Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Figure 1: USS Ranger (1876-1940) drying sails while moored off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, in December 1899. Torpedo boats in the right distance are USS Davis (Torpedo Boat # 12) and USS Fox (Torpedo Boat # 13). This ship served under the names Ranger (1876-1917), Rockport (1917-1918) and finally Nantucket (1918-1940) during her naval career. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: Oil painting of USS Ranger by T.G. Purvis, London, England. From the family of Lt. Commander Samuel J. Miller, USCG, via his grandson, James R. McGihon. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: Drawing by Fred S. Cozzens of USS Enterprise (1877-1909), at left, and USS Ranger (1876-1940), as published in "Our Navy -- Its Growth and Achievements," 1897. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Solace (1898-1930), with white hull, and USS Scindia (1898-1925, later renamed Ajax) at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, circa 1899. USS Ranger (1873-1940) is moored in mid-channel, at the far left. Courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, San Francisco, California, 1970. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Ranger on 6 July 1913, Algiers. Courtesy “Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860 – 1905.” Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Nantucket (PG-23, later designated IX-18) as a training ship for the Massachusetts Nautical School, circa 1933. In this view, she has changed little since her construction fifty years before. She has a barkentine sail rig, but her navigating bridge is just forward of her funnel, adding a modern touch to her elderly appearance. US Navy photograph. Click on picture for larger image.
USS Ranger was a 1,020-ton, iron-hulled, steam-powered ship with a full auxiliary barkentine sail rig. She was built by Harlan and Hollingsworth at Wilmington, Delaware, and commissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 27 November 1876. Ranger was approximately 177 feet long and 32 feet wide, had a top speed of 10 knots, and had a crew of 138 officers and men. The ship was armed with one 11-inch smooth-bore cannon, two 9-inch smooth bores, and one 60-pounder gun.
Initially, Ranger was assigned to the Atlantic Station and was based at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, until 8 March 1877. After that, she was assigned to the Asiatic Station and was converted for use in the tropics as a gunboat. Ranger left New York on 21 May 1877 and arrived in Hong Kong on 24 August 1877, traveling via Gibraltar, the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, and the Malacca Straits. Ranger remained with the Asiatic Station until the fall of 1879, protecting American lives and property throughout the Far East. She eventually was ordered to return to the United States and arrived at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, on 24 February 1880. While there, she was converted into a survey vessel.
From 1881 to 1889, Ranger was assigned to hydrographic survey work off the coast of Mexico, Baja California, Central America, and in the northern Pacific region. At times, she also functioned as a conventional gunboat in the waters off Central America. Ranger temporarily was decommissioned from 14 September 1891 to 26 August 1892 at the Mare Island Navy Yard, but was re-commissioned to assist in the protection of American seal fisheries in the Bering Sea. On 31 January 1894, Ranger returned to protect American interests in Central America and stayed there until she was decommissioned once again on 26 November 1895.
Ranger was re-commissioned on 1 November 1899 and resumed her previous duties as a survey ship off Mexico and Baja California. She also returned to Central America, where political turmoil seemed to erupt on a continuous basis in that troubled part of the world. She again was decommissioned from 11 June 1903 to 30 March 1905, but this time at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Washington.
Ranger was re-commissioned and left Puget Sound on 16 April 1905 and returned to the Asiatic Station, arriving at Cavite in the Philippines on 30 May. Because of constant maintenance troubles, Ranger was decommissioned at Cavite on 21 June 1905. She remained there until being re-commissioned on 10 August 1908. Ranger left Cavite on 16 August and returned to the United States via the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean. She arrived at Boston on 12 December and immediately was decommissioned.
On 26 April 1909, Ranger was loaned to the State of Massachusetts as a school ship. Her name was changed to Rockport on 30 October 1917 and then changed again to Nantucket 20 February 1918. While serving as Nantucket, she functioned as a gunboat for the First Naval District during World War I. She also was used as a training ship for US Navy midshipmen. Nantucket was designated PG-23 in 1920, and then was re-designated IX-18 on 1 July 1921 and was returned to Massachusetts as a school ship. She served in this capacity until 11 November 1940, when she was transferred to the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York, also for use as a school ship. The old warship was finally struck from the Navy list on 30 November 1940, after serving this nation in various capacities for an amazing 64 years.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Figure 1: USS Bancroft (1893-1906) dressed with flags, circa 1893-98. Halftone photograph published in “Uncle Sam's Navy,” 1898. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Bancroft (1893-1906) firing a salute in 1898. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: Commander Richardson Clover, USN (1846-1919). This photograph was taken circa 1898. He was Chief of the Office of Naval Intelligence immediately before and during the first weeks of the Spanish-American War and commanded USS Bancroft during the rest of the conflict. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: In June 1906, Bancroft was transferred to the Treasury Department. Renamed US Revenue Cutter (USRC) Itasca, she served in the Revenue Service until sold in May 1922. The Revenue Service became the US Coast Guard in 1915. This photograph shows Bancroft serving as the USRC Itasca after she was acquired by the Revenue Service, date and place unknown. US Coast Guard photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: The USRC Itasca in Naples, Italy, on a cadet training cruise. Date unknown. US Coast Guard photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USRC Itasca in dry dock, date and place unknown. US Coast Guard photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: USRC Itasca, date and place unknown. US Coast Guard photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after George Bancroft, a famous American historian and diplomat, the 839-ton USS Bancroft was the first training ship authorized by Congress for the new Steel Navy. The ship was basically a steel gunboat similar in size to USS Petrel and was equipped with modern engines as well as an auxiliary barkentine sail rig. Bancroft was built by Moore & Sons at Elizabethport, New Jersey, and was commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 3 March 1893. The ship was approximately 189 feet long and 32 feet wide, had a top speed of 14.37 knots, and had a crew of 130 officers and men. Though considered a training ship, Bancroft was heavily armed with four 4-inch guns, two 6-pounders, two 3-pounders, one 1-pounder, and a pair of 18-inch torpedo tubes.
After being commissioned, Bancroft steamed to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, and became the training ship for the school’s naval cadets (which are what the students at the Academy were called at that time). For the next three years, Bancroft sailed up and down America’s east coast on summer training cruises for the cadets. Unfortunately, the ship only could accommodate about 40 cadets as well as the crew, which made her too small for use as a training ship at the Academy. Therefore, in the summer of 1896, Bancroft was converted into a conventional gunboat and was ordered to join America’s European Squadron. On 15 September 1896, Bancroft left New York and headed for Europe. After making stops in the Azores and at Gibraltar, Bancroft reached Smyrna, Turkey, on 15 October. For the next 15 months, the ship steamed in the eastern Mediterranean. Visiting ports in both the Ottoman Empire and Greece, Bancroft, as well as other US Navy warships, provided a measure of protection for Americans living in these areas, which often were engulfed in political turmoil and civil unrest.
Bancroft left the Mediterranean on 12 February 1898 and arrived at Boston, Massachusetts, on 4 April for an overhaul. The Spanish-American War was declared on 25 April and Bancroft was sent into action. She left Boston on 30 April and, after a brief stop at Norfolk, Virginia, arrived at Key West, Florida, on 9 May. She made several trips between Key West and Tampa, Florida, and on 14 June Bancroft left Key West and assisted in escorting American troop transports to Cuba. After arriving at a point near Santiago, Cuba, on 20 June, Bancroft steamed towards Altares, Cuba, the next day. For the rest of the war, Bancroft was assigned to blockade duty around Cuba. On 9 August, the ship returned to Key West and, after a brief stay, headed north. Bancroft arrived at Boston on 2 September and was decommissioned on 30 September 1898.
Bancroft was re-commissioned on 6 October 1902. She left Boston on 26 October and steamed south, stopping briefly at Norfolk and then continuing to the Gulf of Mexico and the West Indies. For almost 12 months, she patrolled the Caribbean and then spent several months off the coast of Central America, especially Panama, which had just won its independence from Columbia. Bancroft, as well as a number of other American gunboats, ensured that Panama remained independent so that the United States could build the canal there. Bancroft steamed along the coast of Panama between Porto Bello and Colon from 6 December 1903 to 28 February 1904, before returning to her regular patrol duties in the West Indies. Bancroft remained in the West Indies for the rest of the year and into 1905. On 29 January 1905, she left the Caribbean and headed north, arriving at Norfolk on 24 February. Bancroft was decommissioned once again on 2 March 1905.
On 9 July 1906, USS Bancroft was transferred to the Revenue Cutter Service (the forerunner of the US Coast Guard) at Arundel Cove, Maryland. The ship was renamed US Revenue Cutter (USRC) Itasca on 23 July and spent almost a year at Arundel Cove before being fully commissioned in the Revenue Cutter Service on 17 July 1907. From the summer of 1907 to the fall of 1911, Itasca again was converted into a training ship, only this time for Revenue Cutter Service cadets. She made five summer cruises to Europe and also enforced maritime and tariff laws off the coast of the United States. By September 1911, Itasca was assigned to patrol duties off America’s eastern seaboard, and also made occasional trips to the West Indies.
After World War I started in Europe on 1 August 1914, Itasca was given the new task of enforcing American neutrality laws, along with her regular duties of upholding maritime and tariff laws. For almost three years, Itasca steamed along the east coast of the United States and in the West Indies performing these duties. After America entered World War I in April 1917, Itasca (which, as of 1915, was part of the newly formed US Coast Guard) was transferred to the US Navy. For the rest of the war, Itasca patrolled off the eastern coast of the United States, basically performing the same duties she did before the war started. However, antisubmarine patrols were added to her list of responsibilities.
On 28 August 1919, Itasca was transferred back to the Coast Guard from the Navy. She resumed her former patrol duties and during the summer of 1920 made one final trip to Europe. Itasca returned to the United States on 3 October and on 31 October arrived at the Coast Guard Depot at Arundel Cove. The old gunboat remained there until she was sold for scrapping in May of 1922.
Posted by Remo at 8:21 AM
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Figure 1: USS Tulsa (PG-22) at Hong Kong, April 1941. US Navy Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: US Navy photograph of USS Tulsa (PG-22) from the 1924 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: US Navy photograph of USS Tulsa (PG-22) on 1 September 1938 after an overhaul. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: US Navy photograph of USS Tulsa (PG-22) during World War II. Click on photograph for larger image.
USS Tulsa (PG-22) was a 1,760-ton Asheville class steel gunboat that was built in the Charleston Navy Yard at Charleston, South Carolina, and was commissioned on 3 December 1923. She was an improved Sacramento class gunboat and was the sole sister ship to Asheville, the lead ship in the class. Tulsa was approximately 241 feet long and 41 feet wide, had a top speed of 12 knots, and had a crew of 159 officers and men. The gunboat was armed with three 4-inch guns and two 3-pounders.
On 19 January 1924, Tulsa left Charleston and steamed to the Caribbean to join the Special Service Squadron. The ship spent the next five years patrolling the waters of Central America and the Caribbean, from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Panama and Nicaragua. In the late 1920s, sailors and Marines from Tulsa landed in Nicaragua to protect American lives and property. She also participated in naval training exercises off Panama and visited ports in Honduras. In 1928, Tulsa transited the Panama Canal and headed for the west coast. On 24 January 1929, Tulsa left San Francisco, California, and headed for her new assignment in the Far East.
Tulsa initially was based in Manila, the Philippines, but then on 1 April 1929 she became the flagship of the South China Patrol and moved to Hong Kong. Tulsa was assigned patrol duties up the Pearl River and along the south China coast. Tulsa was relieved in these duties by the gunboat Mindanao (PR-8) in June 1929 and then sailed to Shanghai and eventually continued upriver to Hankow. Tulsa was made station ship at Tientsin in north China in July.
Throughout the 1930s, Tulsa returned to the South China Patrol and observed much of the fighting during the Sino-Japanese War in July 1937. As tensions mounted between the United States and Japan in the Pacific, Admiral Thomas C. Hart, Commander-in-Chief of the Asiatic Fleet (CINCAF), began withdrawing American warships from China and moved them to the relative “safety” of the Philippines. As a result of this new policy, Tulsa arrived at the US naval base at Cavite, the Philippines, in May 1941 and was attached to the Inshore Patrol, which was assigned the task of guarding Manila Bay. On 10 December 1941, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese aircraft mounted an enormous attack on Cavite. To escape the devastation, Tulsa anchored off shore, away from the burning naval base, and used her small boats to send crewmembers ashore to fight the raging fires and to rescue injured naval personnel. Later that day, Tulsa was ordered to retreat to Balikpapan, Borneo, along with her sister ship Asheville (PG-21) and the minesweepers Lark (AM-21) and Whippoorwill (AM-35).
Shortly after reaching Balikpapan, Tulsa proceeded to Surabaya, Java, in the Netherlands East Indies. She then went on to Tjilatjap, located on the southern coast of Java, where her crew constructed an improvised depth-charge rack for the ship, giving the gunboat a modicum of anti-submarine capability. Tulsa now escorted merchant ships along the coast of Java, even though she was woefully ill-equipped for this task. On 26 February 1942, Tulsa participated in the search for survivors from the sunken American aircraft carrier Langley (AV-3) and, although she did not find any, the gunboat encountered a sinking British merchant ship, City of Manchester. Tulsa took on survivors and some of them were brought to the ship’s sick bay, where they received medical attention. After the rescue operation was completed, Tulsa returned to Tjilatjap.
As the military situation deteriorated in Java and the Japanese were about to take the island, what was left of the once-proud US Asiatic Fleet was ordered to leave. On 1 March 1942, Tulsa, Asheville, Lark, and the gunboat Isabel (PY-10) left Tjilatjap and steamed towards Australia. Unfortunately, Asheville developed engine trouble and fell behind and later was sunk by Japanese warships. By sheer luck, the other three ships avoided both Japanese aircraft and naval vessels and made it to Australia.
Tulsa was based at Fremantle, Australia, and for the next seven months was assigned patrol duties off the Australian coast. In October 1942, she underwent a major overhaul in Sydney and was equipped with British ASDIC sonar, degaussing equipment, Y-guns, and 20-mm cannons. Once the overhaul was completed, Tulsa again was used as a convoy escort. But towards the end of 1942, she briefly was assigned to Submarine Forces, Southwest Pacific, and used as a practice target for Allied submarines based at Fremantle. Tulsa would conduct naval exercises with the submarines, enabling them to practice surface and subsurface attacks on the gunboat. In November 1942, Tulsa was sent to New Guinea, where she assisted American PT boats at their base at Kona Kope, on the southeastern shore of Milne Bay. But on 20 December 1942, Tulsa struck an uncharted submerged pinnacle and had to return to Australia for repairs.
Once repairs were completed, Tulsa returned to Milne Bay and resumed her patrol duties. On the night of 20 January 1943, six Japanese aircraft attacked the ship. Fortunately, Tulsa’s gunners were able to prevent the Japanese from scoring any hits, even though 12 bombs were dropped on the ship. For the rest of 1943, Tulsa served in New Guinea, tending PT boats, escorting supply ships, and serving as the flagship for the Seventh Fleet. On one occasion, while serving as a PT boat tender, Tulsa towed PT-109, which was later commanded by John F. Kennedy, the future president of the United States.
Tulsa underwent another major overhaul in December 1943 and then was sent back to Milne Bay. She served as the flagship for Captain Bern C. Anderson, Commander, Task Force 76.5.3 and also participated in the assault on Hollandia on 26 April 1944 and on Wakde Island on 17 May. After that, she was used as an escort and patrol craft in the New Guinea/Australia area of operations before being transferred to the Philippines in November 1944.
While in the Philippines, Tulsa remained with the Seventh Fleet. On 18 December 1944, the old gunboat was renamed Tacloban, after a town on the island of Leyte, so that her old name could be used for a new heavy cruiser that was being built back in the United States. Tacloban continued her convoy escort and patrol duties in the Philippines until early September 1945, when she was ordered to escort two ships to Okinawa. But on 7 September 1945, while steaming towards Okinawa, Tacloban had a major engine malfunction and was barely able to make it to the island under her own power. Once repairs were made at Okinawa, Tacloban was ordered to steam back to the United States. She reached Pearl Harbor on 18 December 1945 and San Francisco on 10 January 1946. The Navy determined that it had no further use for this old warship, so she was decommissioned on 6 March 1946. On 12 October 1946, Tacloban, formerly USS Tulsa, was sold for scrapping.
Posted by Remo at 6:28 AM
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Figure 1: USS Allen (DD-66) in Bantry Bay, Ireland, 1918. Note her "dazzle" camouflage. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Allen (DD-66) moored with other US Navy destroyers at Queenstown, Ireland, 1918. Note Allen's "dazzle" camouflage scheme. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: "A Fast Convoy." Oil painting by Burnell Poole depicting USS Allen (DD-66) escorting USS Leviathan in the War Zone, 1918. The original painting measures 60" x 33." Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, DC. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: View on board USS Allen (DD-66), looking aft along the starboard side from her bridge wing, while she was at sea in 1918. Several other destroyers are in the distance. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: “US Navy destroyers at Queenstown, Ireland, 1918.” Pen and ink drawing by Burnell Poole. The ship at left is USS Allen (DD-66). US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Allen (DD-66) underway off Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, 17 December 1942. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: USS Allen (DD-66) off Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, 17 December 1942. Halftone reproduction, published by the Division of Naval Intelligence in June 1943 for ship recognition purposes. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: USS Allen (DD-66) underway off Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, 17 December 1942. Note how close Allen’s main deck is to the water. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: USS Allen (DD-66) underway off Oahu, 1944. Note that she has retained her 4-inch guns, has six depth-charge projectors aft, torpedo tubes, an air search radar at her foremast, and has her hull number (66) painted on the forecastle deck. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: USS Allen (DD-66) after World War II awaiting disposal. Her forward 4-inch gun has been removed with only the shield and mount remaining. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after William Henry Allen, a US Navy hero from the War of 1812, USS Allen (DD-66) was a 1,071-ton Sampson class destroyer built by the Bath Iron Works at Bath, Maine, and was commissioned on 24 January 1917. The ship was approximately 315 feet long and 29 feet wide, had a top speed of 30 knots, and had a crew of 130 officers and men. Allen was armed with four 4-inch guns, two 1-pounders, twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes, and depth charges.
Allen initially patrolled off America’s east coast and in the Caribbean and then was assigned to escort duties after the United States entered World War I in April 1917. In June 1917, Allen escorted a troop convoy across the Atlantic and then was based at Queenstown, Ireland. While based there, Allen escorted convoys and went on anti-submarine patrols off the western coasts of Britain and France. Allen remained at Queenstown until the end of the war on 11 November 1918 and in December she assisted in escorting the transport George Washington, which was carrying President Woodrow Wilson to Brest, France. A few weeks later, Allen returned to the United States.
In 1919, Allen resumed her patrol duties in the western Atlantic and in the West Indies. Allen was decommissioned in June 1922 but was re-commissioned three years later as a Naval Reserve training ship based at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC. Allen was decommissioned once again in March 1928 and remained that way for the next twelve years.
After World War II began in Europe in September 1939, the US Navy brought back into service many old destroyers, Allen being one of them. She was re-commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 23 August 1940. After a short stay on the east coast, Allen was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and was attached to Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 80. Allen was ordered to steam to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where she was assigned to various patrol and escort duties. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December 1941, Allen was moored in the East Loch to the northeast of Ford Island and next to the hospital ship Solace (AH-5). Allen’s gunners claimed to have assisted in shooting down three Japanese aircraft. After the attack, Allen escorted ships between the Hawaiian Islands and searched the general vicinity for enemy submarines. For the remainder of World War II, the elderly destroyer was given numerous patrol and escort duties around the Hawaiian Islands. She also made occasional round-trip voyages to America’s west coast. In September 1945, USS Allen was sent from Hawaii to Philadelphia, where she was decommissioned for the last time on 15 October. After serving in two World Wars, the ship eventually was sold for scrapping on 26 September 1946.
Posted by Remo at 6:16 AM
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Figure 1: USS Princeton (CV-37) at sea off the coast of Korea with F4U aircraft parked aft and F9F jet fighters forward. The original photograph is dated 8 June 1951. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Princeton (CV-37) takes on supplies and ammunition at Sasebo, Japan, on 4 December 1950, the day before she began combat operations off Korea. Note LSU-1082 and large floating crane alongside the carrier. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: US Navy ships take on supplies while moored in Sasebo harbor, Japan, circa December 1950. Photographed from USS Princeton (CV-37), which arrived in the area on her first Korean War deployment in early December. Among the ships in the background are USS Mount Katmai (AE-16), in left center, and USS Comstock (LSD-19), at right. Planes on Princeton's deck are AD Skyraiders. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: Two Grumman F9F-2 Panther fighters from USS Princeton (CV-37) dump fuel as they fly past the carrier during Korean War operations, circa May 1951. Photographed from a VC-61 plane piloted by Lieutenant (Junior Grade) George Elmies. This photograph was released by Commander, Naval Forces Far East, under the date of 23 May 1951. The plane on left is Bureau # 123583. Official US Navy Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: Torpedo attack on the Hwachon Reservoir dam by AD Skyraiders of Attack Squadron 195 (VA-195) from USS Princeton (CV-37), 1 May 1951. This successful strike, and earlier bomb attacks by US Navy and Air Force planes, was made to deny the enemy the tactical use of controlled flooding on the Pukhan and Han rivers. Torpedoes were used after bombs failed to achieve the desired results. They destroyed one flood gate and partially destroyed another. This was the only use of torpedoes during the Korean War. The Hwachon Reservoir was later recaptured by UN forces. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: Awards ceremony on the flight deck of USS Princeton (CV-37), in which 31 Naval aviators of Air Group 19 received Air Medals, and two more received Gold Stars in lieu of a third Air Medal, circa May 1951. The medals were presented by Captain William O. Gallery, the carrier's Commanding Officer. They were awarded "For meritorius achievement in aerial flights in attacks on hostile North Korean and Chinese Communist forces, while upholding policies of the United Nations Security Council.” The ceremonies included a fly past salute by Air Group 19 fighter planes. Note the still and motion picture photographers at work and the HO3S helicopter parked aft. Also note the flight deck barrier rigged, but retracted, in lower part of the image. This photograph was released by Commander, Naval Forces Far East, on 16 May 1951. Official US Navy Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: Lieutenant (Junior Grade) John Henry ("Buster") Wells, USN, stands beside a F9F-5 Panther jet fighter (nicknamed "Kosy Rosy") of Fighter Squadron 154, on board USS Princeton (CVA-37), during the Korean War, circa spring 1953. During 1952-53, he served two Korean War combat pilot tours with VF-837 and VF-154. From the collection of John M. Owen, 2000. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: USS Princeton (CVS-37) photographed circa the mid-1950s, with twelve S2F anti-submarine aircraft parked forward. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: Commander Carrier Division 15, Captain Raymond N. Sharp, on board USS Princeton (CVS-37), showing the Prime Minister of Ceylon, Solomon W.R. Bandaranaike, emergency supplies that are to be delivered to flood victims in his nation on 11 January 1958. This picture was taken on the carrier's hangar deck with HSS-1 helicopters undergoing maintenance in the background. Relief supplies include cans of sliced and cored pineapple, produced in Australia and donated by the United States. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: USS Princeton (LPH-5) photographed after her 1961 "FRAM" modernization, with UH-34 helicopters on her flight deck. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 11: US Marine Corps HUS-1 helicopters are towed to their launching positions on board USS Princeton’s (LPH-5) flight deck on 20 March 1960. Note groups of Marines marching aft to board their helicopters. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 12: General William Westmoreland, Commander Military Advisory Group, Vietnam, walks up USS Princeton’s (LPH-5) flight deck with her Commanding Officer, Captain Paul J. Knapp, in late 1964 on the occasion of her delivery of flood relief supplies to South Vietnam. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 13: Marine UH-34 helicopters lift off from USS Princeton (LPH-5) to land "Leathernecks" in the Republic of Vietnam during Operation "Jackstay,” 26 March 1966. Photographed by Journalist 1st Class E.J. Filtz, USN. UH-34 in the foreground is Bureau # 148075. Official US Navy Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 14: USS Princeton (LPH-5) refueling from USS Chipola (AO-63) during operations in the Pacific, 25 June 1968. Photographed by PH3 Carty. Official US Navy Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
USS Princeton (CV-37) was a 27,100-ton Ticonderoga class aircraft carrier that was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was commissioned shortly after the end of World War II on 18 November 1945. The Ticonderoga class was basically a modified Essex class carrier. They had a large number of 40-mm and 20-mm guns added, new and improved radars, a new ventilation system, and they had reshaped bows, to name just a few of the changes. Princeton was approximately 888 feet long and 93 feet wide, had a top speed of 33 knots, and a crew of 3,448 officers and men. She was initially armed with 12 5-inch guns, 44 40-mm guns, and 59 20-mm guns and carried roughly 80 aircraft.
Princeton was assigned to the Atlantic until June 1946. She then was sent to the Pacific, where she spent the rest of her career. Princeton steamed to the western Pacific on two occasions during the later part of the 1940s, first in 1946 and then again in 1948. However, due to defense cutbacks during the Truman administration, the carrier was decommissioned in June 1949. But Princeton was re-commissioned a year later on 28 August 1950, after the start of the Korean War.
Following a short period of intensive training with a crew mostly made up of Naval Reservists, Princeton joined Task Force 77 off the coast of Korea on 5 December 1950. She launched 248 sorties against targets in the Hagaru area and for six days her aircraft supported the US Marines and their horrific fighting retreat from the Chosin Reservoir to Hungnam. On 11 December, Princeton’s aircraft (as well as those from other carriers, the Marine Corps, and the US Air Force) began covering the evacuation from Hungnam and continued doing so until the mission was completed on 24 December. After that, Princeton’s fighters continued bombing Communist targets and by 4 April 1951, her air group destroyed 54 rail and 37 highway bridges and damaged 44 more. In May, Princeton’s aircraft attacked railroad bridges connecting Pyongyang to Sunchon, Sinanju, and Kachon. Her planes also bombed targets at the Hwachon Reservoir and for the rest of that summer flew sorties against supply depots and highways. Towards the end of the summer, Princeton left for the United States and arrived at San Diego on 21 August.
After an eight-month overhaul, Princeton returned to Task Force 77 off the coast of Korea on 30 April 1952 for her second tour of duty. For the next 138 days, Princeton’s aircraft sank small North Korean ships, bombed supply depots behind enemy lines, and attacked the hydroelectric complex at Suiho on the Yalu River. Her aircraft also pounded gun positions in Pyongyang and munitions factories at Sindok, Musan, Aoji, and Najin. On 1 October 1952, Princeton was reclassified CVA-37 and returned to California on 3 November for a two-month rest. But in February 1953, she returned to Korea for her third and final tour of duty off the coast of that troubled nation. Her planes provided close air support against enemy supply, artillery, and troop concentrations for the rest of the war and the ship remained in the area after the final truce was signed on 27 July 1953. Princeton did not return to the United States until 7 September.
In January 1954, Princeton was reclassified once again from an attack aircraft carrier to an anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carrier and was given the new hull number of CVS-37. She patrolled the eastern Pacific and was sent to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf from 1957 to 1958. The carrier was scheduled for decommissioning after that, but Princeton was given a new lease on life when she was re-designated once again in March 1959 to LPH-5 and converted into an amphibious assault ship.
In her role as an LPH, Princeton was assigned the then-new mission of vertical envelopment of amphibious warfare objectives. She carried helicopters in place of planes and could carry a battalion of Marines, as well as provide logistics and medical support for those troops. Princeton cruised both the eastern and western Pacific areas of operations and eventually became heavily involved in the Vietnam War. Princeton landed US Marines at Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam, in May 1965 and transported Marine aircraft from the United States to Vietnam during the summer of that same year. The carrier served another tour of duty off the coast of Vietnam from February to August 1966 and provided helicopter transportation, medical evacuation, logistics and communications support for US Marine and Army units during several major combat operations. Throughout the rest of the 1960s, Princeton continued supporting the Marines in numerous firefights along the coast of Vietnam. But in April 1969, she served as a space recovery ship for the Apollo 10 mission. Then, after almost 25 years of service, USS Princeton was decommissioned in January 1970 and was sold for scrapping in May 1971.