States around 2015. Navy hopes to learn more after Budget Sequestration from Congress. But that isn’t scheduled to be discussed until, after New Congress settles in 2015. Most likely scrap site is Bremerton, WA.

  • XBradTC

    Sam Lagrone, I’m more than a little annoyed that substantive corrections to this article have been made without noting the update, and comments pointing out those errors were deleted.

    Is this what USNI has come to? A forum for discussion should not arbitrarily censor comments to avoid admitting making a mistake.

    Authors make mistakes. That’s fine. But to edit the piece without fessing up to them is shabby. Please tell me Ms. Standifer’s actions aren’t the norm for USNI news nor the USNI in general.

  • Herbert Bryant

    There is a typo regarding Lady Lex (CV 16) info regarding her serving as the Training Carrier for Student Naval Aviators. Easter Sunday(14 April 1963), my new spouse, her family, friends and I attended SunRise Services on board the Antietam while she was alongside in Pensacola. Subsequently, the Antietam was relieved by Lady Lex and on 20 May 1963, my initial Carrier Qualification was on board the LADY LEX(:)!!! The Lady Lex write-up indicates she served as a trng carrier from 1969 to 1991. Obvious typo as the 1969 should be 1963.

  • Herbert Bryant

    On 27 April 1972, The Ticonderoga (CV 14) served as the Primary Recovery Ship for the Apollo 16 Astronauts when they returned from THE MOON. Back to North Island and in August to the South China Sea. Months later, She returned to North Island and was again selected to serve as the Primary Recovery Ship for Astronauts returning from THE MOON. Sure enuff, the Tico Crew on 19 Dec 1972 safely plucked the Apollo 17 Astronauts out of the South Pacific!! Little did we (the Tico Crew) realize those Awesome Astronauts would the last Astronauts to Safely Roar into Space, perform their Awesome tasks round and round the moon in addition to ACTUALLY walking on the Moon and return to our Magical Planet Earth! The Tico Crew was performing Beautifully in successfully recovering Astronauts and was Chosen to be the Primary Recovery Ship for the Sky Lab II Astronauts. Additionally, as NASA and Shipboard procedures had been continuously refined, the recovery was scheduled for a few hundred miles somewhat north of Hawaii vs Splashing down in the South Pacific. Various problems with the Sky Lab program precluded Sky Lab I Roaring into Space. Consequently, there were no Sky Lab I Astronauts to recover. The Sky Lab II Astronauts were safely recovered by the Astronaut Recovering Pros of the Ticonderoga on 22 June 1973 just a tad north of Hawaii ~~~~~~~~ From Aug ’71 to Aug ’73 (those dates, be my Best Est), I served as Ass’t Nav on board the Tico. Regards de-commissioning; in late Aug (or early Sept), we steamed from North Island to Long Beach for off-loading treasures and returned to North Island. That was our Last AT Sea Period and sure enuff, the Ship Log will show that I was the last OOD to Drive that Magnificent Ship Home to North Island. Serving on board the Tico was by Far the Most Challenging, Interesting and Rewarding tour of my 20 yr navy career. I can only imagine how NEAT twould be to serve on any of the SMALL BOYS ~~ Ya Know, THE REAL NAVY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Secundius

      @ Herbert Bryant.

      The Spanish Navy’s Light Aircraft Carrier, R 11, SPS. Principe de Asturias. Is actually an American Design (the SCS-75 design), could salvaged out of the Library of Congress, Records Keeping Department and Start Construction of a new class of Light/Jeep Carriers or Through-Deck Cruisers. Either to complement or supplement our existing Aircraft Carrier Forces.

  • silencedogoodreturns

    Umm…Forrestal was not decommissioned in 1983. It was still conducting overseas deployments for years after that.

    • Secundius

      @ silencedodoodreturns.

      Your calender dates are somewhat, off. CVA-59, USS. Forrestal, was decommissioned & struck from the Navy roles, 11 September 1993 CE. And, sold for scrape: 22 October 2013 CE.

      • silencedogoodreturns

        yes, 93, not 83, as said here in the article. My calendar dates are just fine.

    • Mickflorence43@hotmail.com

      Yes, Forrestall was decomissioned on 11th September 1993, a decade later ;-)

  • Jerry Gore

    USS TARAWA HULL # 40 in the Essex class, when I moved aboard in 1958/59 with VAW-12 flying AD-5W’s, was classified as CVS-40 and homeported at Quonset Point, RI. Task Force Alpha as I recall was our assignment patrolling for Soviet subs in the N.Atlantic. This summary of hulls from #1 to #68 is a useful tool to refresh our memories but the snippets of info provided need a good editing by someone who is a real expert on carriers as they evolution over these many years and it is not this author. I agree that the USNI should have done a much better job editing prior to publishing. I would like to see it re-published after some good editing with a little extra detail for each ship to paint a more complete snapshot of each.

    • Secundius

      @ Jerry Gore.

      I understand your confusions and frustrations. It was, and probably still in the Army too. I mean “M1″, Your probably saying to yourself M1, what? I the Army, there are so many things with the M1 designated prefix code, that you feel like pulling your hair out! Maybe, one day they’ll put QR codes instead, Just think about it for a moment, Have a Navy Ship with a QR code on the side of the ship, instead of a Number. All a Supply Ship would have to do, is point a QR Camera/Scanner on the Code. And it tells the Supply Ship’s Stores Quartermaster, what your ships need are. Instead of doing all the Godd@#$d Paper Work in Triplicate, or Quadruplicate.

  • Scott Andreae

    Has anyone mentioned yet that USS Saratoga was sunk in July 1946, rather than 1945 as the article states, at Bikini Atoll? As an editor for 27 years, I am saddened to see the level of errors that others have noted.

  • Pete Salisbury

    I for one appreciate the article and the time and effort put into it. Those with the knowledge feel free to write an article I’m sure it will be read. I am one of the USS Ranger veterans who have not given up hope of preserving my ship.
    Sadly though the US Navy recently gave HNSA Historic Naval Ships Association members permission to ransack the Ranger. These ship museums hauled away historic material not to preserve Ranger history but to make their own ships look better.
    The HNSA members knew that USS Ranger veterans had not given up on saving their ship but no one reached out to them and even after being attacked via social media only the USS Hornet Museum responded saying “We understand your frustration. It is the same challenge we met before becoming a Museum. Now we represent all our sister ships”.
    Which I reply “bullshit” they were looking out for themselves and couldn’t care less for the USS Ranger or the men and woman who proudly served aboard her.
    If I’m wrong prove it.

    • Steph rinker

      total disrespect,they are about as bad a the greedy scrappers,they need to get some of Ranger,s people on her to keep this from happening again, why is NAVSEA giving these idiots so much privelage, some to me like someone is trigger happy..

  • Philbob84

    I really wish that the Enterprise and Saratoga were preserved instead of all the Essex class carriers that were saved.

    • philbob84

      As well as the Cabot…

  • Pete Stenehjem

    The Forrestal fire was July 29, 1967 not June 29, 1967. Also, they spelled Forrestal incorrectly as Forrestall. CV-59 was named after James V. Forrestal, Secretary of Defense under President Truman.

  • El_Sid

    she put on another 21,000 pounds

    Tons more like…

    • Secundius

      @ El Sid.

      Two tough choices. New paint, or salt water!

  • Michael Tinsley

    My stepdad served on both the USS Kearsarge and the USS Oriskany. He was a EMC.
    Time frame would have been 1958 and 1960. As a young boy I went aboard both carriers when he would come into port. They were both ported out of San Diego at that time. It was surprising to read that the Oriskany was sunk off Florida, I did not know that.

    • Secundius

      @ Michael Tinsley.

      If it helps, they didn’t sink her for Target Practice. The Scuttled her to make a Artificial Reef for the Fish and Recreational Scuba Divers.

  • Secundius

    The article proudly states the CV-1, USS. LANGLEY as the first purposely built Aircraft Carrier. But in fact, the first deployed US. Aircraft Carrier. Was the GENERAL WASHINGTON PARKE CURTIS (towed barge), used in the Civil War by the Union in May 1862.

    • Secundius

      And like the PLAN, the People Liberation Army-Navy, the United States had their version too. The USAAN, the United States of America Army-Navy (May 1862)…

      The US. Army Air Corp, technically speaking was founded in 1 October 1862. And consisted of the Observation Balloons: Eagle, Constitution, Washington, Union, Intrepid, Excelsior and United States…

  • Jeff Chapman BMCS retired

    Article says Forrestal (FID) was decommed in 1983. Funny, I checked aboard her in 1984 while she was in SLEP in Philly and stayed with her till I checked off in 1989.
    I knew her inside and out. Top to bottom.

    • Secundius

      @ Jeff Chapman BMCS retired.

      CV-59, USS. FORRESTAL, final decommissioning date was, 11 September 1993 CE.