Unit Details

 USS Valley Forge (CV-45)

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Career (United States) Namesake: Washington's winter quarters 1777-78 Builder: Philadelphia Naval Shipyard Laid down: 14 September 1943 Launched: 8 July 1945 Commissioned: 3 November 1946 Decommissioned: 16 January 1970 Fate: Sold for scrap, October, 1971

General characteristics Class and type: Essex-class aircraft carrier Displacement: As built: 27,100 tons standard Length: As built: 888 feet (271 m) overall Beam: As built: 93 feet (28 m) waterline Draft: As built: 28 feet 7 inches (8.71 m) light Propulsion: As designed: 8 × boilers 4 × Westinghouse geared steam turbines 4 × shafts 150,000 shp (110 MW) Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h) Complement: 3448 officers and enlisted Armament: As built: 4 × twin 5 inch (127 mm)/38 caliber guns 4 × single 5 inch (127 mm)/38 caliber guns 8 × quadruple Bofors 40 mm guns 46 × single Oerlikon 20 mm cannons Armor: As built: 4 inch (100 mm) belt 2.5 inch (60 mm) hangar deck 1.5 inch (40 mm) protectice decks 1.5 inch (40 mm) conning tower

Aircraft carried: As built: 90–100 aircraft

 

USS Valley Forge (CV/CVA/CVS-45, LPH-8) was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during and shortly after World War II for the United States Navy. The ship was the first US Navy ship to bear the name, and was named for Valley Forge, the 1777–1778 winter encampment of General George Washington's Continental Army.

Valley Forge was commissioned in November 1946, too late to serve in World War II, but saw extensive service in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. She was the last Essex-class carrier completed. She was reclassified in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA), then to an antisubmarine carrier (CVS), and finally to an amphibious assault ship (LPH), carrying helicopters and marines. As a CVS she served in the Atlantic and Caribbean. She was the prime recovery vessel for an early unmanned Mercury space mission. After conversion to an LPH she served extensively in the Vietnam War. Valley Forge was awarded eight battle stars for Korean War service and nine for Vietnam War service, as well as three Navy Unit Commendations. Unlike most of her sister ships, she received no major modernizations, and thus throughout her career retained the classic appearance of a World War II Essex-class ship. She was decommissioned in 1970, and sold for scrap in 1971. Contents [hide] 1 Construction and Commissioning 2 Service history 2.1 1947–1950 2.1.1 Korean War 2.2 1954–1960 2.3 1961–1964 2.4 Vietnam War 3 Awards 4 Silent Running film location 5 References 6 External links Construction and Commissioning Valley Forge was paid for with money raised by the citizens of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a special war bond drive. The ship was one of the "long-hull" Essex-class, laid down on 7 September 1944 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She was launched on 18 November 1945, sponsored by Mrs. Alexander A. Vandegrift, wife of the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Valley Forge commissioned on 3 November 1946, with Captain John W. Harris in command.

Service history 1947–1950

Following fitting out, the new carrier got underway on 24 January 1947 for shakedown training which took her, via Norfolk, to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Canal Zone. She completed the cruise on 18 March and returned to Philadelphia for post-shakedown overhaul. The ship left Philadelphia on 14 July, headed south, and transited the Panama Canal on 5 August. She arrived at her home port, San Diego on 14 August and joined the Pacific Fleet. Following the embarkation of Air Group 11 and intensive air and gunnery training in coastal waters, the aircraft carrier - flying the flag of Rear Admiral Harold L. Martin, Commander of Task Force 38 (TF 38) - got underway for Hawaii on 9 October. The task force devoted almost three months to training operations out of Pearl Harbor before sailing for Australia on 16 January 1948.

After a visit to Sydney, the American warships conducted exercises with units of the Royal Australian Navy and then steamed to Hong Kong. During a voyage from the British crown colony to Tsingtao, China, orders arrived directing the task force to return home via the Atlantic. With her escorting destroyers, the ship continued the round-the-world trip with calls at Hong Kong; Manila; Singapore; Trincomalee, Ceylon; and Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia. After operating for a time in the Persian Gulf, she became the largest aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal. The ship finally arrived at San Diego, via the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Panama Canal. Korean War Valley Forge deployed to the Far East, departing the west coast on 1 May 1950.

Post Korea

 1954–1960 After a west-coast overhaul, Valley Forge was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet and reclassified - this time to an antisubmarine warfare support carrier—and redesignated CVS-45. She was refitted for her new duties at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and then rejoined the Fleet in January 1954. The face-lifted carrier soon got underway to conduct exercises to develop and perfect the techniques and capabilities needed to carry out her new duties. Conducting local operations and antisubmarine warfare exercises, Valley Forge operated off the east coast through late 1956, varied by a visit to England and the eastern Atlantic for exercises late in 1954. Her operations during this period also included midshipman and reservists' training cruises and occasional visits to the Caribbean. Carrying out training operations out of Guantanamo Bay in 1957, Valley Forge accomplished an American naval "first" in October, when she embarked the ship's landing party and twin-engined HR2S-1 Mojave helicopters. Experimenting with the new concept of "vertical envelopment"; first pioneered by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines at Suez in 1956; Valley Forge's helicopters air-lifted the landing party to the beachhead and then returned them to the ship in the US Navy's first ship-based air assault exercise.

On 1 April 1958, Rear Admiral John S. Thach hoisted his two-star flag to the carrier's main as the ship became flagship of Task Group Alpha (TG Alpha). This group, built around Valley Forge, included eight destroyers, two submarines, and one squadron each of antisubmarine helicopters, planes, and a landbased Lockheed P2V Neptune. A significant development in naval tactics, TG Alpha concentrated solely on developing and perfecting new devices and techniques for countering the potential menace of enemy submarines in an age of nuclear propulsion and deep-diving submersibles.

Task Group ALFA, formation portrait of the anti-submarine group's ships and aircraft, taken during 1959 exercises in the Atlantic. Valley Forge remained engaged in operations with TG Alpha through the early fall of 1959, when she then entered the New York Naval Shipyard for repairs. The ship returned to sea on 21 January 1960, bound for maneuvers in the Caribbean. During her ensuing operations, the carrier served as the launching platform for Operation Skyhook. This widely publicized scientific experiment involved the launching of three of the largest balloons ever fabricated, carrying devices to measure and record primary cosmic ray emissions at an altitude of between 18 and 22 mi (29 and 35 km) above the Earth's surface.

Following a deployment in the eastern Mediterranean - during which she called at ports in Spain, Italy, and France - Valley Forge returned to Norfolk to resume local operations on 30 August, continuing antisubmarine exercises as flagship of TG Alpha through the fall of 1960. On 19 December, the carrier acted as the primary recovery ship for the Mercury-Redstone 1A unmanned space capsule, the first flight of the Redstone rocket as part of Project Mercury. Her helicopters retrieved the capsule, launched from Cape Canaveral, after its successful 15-minute flight and splashdown.[1] Two days later off Cape Hatteras, in response to an SOS, Valley Forge sped to tanker SS Pine Ridge, which had broken in two during a storm. While the survivors of the stricken ship clung tenaciously to the after half of the tanker, the carrier's helicopters shuttled back and forth to pick up the men in distress.

Soon, all 28 survivors were safe on board Valley Forge. 1961–1964 Entering the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 6 March 1961 for overhaul and modification to an amphibious assault ship, Valley Forge was reclassified as LPH-8 on 1 July 1961 and, soon thereafter, began refresher training in the Caribbean. She returned to Hampton Roads in September and trained in the Virginia capes area with newly embarked, troop-carrying helicopters. In October, the ship - as a part of the Atlantic Fleet's ready amphibious force - proceeded south to waters off Hispaniola and stood by from 21–25 October and from 18–29 November to be ready to evacuate any American nationals from the Dominican Republic should that measure become necessary during the struggle for power which afflicted that nation in the months following the assassination of the long established dictator, Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo. After returning home late in the year, Valley Forge sailed from Norfolk on 6 January 1962, bound for Long Beach and duty with the Pacific Fleet. At the end of three months of training off the west coast, the amphibious assault ship steamed westward for duty in the Far East with the 7th Fleet. With the flag of the Commander, Ready Amphibious Task Group, 7th Fleet at her main, Valley Forge closed the coast of Indochina under orders to put ashore her embarked marines. In Laos communist Pathet Lao forces had renewed their assault on the Royal Laotian Government; and the latter requested President John F. Kennedy to land troops to avert a feared, full-scale communist invasion of the country. The amphibious assault ship airlifted her marines into the country on 17 May; and, when the crisis had abated a few weeks later, carried them out again in July.

For the remainder of 1962, the ship operated in the Far East before returning to the west coast of the United States to spend the first half of 1963 in amphibious exercises off the coast of California and in the Hawaiian Islands. Valley Forge entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard on 1 July 1963 for a Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) overhaul, including the installation of improved electronics and facilities for transporting and handling troops and troop helicopters. Putting to sea again on 27 January 1964, the newly modernized assault ship rejoined the fleet and, following local operations and training, departed Long Beach once more for another WestPac deployment. She stopped at Pearl Harbor and Okinawa, en route to Hong Kong, and then steamed to Taiwan. In June, she joined ships of other SEATO navies in amphibious exercises and then visited the Philippines, where in July she was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E". Vietnam War On 2 August 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin. Valley Forge then spent 57 days at sea off the Vietnamese coast in readiness to land her marines should the occasion demand. Returning - via Subic Bay, Okinawa, and Midway - to Long Beach on 5 November, Valley Forge made two round-trip voyages to Okinawa carrying marines and aircraft before commencing a WestPac deployment in the South China Sea in the fall of 1965. With a Marine landing force embarked and flying the flag of Commander, Amphibious Squadron 3, Valley Forge conducted intensive training exercises in the Philippines while preparing for service in Vietnam.

In mid-November, the amphibious assault ship stood by in reserve during Operation Blue Marlin and then airlifted her marines ashore for Operations Dagger Thrust and Harvest Moon before spending the Christmas season "in the crisp freshness of an Okinawan winter." After embarking a fresh Marine battalion landing force and a medium transport helicopter squadron, she sailed for Vietnam on 3 January 1966. Following pauses at Subic Bay and Chu Lai, Valley Forge arrived off the Vietnamese coast on 27 January and, two days later, launched her landing forces to take part in Operation Double Eagle. Remaining on station off the coast, the ship provided logistic and medical support with inbound helicopters supplying the men ashore and outbound "choppers" evacuating casualties for medical treatment back on the ship. Reembarking her landing team on 17 February, Valley Forge proceeded northward, while her marines took a breather. The second phase of "Double Eagle" commenced two days later, and the ship's marines again went ashore via helicopter to attack enemy concentrations.

By 26 February, the operation had drawn to a close, and Valley Forge reembarked her marines and sailed for Subic Bay. Following a round trip to Da Nang, the carrier steamed back to the west coast for an overhaul and local training along the California coast before again deploying to WestPac. Upon her return to Vietnamese waters, the ship took part in operations off Da Nang before she again returned to the United States at the end of the year 1966. After undergoing a major overhaul and conducting training off the west coast, Valley Forge returned to the Far East again in November 1967 and took part in Operation Fortress Ridge, launched on 21 December. Air-landing her troops at a point just south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), the ship provided continual supply and medical evacuation (MedEvac) services for this "search and destroy" operation aimed at eliminating North Vietnamese and Viet Cong units which threatened American and South Vietnamese troops.

The completion of this operation on the day before Christmas 1967 did not mark the end of Valley Forge's operations for this year, however, as she was again in action during Operation Badger Tooth, near Quang Tri in northern South Vietnam. Upkeep at Da Nang preceded her deployment to her new station off Dong Hoi, where she provided her necessary resupply and MedEvac support for Allied troops operating against communist forces. Operation Badger Catch, commencing on 23 January 1968 and extending through 18 February, took off for the Cua Viet River, south of the DMZ, before the ship set her course for Subic Bay and much-needed maintenance. Subsequently returning to the fray in Vietnam, Valley Forge operated as "Hero Haven" for Marine helicopter units whose shore bases had come under attack by communist ground and artillery fire.

During Operation Badger Catch II, from 6 March-14 April, Marine "choppers" landed on board the carrier while their land bases were being cleared of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops. Following a routine refit at Subic Bay, the ship took part in Operation Badger Catch III from 28 April-3 June. She then moved to Da Nang and prepared for Operation Swift Saber which took place from 7–14 June. Landing Exercise Hilltop XX occupied the ship early in July. Then Valley Forge transferred her marines and helicopters to Tripoli and headed home via Hong Kong, Okinawa, and Pearl Harbor. She reached Long Beach on 3 August. Following five months on the west coast which included local operations and an overhaul, the amphibious assault ship returned to the Far East for the last time departing Long Beach on 30 January 1969. At San Diego, she embarked a cargo of Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters for delivery to transport squadrons in Vietnam. The ship stopped at Pearl Harbor and paused near Guam while one of her helicopters carried a stricken crewman ashore for urgent surgery. She loaded special landing-force equipment at Subic Bay and embarked the Commander, Special Landing Forces Bravo and a squadron of Marine CH-46 transport helicopters.

On 10 March, the carrier began operating in support of Operation Defiant Measure, steaming off Da Nang as her helicopters flew missions "on the beach". This was completed by 18 March, and Valley Forge debarked her helicopters before steaming to Subic Bay for upkeep. After her return to Da Nang on 3 May, the amphibious assault ship reembarked her helicopters as well as part of a battalion landing team of marines who had been taking part in fighting ashore. The carrier continued to operate in the Da Nang area during the weeks that followed, her helicopters flying frequent support missions, and her marines preparing for further combat landings. During late May and early June, Valley Forge received visits from Secretary of the Navy John Chafee and Vice Admiral William F. Bringle, Commander 7th Fleet. She offloaded her marines at Da Nang on 10 June and embarked a battalion landing team for transportation to Okinawa, where she arrived on 16 June. The landing team conducted amphibious exercises with Valley Forge for 11 days and boarded the ship for a voyage to Subic Bay where they continued the training process.

Valley Forge returned to the Da Nang area on 8 July and resumed flying helicopter support for Marine ground forces in the northern I Corps area. The ship took evasive action to avoid an approaching typhoon and then began preparations for an amphibious operation. Operation Brave Armada began on 24 July with a helicopter-borne assault on suspected Viet Cong and North Vietnamese positions in Quang Ngai Province. Valley Forge remained in the Quang Ngai-Chu Lai area to support this attack until its completion on 7 August. She then steamed to Da Nang to debark her marines.

General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr., the Commandant of the Marine Corps, visited Valley Forge that same day. The ship sailed for Okinawa on 13 August arriving four days later and debarking her helicopter squadron before getting underway again to evade another typhoon. She proceeded to Hong Kong, dropping anchor there on 22 August, the day on which she received a message announcing her forthcoming inactivation. She returned to Da Nang on 3 September to load material for shipment to the United States and sailed that evening for Yokosuka for three days of upkeep before leaving the Far East. Valley Forge got underway from Yokosuka on 11 September and anchored at Long Beach on 22 September. After leave and upkeep, she offloaded ammunition and equipment at NWS Seal Beach and NS San Diego.

The ship returned to Long Beach on 31 October to prepare for decommissioning. This process continued through the new year; and on 15 January 1970, Valley Forge was placed out of commission. Her name was struck from the Navy List on the same day. After the failure of attempts to raise funds for using the ship as a museum, she was sold on 29 October 1971 to the Nicolai Joffre Corporation, of Beverly Hills, California, for scrap. Awards Valley Forge was awarded eight battle stars for Korean War service and nine for Vietnam War service, as well as three Navy Unit Commendations.

Silent Running film location While at Long Beach, from 14–28 February 1971, the interior of the aircraft carrier was used as a shooting location for filming the 1971 science fiction film Silent Running. The central location of the film is the "Valley Forge" Space Freighter, a 2,000 ft (610 m) long space-bound cargo freighter, carrying six large geodesic domes, under which the last forests of Earth are kept. The producers of the film were searching for pre-existing locations which could represent the cargo deck, control rooms, and living quarters of a fictional "space freighter."

Building sets on Hollywood sound stages would have been prohibitively expensive, so in order to minimize the impact on the film's minimal budget, various large interior locations were investigated, including warehouses, cargo ships, and oil tankers. After contacting the United States Navy with a query about the use of aircraft carriers, the producers were directed to several decommissioned Essex-class carriers awaiting scrapping at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, including the USS Valley Forge, and fellow carriers USS Philippine Sea and USS Princeton. The type of location proved to be perfect for the film, the Valley Forge was selected, and a deal was struck with the Navy. In honor of the filming location, the notional space freighter in the film was christened Valley Forge. Her hangar deck was featured in the film as a cargo hold, which was repainted and filled with polystyrene modules representing futuristic cargo containers. Her flight command area was heavily modified to represent the control room and living quarters of the fictional space ship crew. Bulkheads were cut out and replaced with wider passageways to allow for camera and actor movement. Set pieces, computer consoles, and various props were moved in to dress the ship as the space freighter. The production crew was allowed to do anything they wanted with the ship, as long as no metal was removed. All power and water had to be imported, as the crew was not allowed to use ship power. Filming was hampered by the tight confines of the carrier, necessitating innovations in the filming process. Eight months after filming wrapped, Valley Forge was sold for scrap in October 1971. References

NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive

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Contributed by Mike Smolinski

USS VALLEY FORGE   (CV-45)
later

CVA-45, CVS-45 and LPH-8


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Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Echo - Uniform
Tactical Voice Radio Call: "BEAR CAT"
Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons

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Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Navy Unit Commendation
2nd Row: Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation [LPH] / National Defense Service Medal (2) [CV/LPH] / Korean Service Medal (8 stars)
3rd Row: Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal [LPH] / Vietnam Service Medal (9 stars) [LPH] / Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Medal with Palm) [LPH]
4th Row: United Nations Korean Medal / Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal [LPH] / Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)
CLASS - ESSEX (Long Hull) AKA TICONDEROGA
Displacement 27,100 Tons, Dimensions, 888' (oa) x 93' x 28' 7" (Max)
Armament 12 x 5"/38AA, 32 x 40mm, 46 x 20mm, 82 Aircraft.
Armor, 4" Belt, 2 1/2" Hanger deck, 1 1/2" Deck, 1 1/2" Conning Tower.
Machinery, 150,000 SHP; Westinghouse Geared Turbines, 4 screws
Speed, 33 Knots, Crew 3448.

Essex Class (*) Aircraft Carrier
Ordered Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Stricken
14 June 1943 14 Sept. 1943 8 July 1945 3 Nov. 1946 15 Jan. 1970 15 Jan. 1970
Builder: Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA
(*) "Long Hull" group, aka Ticonderoga Class

Click On Image 
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Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
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87k The future USS Valley Forge (CV-45) under construction at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA. View of bow, looking aft, Wednesday, 15 November 1944. Ron Reeves
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85k The future USS Valley Forge (CV-45) under construction at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA. View of stern, looking forward, Wednesday, 4 April 1945. Ron Reeves
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81k The future USS Valley Forge (CV-45) under construction at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA. View of stern, looking forward, Friday, 8 June 1945. Ron Reeves
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68k The future USS Valley Forge (CV-45) under construction at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA. View of bow, looking aft, Monday, 22 October 1945. Ron Reeves
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81k Undated, as completed. USN
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147k USS Valley Forge (CV-45) underway with CVAG-11 aboard, possibly during her World Cruise, 9 October 1947–11 June 1948. Tommy Trampp
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97k The Sydney Harbor Bridge comes into view as USS Valley Forge (CV-45) approaches Sydney, Australia, first port of call on a training and good will cruise in Pacific waters, circa January–March 1948. Valley Forge was flagship of Rear Admiral H.M. Martin, Commander, Task Force 38. Planes on deck include F8F Bearcat fighters and TBM Avenger bombers. In the left background are two Royal Australian Navy cruisers. HMAS Australia is at the far left. HMAS Shropshire is beyond and somewhat further to the right. This photo was released for publication on 27 March 1948. Official U.S. Navy photograph, from the collection of the Naval History & Heritage Command (# NH 96950). Courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
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157k At Gibraltar, April-May 1948, during her cruise around the World. Edwin Kaukali
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115k Four F8F Bearcat fighters fly past USS Valley Forge (CV-45), 28 April 1948. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (#80-G-705399). NHC
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58k We had just come back into SF Bay following one of the largest post WW2 exercises in 1948. The total number of ships included all the West Coast carriers, Boxer, Antietam, Valley Forge, Princeton, and Tarawa. Boxer, Valley Forge, and Tarawa went into SF the others into San Diego. Our force attacked the West Coast from Hawaii, the other force was defending. Tim Leary PH1 USN Ret (1945-1965)
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215k USS Valley Forge (CV-45) along with USS William C. Lawe (DD-763), USS William M. Wood (DD-715), USS Lloyd Thomas (DD-764) and USS Keppler (DD-765) at Pearl Harbor during their 1948 World Cruise. (Thanks to Andrew P. for identifying the location.) Bob Bush
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123k View of the carrier's island, with members of the American Ordnance Association visiting on board, while the ship was operating near Long Beach, California, 27 April 1949. An F8F-2 Bearcat fighter is parked alongside the island. Note large SX radar antenna atop the tripod mast, and many onlookers standing on the island walkways. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-K-9904). Scott Dyben
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147k Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat fighters prepare to take off from USS Valley Forge (CV-45) in September 1949. This appears to be a VIP demonstration, as there are a large number of civilians watching from the island walkways. The two F8F-2s in front are Bureau #s 121746 (first plane) and 121722. Note men standing by the wheel chocks, and flight deck tractors standing by at left. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-427668). BuNo 121746, modex V01, is the commanding officer's aircraft, assigned to CDR David R. Flynn (thanks to Robert Hurst). Scott Dyben
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34k Port bow view of USS Valley Forge (CV-45) (photo # USN-104625). NHC
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133k Aboard USS Valley Forge (CV-45), flight deck crewmen wheel carts of rockets past a Vought F4U-4B fighter, while arming planes for strikes against North Korean targets in July 1950. This plane is Bureau # 97503. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the All Hands collection at the Naval History & Heritage Command (# NH 96976). Robert Hurst
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189k First Korean War Carrier Air Strikes, 3-4 July 1950. A North Korean railroad train is attacked just south of Pyongyang by planes from the joint U.S.-British Task Force 77, 4 July 1950. The carriers involved were USS Valley Forge (CV-45) and HMS Triumph.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-417148).

NHC
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107k Wŏnsan Oil Refinery, Wŏnsan, North Korea, burning after being struck by USS Valley Forge (CV-45) aircraft on 18 July 1950. Photograph may have been taken on 19 July, when smoke from these fires was visible from the carrier, operating at sea off the Korean east coast.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-418592).

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139k Grumman F9F-3 "Panther", of Fighter Squadron 52 (VF-52), taxies forward on USS Valley Forge (CV-45) to be catapulted for strikes on targets along the east coast of Korea, 19 July 1950. Note details of the ship's island, including scoreboard at left.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-428152).
Scott Dyben
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71k USS Valley Forge (CV-45) (left) and USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) (center) at their anchorages at Sasebo, Japan, during Korean War resupply activities, 23 August 1950. The ship in the right distance is USS Rochester (CA-124).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-418734).

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153k Douglas AD Skyraider attack planes from USS Valley Forge (CV-45), fire 5-inch rockets at a North Korean field position. Photo is dated 24 October 1950.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-422387).

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93k USS Valley Forge (CV-45) and USS Leyte (CV-32) moored at Sasebo, Japan, circa October-November 1950. USS Hector (AR-7) is moored beyond the two carriers, with other U.S. and British warships in the distance.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-426270).

Scott Dyben
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163k United Nations ships assigned to support military operations in Korea pictured at anchor in Sasebo, Japan, during a break in the action. Pictured from front to back: the aircraft transport HMS Unicorn (R72), the light cruiser USS Juneau (CLAA-119), the aircraft carriers USS Valley Forge (CV-45) and USS Leyte (CV-32), and the repair ships USS Hector (AR-7) and USS Jason (ARH-1). The photo was taken in late 1950 or early 1951, as this was the only time that Leyte operated off Korea.

U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1999.272.030.

Robert Hurst
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139k Planes from Carrier Air Group (CVG) 2 prepare to launch from USS Valley Forge (CV-45), circa 6 December 1950–26 March 1951. Planes closer to camera are F4U-4 Corsairs from VF-24 "Corsairs" (modex M400 series), VF-63 "Fighting Redcocks" (M200), and VF-64 "Free Lancers" (M100). Skyraiders are in the background—an AD-2 from VA-65 "Fist of the Fleet" (modex M500 series) can be identified in the left background. Gary Schreffler
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128k Crewmen use flight deck tractors with power brooms to sweep snow from the carrier's flight deck, during operations off Korea, circa early 1951. Photo is dated 8 May 1951, but Valley Forge ended her second Korean War deployment in late March of that year. Plane parked in the foreground is a F4U-4 Corsair fighter. Those on the forward flight deck are an AD Skyraider attack plane and a HO3S helicopter.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-428267).

Scott Dyben
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139k Crewmen participate in a snowball fight, while clearing snow from the carrier's flight deck during operations off Korea, circa early 1951. Photo is dated 8 May 1951, but Valley Forge ended her second Korean War deployment in late March of that year. Planes parked on deck are F4U-4 Corsair fighters. That at left, with rockets on its wing, is Bureau # 81150.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-428270).

Scott Dyben
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119k USS Jupiter (AVS-8) comes alongside USS Valley Forge (CV-45) to transfer supplies, during operations off the Korean Coast. Photo dated 21 February 1951.

U.S. Navy photo, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives (# 80-G-427412).

Naval History & Heritage Command
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143k This photo of USS Valley Forge (CV-45) is believed to have been taken in the spring or summer of 1951, while conducting CarQuals off the West Coast. Planes on deck are AD Skyraiders of VMA-121 "Green Knights" and F4U Corsairs of VMF-451 "Blue Devils." Robert M. Cieri
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84k "The pictures are of two of the three Banshee jets that came aboard [Composite Squadron (VC) 61, tail code "PP"]. The third one was blown overboard by a huge storm that hit during the night hours because it wasn't tied down good enough."

Since the pictures show F9F Panthers from VF-52 (tail code "S") and VF-111 (tail code "V"), they were probably taken during Valley Forge's third Korean War cruise, 15 October 1951–3 July 1952.

Marion J. Leif
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152k This appears to be a VF-653 "Dragons" F4U-4 Corsair being readied for launching. Time frame would be USS Valley Forge's third Korean cruise, 15 October 1951–3 July 1952. Craig Penney, FTM2, USS Connole (DE 1056),
son of ET2 Winfred (Fred) Penney
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126k This appears to be a VF-111 "Sundowners" F9F-2 Panther recovering aboard USS Valley Forge (CV-45). Time frame would be the carrier's third Korean cruise, 15 October 1951–3 July 1952.
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31k Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, February 1952. Don Garner
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193k View of the city of Wŏnsan, North Korea, after over a year's bombardment by United Nations' forces, as seen from a USS Valley Forge (CV-45), aircraft on 16 February 1952. Note extensive damage, including craters from bombs and shells.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-439287).

NHC
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92k USS Valley Forge (CV-45) taking water over the bow and onto her flight deck, while operating in heavy seas off Korea, 21 March 1952.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-440889).

Scott Dyben
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109k The first of a flight of eight Bell HTL-3 helicopters rise from the flight deck of USS Valley Forge (CVA-45), off the Japanese coast, circa early January 1953. Valley Forge transported these aircraft to the Far East for use in evacuating Korean War battle casualties. The original photo is dated 3 January 1953. Its caption stated that this "was the largest mass take-off of helicopters in the history of Naval aviation".

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (#NH 96952).

Naval History & Heritage Command, via Robert Hurst
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110k USS Valley Forge (CVA-45) operating in stormy weather off the Korean coast, January 1953.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-642507).

NHC
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131k Aludra (AF-55) conducting an UNREP (Underway Replenishment) with the destroyer Theodore E. Chandler (DD-717) and attack aircraft carrier Valley Forge (CVA-45) in the Pacific, early 1953, with F9F Panther jets of VF-51 and/or VF-53. US Navy photo. Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
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154k USS Valley Forge as an Anti-Submarine Warfare Support Carrier (CVS), circa 1954–1955, with the AF Guardians of Antisubmarine Squadron 36 (VS-36) on deck. David Buell
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174k
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27k USS Valley Forge (CVS-45) refueling from USS Nantahala (AO-60). Photo dated 1955. Tommy Trampp
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104k USS Valley Forge (CVS-45) in harbor, 20 January 1956, with crewmen paraded on her flight deck spelling out the ship's nickname: "HAPPY VALLEY".

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-689246).

Scott Dyben
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190k Official U.S. Navy photo of USS Valley Forge (CVS-45) underway, dated 17 May 1957. This picture appears to have been taken in the Caribbean or Western Atlantic, with S2F Trackers of Antisubmarine Squadron 36 (VS-36) "Gray Wolves" and HSS-1 Seabats of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 5 (HS-5) Det. 52 parked on the flight deck.

Photo USN 1016126, U.S. Naval Photographic Center, U.S. Naval Station, Anacostia, Washington, D.C.

Robert M. Cieri
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88k USS Valley Forge (CVS-45) operating at sea with S2F and HRS aircraft on her flight deck, 6 July 1957.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History & Heritage Command (# NH 96938).

Richard Miller, BMCS, USNR (Ret.)
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112k In early January 1959, while operating in the stormy North Atlantic, Valley Forge encountered heavy seas that broke over her forward flight deck, tearing away part of its port side. This was another dramatic example of the vulnerabilities of the "open bow" design typical of World War II aircraft carrier design (see also NS021252, NS021846 and NS022011), a problem solved by the enclosed "hurricane bow" fitted to carriers newly built or modernized during the mid-1950s and later. Valley Forge's damage was quickly repaired, using flight deck structure cannibalized from the decommissioned USS Franklin (CVS-13).

Top: Photograph taken on 6 January 1959, looking forward. Note ship's hull number ("45") painted on the flight deck, with the left part of the "4" folded by the broken decking. Official U.S. Navy photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 96971).

Middle: Photograph taken on 8 January 1959. Official U.S. Navy photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 96956).

Bottom: Forward port portion of the flight deck of USS Franklin (CVS-13) is hoisted into place on the Valley Forge. Photograph was taken on 24 January 1959. Official U.S. Navy photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 96972).

NHC
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107k
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109k
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139k Official U.S. Navy photo of USS Valley Forge (CVS-45) underway, dated May 1959. S2F-1 & -2 Trackers from VS-27 "Pelicans" and HSS-1 Seabats from HS-3 "Tridents" on deck. Jim Karr
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91k Task Group ALFA, formation portrait of the anti-submarine group's ships and aircraft, taken during 1959 exercises in the Atlantic, while Secretary of the Navy William B. Franke was embarked. Ships include the group flagship, USS Valley Forge (CVS-45) in center, two submarines, and seven destroyers. Identifiable among the latter are USS Eaton (DDE-510) at left front, USS Beale (DDE-471) following Eaton, USS Waller (DDE-466) in the center foreground, and USS Conway (DDE-507) at right front. Aircraft overhead include two formations of S2F Trackers from the Valley Forge air group, plus one shore-based P2V Neptune from Norfolk Naval Air Station, Virginia. Two HSS-1 helicopters are flying low, directly over the submarines. Official U.S. Navy photograph (# USN 1043095). Fred Weiss
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105k As above, different view (photo # USN 1043094). Fred Weiss
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144k USS Valley Forge (CVS-45) steams in formation with other units of Task Force ALFA, during anti-submarine exercises in the Atlantic, 1959. The other ships present are (from left): USS Murray (DDE-576), USS Beale (DDE-471), USS Bache (DDE-470), USS Eaton (DDE-510), USS Conway (DDE-507), USS Cony (DDE-508) and USS Waller (DDE-466). Photograph was released for publication on 3 August 1959. Official U.S. Navy photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 96944). Fred Weiss
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125k Pawcatuck (AO-108) refueling Valley Forge (CVS-45) and Eaton (DDE-510), 18 June 1959. Fourteen S2F anti-submarine planes and two HSS-1 helicopters are parked on the carrier's flight deck and deck-edge elevator. US Navy photo # USN 1043955. NHC
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108k Plaque of the ship's insignia, as used prior to 1959.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph (photo # NH 76443-KN).

NHC
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98k USS Valley Forge (CVS-45) at anchor, July 1960, with Antisubmarine Carrier Air Group (CVSG) 56.

Photo Galilea.

Jaume Cifré Sánchez
Miscellany
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10k The science-fiction cult movie Silent Running (1971; starring Bruce Dern; directed by Douglas Trumbull) was shot in 32 days aboard the stricken Valley Forge. The Making of "Silent Running" documentary (1972) has interesting footage of the ship. -

Commanding Officers
01 CAPT. Melvin, Clarence Agee 7 September 1960 - 16 September 1961
02 CAPT. Jackson, Henry Smith, USN (38) 16 September 1961 - 31 October 1962
03 CAPT. Fidel, John Anthony 31 October 1962 - 20 September 1963
04 CAPT. Parks, John Edward 20 September 1963 - 24 September 1964
05 CAPT. Conatser, Charles Neal 24 September 1964 - 7 August 1965
06 CAPT. Madson, Richard Oscar 7 August 1965 - 12 August 1966
07 CAPT. Carr, Charles Harrison 12 August 1966 - 1. December 1967
08 CAPT. Payne, Paul Elbert 1 December 1967 - 25 November 1968
09 CAPT. Henderson, David William 25 November 1968 - 11 December 1969
10 CDR. Schock, Robert Edson 11 December 1969 - 15 January 1970

Valley Forge (CV-45)

1946-1970

(CV-45: displacement 36,380 tons; length 888 feet; beam 93 feet; draft 28 feet, 7 inches; speed 32.7 knots; complement 3,448; armament 12 5-inch, 72 40 mm.; aircraft 80; cl. Ticonderoga)

USN_Units
DownloadCaption: A 1946 view of Valley Forge (CV-45), with a single Curtiss SB2C-4 Helldiver and two Vought F4U Corsairs on her flight deck. (80-G-703585)

A locality in Chester County, Pa., where the Continental Army suffered bitter cold and privation during the winter of 1777 and 1778 while British troops basked in warmth and plenty in nearby Philadelphia. Yet, because of the inspiring example of leaders like Washington and skillful training by drill instructors like von Steuben, the American Army emerged from its winter encampment with renewed self confidence, courage, and fighting ability. The name Valley Forge has since become a symbol of the triumph of American patriotism and self-sacrifice.
_______

Valley Forge (CV-37), an Essex-class aircraft carrier, was renamed Princeton (q.v) on 21 November 1944.

I

Valley Forge (CV-45), built with money raised by the citizens of Philadelphia in a special war bond drive, was laid down on 14 September 1943 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on 8 July 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Arthur A. Vandegrift, wife of the Commandant of the Marine Corps; and commissioned on 3 November 1946, Capt. John W. Harris in command.

Following fitting out, the new carrier got underway on 24 January 1947 for shakedown training which took her via Norfolk to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Canal Zone. She completed the cruise on 18 March and returned to Philadelphia for post-shakedown overhaul. The ship left Philadelphia on 14 July, headed south, and transited the Panama Canal on 5 August. She arrived at her home port, San Diego, on the 14th and joined the Pacific Fleet. Following the embarkation of Air Group 11 and intensive air and gunnery training in coastal waters, the aircraft carrier, flying the flag of Rear Admiral Harold L. Martin, Commander of Task Force 38, got underway for Hawaii on 9 October. The task force devoted almost three months to training operations out of Pearl Harbor before sailing for Australia on 16 January 1948. After a visit to Sydney, the American warships conducted exercises with units of the Royal Australian Navy and then steamed to Hong Kong.

During a voyage from the British crown colony to Tsingtao, China, orders arrived directing the task force to return home via the Atlantic. With her escorting destroyers, the ship continued the round-the-world trip with calls at Hong Kong; Manila; Singapore; Trincomalee, Ceylon; and Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia. After operating for a time in the Persian Gulf, she became the largest aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal. The ship finally arrived at San Diego, via the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Panama Canal.

Valley Forge deployed to the Far East, departing the west coast on 1 May 1950.

June 25, 1950

While anchored in Hong Kong harbor on 25 June, the warship received electrifying news that North Korean forces had begun streaming across the 38th parallel into South Korea. Departing Hong Kong the next day, the carrier steamed north to Subic Bay, where she provisioned, fueled, and set her course for Korea.

July 23, 1950

The first carrier air strike of the Korean conflict was launched from Valley Forge's flight deck on 3 July 1950. Outnumbered and outgunned, the South Korean troops battled desperately against veritable tides of communist invaders. Waves of Douglas AD Skyraiders and Vought F4U Corsairs struck the North Korean airfield at Pyongyang while Grumman F9F-2 Panthers flew top cover. Tons of bombs from the attacking American planes pounded hangars, fuel storages, parked Russian-built aircraft, and railroad marshalling yards. Meanwhile, the escorting Panthers downed two Yak-9's and damaged another.

In spite of attempts by United Nations forces to interdict the steady flow of communist infantry and armor, the North Koreans steadily pushed the defending South Koreans back into a tenuous defense perimeter around Pusan.

September 18, 1950

On 18 September 1950, the American landing at Inchon outflanked the communist forces while United Nations forces broke out of the perimeter to the south. During this period of bitter struggle, Valley Forge's Air Group 5 made numerous daily strikes against North Korean targets. Troop concentrations, defensive positions, and supply and communications lines were repeatedly "fair game" for the bombs of the Skyraiders and the rocket and cannon fire from the Panthers and Corsairs. Over 5,000 combat sorties delivered 2,000 tons of bombs and rockets between 3 July and 19 November 1950.

Returning to San Diego for overhaul, Valley Forge arrived on the west coast on 1 December, only to have sailing orders urgently direct her back to Korea. In the interim, between the carrier's leaving station and her projected west coast overhaul, the communist Chinese had entered the fray, launching a powerful offensive which sent United Nations' troops reeling back to the southward. Accordingly, Valley Forge hurriedly embarked a new air group, replenished, andsailed on 6 December for the Far East. Rendezvousing with TF 77 three days before Christmas of 1950, Valley Forge recommenced air strikes on the 23d, the first of three months of concentrated air operations against the advancing communist juggernaut. During her second deployment, the ship launched some 2,580 sorties in which her planes delivered some 1,500 tons of bombs.

The communist blitzkrieg wavered to a halt by the end of January 1951, and United Nations forces once again pushed the invaders northward past the strategic 38th parallel. After nearly 10 months continuous duty in frequently chilly and always inhospitable Korean coastal waters, Valley Forge sailed for the United States on 29 March 1951. Following a major overhaul that lasted into autumn, the ship emerged to become the first American carrier to return to Korea for a third deployment.

On 11 December 1951, Valley Forge launched her first air strikes in railway interdiction. Rockets, cannon fire, and bombs from the ship's embarked air group, and those of her sister ships also on station, hammered at North Korean railway targets: lines, junctions, marshalling yards, and rolling stock. Anything that could possibly permit the enemy to move his forces rapidly by rail came under attack. By June, Valley Forge's train-busting Skyraiders, Corsairs, and Panthers had severed communist rail lines in at least 5,346 places.

Valley Forge returned to the United States in the summer of 1952 but was again deployed to the Far East late in the year. In October 1952, she was reclassified an attack carrier and redesignated CVA-45. On 2 January 1953, she began the new year with strikes against communist supply dumps and troop-billeting areas behind the stalemated front lines. While the propeller-driven Skyraiders and Corsairs delivered tons of bombs on their targets, the jet Panthers conducted flak-suppression missions using a combination of cannon fire and rockets to knock out troublesome enemy gun sites. This close teamwork between old- and new-style planes made possible regular strikes against Korea's eastern coastlines and close-support missions to aid embattled Marine Corps or Army forces on the often bitterly contested battle lines. Valley Forge air groups dropped some 3,700 tons of bombs on the enemy before the ship left the Korean coast and returned toSan Diego on 25 June 1953.

After a west-coast overhaul, Valley Forge was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet and reclassified, this time to an antisubmarine warfare support carrier, and redesignated CVS-45. She was refitted for her new duties at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and then rejoined the Fleet in January 1954. The face-lifted carrier soon got underway to conduct exercises to develop and perfect the techniques and capabilities needed to carry out her new duties.

Conducting local operations and antisubmarine warfare exercises, Valley Forge operated off the east coast through late 1956, varied by a visit to England and the eastern Atlantic for exercises late in 1954. Her operations during this period also included midshipman and reservists' training cruises and occasional visits to the Caribbean.

Carrying out training operations out of Guantanamo Bay in 1957, Valley Forge accomplished a naval "first" in October, when she embarked a Marine detachment and twin-engined HR2S-1 Mojave helicopters. Experimenting with the new concept of "vertical envelopment," Valley Forge's helicopters air-lifted the marines to the beachhead and then returned them to the ship in history's first ship-based air assault exercise. On 1 April 1958, Rear Admiral John S. Thach (the pilot who, early in World War II, devised the famous "Thach Weave" fighter tactic which was used so successfully by American Navy pilots against the Japanese Zero fighter planes) hoisted his two-star flag to the carrier's main as the ship became flagship of Task Group (TG) Alpha. This group, built around Valley Forge,included eight destroyers, two submarines, and one squadron each of antisubmarine helicopters, planes, and a land-based Lockheed P2V Neptune. A significant development in naval tactics, TG Alpha concentrated solely on developing and perfecting new devices and techniques for countering the potential menace of enemy submarines in an age of nuclear propulsion and deep-diving submersibles.

Valley Forge remained engaged in operations with TG Alpha through the early fall of 1959, when she then entered the New York Naval Shipyard for repairs. The ship returned to sea on 21 January 1960, bound for maneuvers in the Caribbean. During her ensuing operations, the carrier served as the launching platform for Operation "Skyhook." This widely publicized scientific experiment involved the launching of three of the largest balloons ever fabricated, carrying devices to measure and record primary cosmic ray emissions at an altitude of between 18 and 22 miles above the earth's surface.

Following a deployment in the eastern Mediterranean, during which she called at ports in Spain, Italy, and France,Valley Forge returned to Norfolk to resume local operations on 30 August, continuing antisubmarine exercises as flagship of TG Alpha through the fall of 1961. The carrier participated in a Project "Mercury" operation, and her helicopters retrieved the space caosule launched by a rocket from Cape Canaveral on 19 December. Two days later off Cape Hatteras, inresponse to an SOS, Valley Forge sped to tanker SS Pine Ridge, which had broken in two during a storm. While the survivors of the stricken ship clung tenaciously to the after half of the tanker, the carrier's helicopters shuttled back and forth to pick up the men in distress. Soon, all 28 survivors were safe on board Valley Forge.

Entering the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 6 March 1961 for overhaul and modification to an amphibious assault ship, Valley Forge was reclassified as LPH-8 on 1 July 1961 and, soon thereafter, began refresher training in the Caribbean. She returned to Hampton Roads in September and trained in the Virginia capes area with newly embarked, troop-carrying helicopters. In October, the ship, as a part of the Atlantic Fleet's ready amphibious force, proceeded south to waters off Hispaniola and stood by from 21 to 25 October and from 18 to 29 November to be ready to evacuate any American nationals from the Dominican Republic, should that measure become necessary during the struggle for power which afflicted that nation in the months following the assassination of the long-established dictator, Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo.

After returning home late in the year, Valley Forge sailed from Norfolk on 6 January 1962, bound for San Diego and duty with the Pacific Fleet. At the end of three months of training off the west coast, the amphibious assault ship steamed westward for duty in the Far East with the 7th Fleet. With the flag of the Commander, Ready Amphibious Task Group, 7th Fleet, at her main, Valley Forge closed the coast of Indochina under orders to put ashore her embarked Marines. In Laos, communist Pathet Lao forces had renewed their assault on the Royal Laotian Government; and the latter requested President Kennedy to land troops to avert a feared, full-scale communist invasion of the country. The amphibious assault ship airlifted her Marines into the country on 17 May; and, when the crisis had abated a few weeks later, carried them out again in July.

For the remainder of 1962, the ship operated in the Far East before returning to the west coast of the United States to spend the first half of 1963 in amphibious exercises off the coast of California and in the Hawaiian Islands.

Valley Forge entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard on 1 July 1963 for a Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization overhaul, including the installation of improved electronics and facilities for transporting and handling troops and troop helicopters. Putting to sea again on 27 January 1964, the newly modernized assault ship rejoined the fleet and, following local operations and training, departed Long Beach once more for another WestPac deployment.

She stopped at Pearl Harbor and Okinawa, en route to Hong Kong, and then steamed to Taiwan. In June, she joined ships of other SEATO navies in amphibious exercises and then visited the Philippines where in July she was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E."

On 2 August 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked destroyer Maddox (DD-731) in the Gulf of Tonkin.Valley Forge then spent 57 days at sea off the Vietnamese coast in readiness to land her Marines should the occasion demand.

Returning, via Subic Bay, Okinawa, and Midway, to Long Beach on 5 November, Valley Forge made two round-trip voyages to Okinawa carrying Marines and aircraft before commencing a WestPac deployment in the South China Sea in the fall of 1965. With a Marine landing force embarked and flying the flag of Commander, Amphibious Squadron 3, Valley Forge conducted intensive training exercises in the Philippines while preparing for service in Vietnam.

In mid-November, the amphibious assault ship stood by in reserve during Operation "Blue Marlin" and then airlifted her Marines ashore for Operations "Dagger Thrust" and "Harvest Moon" before spending the Christmas season "in the crisp freshness of an Okinawan winter." After embarking a fresh Marine battalion landing force and a medium transport helicopter squadron, she sailed for Vietnam on 3 January 1966. Following pauses at Subic Bay and Chu Lai, Valley Forge arrived off the Vietnamese coast on the 27th and, two days later, launched her landing forces to take part in Operation "Double Eagle."

Remaining on station off the coast, the ship provided logistic and medical support with inbound helicopters supplying the men ashore and outbound "choppers" evacuating casualties for medical treatment back on the ship. Reembarking her landing team on 17 February, Valley Forge proceeded northward, while her Marines took a breather. The second phase of "Double Eagle" commenced two days later, and the ship's Marines again went ashore via helicopter to attackenemy concentrations.

By February 26th, the operation had drawn to a close; and Valley Forge reembarked her Marines and sailed for Subic Bay. Following a round trip to Danang, the carrier steamed back to the west coast for an overhaul and local training along the California coast before again deploying to WestPac. Upon her return to Vietnamese waters, the ship took part in operations off Danang before she again returned to the United States at the end of the year 1966.

After undergoing a major overhaul and conducting training off the west coast, Valley Forge returned to the Far East again in November 1967 and took part in Operation "Fortress Ridge," launched on 21 December. Air-landing her troops at a point just south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), the ship provided continual supply and medical evacuation (MedEvac) services for this "search and destroy" operation aimed at eliminating North Vietnamese and Viet Cong units which threatened American and South Vietnamese troops. The completion of this operation on the day before Christmas 1967 did not mark the end of Valley Forge's operations for this year, however, as she was again in action during Operation "Beaver Tooth," near Quang Tri in northern South Vietnam.

Upkeep at Danang preceded her deployment to her new station off Dong Hoi, where she provided her necessary resupply and MedEvac support for Allied troops operating against communist forces. Operation "Badger Catch," commencing on 23 January 1968 and extending through 18 February, took off for the Cua Viet River, south of the DMZ, before the ship set her course for Subic Bay and much-needed maintenance.

Subsequently returning to the fray in Vietnam, Valley Forge operated as "Helo Haven" for Marine helicopter units whose shore bases had come under attack by communist ground and artillery fire. During Operation "Badger Catch II," from 6 March to 14 April, Marine "choppers" landed on board the carrier while their land bases were being cleared of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops. Following a routine refit at Subic Bay, the ship took part in Operation "Badger Catch III" from 28 April to 3 June. She then moved to Danang and prepared for Operation "Swift Saber" which took place from 7 to 14 June. Landing Exercise "Hilltop XX" occupied the ship early in July. Then, Valley Forge transferred her marines and helicopters to Tripoli (LPH-10) and headed home via Hong Kong, Okinawa, and Pearl Harbor. She reached Long Beach on 3 August.

Following five months on the west coast which included local operations and an overhaul, the amphibious assault ship returned to the Far East for the last time, departing Long Beach on 30 January 1969.

At San Diego, she embarked a cargo of Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters for delivery to transport squadrons in Vietnam. The ship stopped at Pearl Harbor and paused near Guam while one of her helicopters carried a stricken crewman ashore for urgent surgery. She loaded special landing-force equipment at Subic Bay and embarked the Commander, Special Landing Forces Bravo and a squadron of Marine CH-46 transport helicopters. On 10 March, the carrierbegan operating in support of Operation "Defiant Measure," steaming off Danang as her helicopters flew missions "on the beach." This was completed by the 18th, and Valley Forge debarked her helicopters before steaming to Subic Bay for upkeep.

After her return to Danang on 3 May, the amphibious assault ship reembarked her helicopters as well as part of a battalion landing team of Marines who had been taking part in fighting ashore. The carrier continued to operate in the Danang area during the weeks that followed, her helicopters flying frequent support missions, and her Marines preparing for further combat landings.

During late May and early June, Valley Forge received visits from Secretary of the Navy John Chafee and Vice Admiral William F. Bringle, Commander, 7th Fleet. She offloaded her Marines at Danang on 10 June and embarked a battalion landing team for transportation to Okinawa, where she arrived on the 16th. The landing team conducted amphibious exercises with Valley Forge for 11 days and boarded the ship for a voyage to Subic Bay where they continued the training process. Valley Forge returned to the Danang area on 8 July and resumed flying helicopter support for Marine ground forces in the northern I Corps area. The ship took evasive action to avoid an approaching typhoon and then began preparations for an amphibious operation.

Operation "Brave Armada" began on 24 July with a helicopter-borne assault on suspected Viet Cong and North Vietnamese positions in Quang Ngai Province. Valley Forge remained in the Quang Ngai-Chu Lai area to support this attack until its completion on 7 August. She then steamed to Danang to debark her Marines. General Leonard F. Chapman, the Commandant of the Marine Corns, visited Valley Forge that same day. The ship sailed for Okinawa on the 13th,arriving four days later and debarking her helicopter squadron before getting underway again to evade another typhoon. She proceeded to Hong Kong, dropping anchor there on 22 August, the day on which she received a message announcing her forthcoming inac-tivation. She returned to Danang on 3 September to load material for shipment to the United States and sailed that evening for Yokosuka for three days of upkeep before leaving the Far East.

Valley Forge got underway from Yokosuka on 11 September and anchored at Long Beach on the 22d. After leave and upkeep, she offloaded ammunition and equipment at Seal Beach and San Diego. The ship returned to Long Beach on 31 October to prepare for decommissioning. This process continued through the new year; and, on 15 January 1970, Valley Forge was placed out of commission. She was turned over to the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at San Diego. Her name was struck from the Navy list on the same day.

While at San Diego, the interior of the aircraft carrier was used as a location for the filming of the 1971 science fiction film "Silent Running," shooting taking place there in February 1971. After the failure of attempts to raise funds for using the ship as a museum, she was sold on 29 October 1971 to the Nicolai Joffre Corp., of Beverly Hills, Calif., for scrap.

Valley Forge was awarded eight battle stars for Korean War service and nine for Vietnam service, as well as three Navy Unit Commendations.

 

29 March 2004 

 

Published:Tue Nov 17 09:26:45 EST 2015


Korea

July 16, 1950

l, On 16 July 19501 the VALLEY FOP.GE 1 with Air Greup FIVE embarked,
lef't Buckner Bay, Okinawa, sortied vil"ith elements of the SEVENTH
Fleet, and proceeded for tho sea of Japan to support United states
Forces in snuth Korea in accordance ·with commander sEV:r:!::;.rii Fleot
Secret OpOrdor 10-50.

July 18, 2950

At dav:n on 18 July af'ter arriving 60 milos
off tho coast of Korea, northeast of Pohang, Target comt.at Air patrCJl
and Air Group support :r.rtasions wore launched to support the amphibious
landing of the First Cavalry Division at Pohang. In as much
as no targets WO:t"o availablo, tho support group roturn.Jd to tho ship
after jettisoning their loads at sea. However, Targot combat Air
Patrol was provided ovor tho pohang aroa until dusk. ~JO group
strikes wero thon launched against targets in the ~'Jonson area. On
the morning of tho 19th the air group was again launchod at dawn to
strike North Korean targets. Only propeller aircraft wore lau~ched
for tho afternoon strike. A four-plano soafiro combat Air patrol
and two-plano Firefly Anti-Submarino patrol by tho H.H.s. 'ERIUI::PH
augmented by ono .1~Dl!1 typo from tho VALLEY FORGE was maintained
throughout t~o daylight hours of the 18th and 19th,

Upon completion
of flight operations, Typhoon Bill condition I was sot as directed
by Commander SEVENTH FloCt. A~tor setting condition I, the Task
Force cruised in the sea of Japan

July 20, 1950

until tho afternoon of the 20th
at which time a southward course was taken to pass through Tsushima
strait in order to take position for strikes on tho wast coast of
Korea,

July 22, 1950

Typhoon Condition I was secured during loto afternoon of' tho
21st and preparations woro l:lado for oporotions on tho 22nd. At dawn
on tho 22nd tho Air Group was launched, tho .',Ds aT!d F4Us as cl.oso
air support for tho ground forces in south Koroa ond t~o jots for
targets North of seoul. Tho propeller aircrf.l.ft wore unable to contact
tho close air support controllers on t~c pr~scribcd channels
and attacked secondary targets in tho seoul eroo. Morning and Elftor~
noon strikes wore launched with tho t<:~sk rorco staying in an oroa

appr~imately 100 milos west of tho Korean coast. ~ four-plcno
F4U Combat Air patrol plus nn Anti-submarino Patrol co~sisting of
one .ADW typo aircraft and crno J.D as invostigetor >!1:18 nnintainod
throughout tho day. After recovery of tho afternoon striko gr0~p
about 17")0 1 tho task force heodod southward to rondozvc:us Hi th t~10
NiiVf,SOTA for tho purpose of rcf'uoling ovistion gasolino nn'1 fu-.::1
oil.

July 23, 1950

Tho rendezvous with tho N.;;Vl1SOTi1 was off'octod about 11001
30 miles northeast of nanjo-Gunto, on tho 23rd.

July 24, 1950 0900

Upon completion
of refueling operations, tho task force heeded for tho Port of
sasobo, Japan, to rearm fxom tho u.s.s. GRt.INGER, arriving at Snsobo
at 0900 on tho 24th.

July 24, 1950 2400

After porticlly roarning 1 tho tnsk force loft
soacbo about 2400 on tho 24t~ in accord~nco with conm<Jndor SEVZHTH
Float secret OpQrdor 11~50 and proccodud to u positi~n about 30
miles southeast of Pohang, Korea,

July 25, 26, 1950

whoro close air suppcrt Dissions
wore launched tho 25th and 26th. DUO to cx~octod dotoriorotion in
weather conditions on tho cast co8St of Korea,

July 27, 1950

 the task force spent
tho 27th refueling from tho l'J .. ':V.t,SO'.I'.\ oul onrouto to tho wust coost

July 28 29, 1950

whore close air support missions wore launched frcr.;, o position
approximately 40 miles off tho coast on tho 28th and 29th. Tho
TRim:iPH again furnished cembot .Air patrol and .._",nti-SubnorillC Patrol
for tho period 25 through 29 :ruly augr.10ntod by :.no f4DW ty~o nircraft
from tho VALLEY FORGE.

July 29, 1950

Tho task i'orco deported on tho ovoning of ·
tho 29th for Buckner Bey, Okinowa, to replenish ond roern.

July 30, 1950

Enrout to,
tho task force roi'uolcd from tho l'L'\Vi;SOT.'. on tho 30th o.nd cunC~uctod
!.A firing at sloovos towed by JD typo aircraft f'ur:-.ishud by UTT:ON 7
dotnchmont based at Kadona, Okincwa,

Jully 31, 1950

on tho norni!~g of the 31st.
Tho task force arrived ot Buckner Bc.y 1 Okinawa, about 1500 tho 31st
of July.

June 25, 1950

June 25, 1950

 USS Valley Forge (CV-45) deployed to the Far East, departing the west coast on 1 May 1950. While anchored in Hong Kong harbor on 25 June, the warship received electrifying news that North Korean forces had begun streaming across the 38th parallel into South Korea.

Departing Hong Kong the next day, the carrier steamed south to Subic Bay, where she provisioned, fueled, and set her course for Korea.p

June 25, 1950

The 25th of June found USS Valley Forge (CV-45), with the destroyers USS Fletcher (DDE-445) and USS Radford (DDE-446), in the South China Sea, one day out of Hong Kong en route to the Philippines. Admiral Struble was in Washington; Admiral Hoskins, upon whom command of the Seventh Fleet had devolved, was at Subic Bay; the carrier's commanding officer, Captain Lester K. Rice, was acting as ComCarDiv-3.

The air group of Valley Forge, Carrier Air Group 5, Commander Harvey P. Lanham, was the first in the Navy to attempt the sustained shipboard operation of jet aircraft. Its complement of 86 planes was made up of two jet fighter squadrons with 30 Grumman F9F-2 Panthers; two piston- engined fighter squadrons equipped with the World War II Vought F4U-4B Corsair; and a piston-engined attack squadron of 14 Douglas AD-4 Skyraiders. Over and above these five squadrons the group contained 14 aircraft, principally ADs, which were specially equipped and modified--"configurated" in current Navy jargon--for photographic, night, and radar missions. The fighter squadrons had enjoyed considerable jet experience prior to receiving their Panthers and moving aboard ship; the group as a whole had conducted extensive training in close support of troops with the Marines at Camp Pendleton, California.

June 25, 1950

The Fleet's principal base of operations was on the island of Luzon, where the Navy, following the war, had developed new facilities at Subic Bay and an airfield at Sangley Point. Peacetime operations of the Seventh Fleet were under the control of Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet, Admiral Arthur E. Radford, but standing orders provided that, when operating in Japanese waters or in the event of an emergency, control would pass to Commander Naval Forces Far East. There were, however, certain problems implicit in this arrangement: Admiral Radford's area of responsibility included potential trouble spots outside the limits of the Far East Command; lacking an aviation section on his staff, the control of a carrier striking force and of patrol squadrons would present problems for ComNavFE; Admiral Struble was senior to Admiral Joy.

Although early postwar policy had called for the maintenance of two aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific, the reductions in defense appropriations had made this impossible: for some time prior to January 1950 no carrier had operated west of Pearl; current procedure called for the rotation of single units on six-month tours of duty.  In these circumstances Admiral Struble's Seventh Fleet Striking Force, Task Force 77, was made up of a carrier  "group" containing one carrier, a support "group" containing one cruiser, and a screening group of eight destroyers. The duty carrier in the summer of 1950 was USS Valley Forge (CV-45), an improved postwar version of the Essex class, completed in 1946, with a standard displacement of 27,100 tons, a length of 876 feet, and a speed of 33 knots.

Flagship of Rear Admiral John M. Hoskins, Commander Carrier Division 3, Valley Forge had reported in to the Western Pacific in May, at which time her predecessor, USS Boxer (CV-21), had been returned to the west coast for navy yard availability.

June 25, 1950

The 25th of June found USS Valley Forge (CV-45), with the destroyers USS Fletcher (DDE-445) and USS Radford (DDE-446), in the South China Sea, one day out of Hong Kong en route to the Philippines. Admiral Struble was in Washington; Admiral Hoskins, upon whom command of the Seventh Fleet had devolved, was at Subic Bay; the carrier's commanding officer, Captain Lester K. Rice, was acting as ComCarDiv-3.

The air group of Valley Forge, Carrier Air Group 5, Commander Harvey P. Lanham, was the first in the Navy to attempt the sustained shipboard operation of jet aircraft. Its complement of 86 planes was made up of two jet fighter squadrons with 30 Grumman F9F-2 Panthers; two piston- engined fighter squadrons equipped with the World War II Vought F4U-4B Corsair; and a piston-engined attack squadron of 14 Douglas AD-4 Skyraiders. Over and above these five squadrons the group contained 14 aircraft, principally ADs, which were specially equipped and modified--"configurated" in current Navy jargon--for photographic, night, and radar missions. The fighter squadrons had enjoyed considerable jet experience prior to receiving their Panthers and moving aboard ship; the group as a whole had conducted extensive training in close support of troops with the Marines at Camp Pendleton, California.

The submarine force under the operational control of Commander Seventh Fleet, administratively organized as Task Unit 70.9, consisted of four fleet submarines and a submarine rescue vessel; its principal activity had been in antisubmarine warfare training exercises with units of the Fleet and of Naval Forces Far East. One of the four boats, USS Remora (SS-487), was at Yokosuka on loan to ComNavFE; USS Cabezon (SS-334) was at sea en route from the Philippines to Hong Kong; USS Segundo (SS-398), with Commander Francis W. Scanland, the task unit commander, was at Sangley Point in the Philippines; USS Catfish (SS-339) was at Subic Bay.

The submarine rescue ship USS Florikan (ASR-9)  was at Guam, where she was about to be relieved by USS Greenlet (ASR-10). No submarine tender was stationed in the Western Pacific, but limited quantities of spare parts and torpedo warheads were available from the destroyer tender USS Piedmont (AD-17) at Subic Bay.

Patrol plane activity in the Western Pacific, another Seventh Fleet monopoly, was centralized at Guam under control of Commander Fleet Air Wing 1, Captain Etheridge Grant, who served also as Commander Task Unit 70.6 and Commander Fleet Air Guam.  For long-range search and reconnaissance in the theater Captain Grant had at his disposal two squadrons of patrol aircraft. Patrol Squadron 28, a heavy landplane squadron with nine PB4Y-2 Privateers, the single-tailed Navy modification of the Liberator, was based at Agana, Guam. At Sangley Point, Luzon, Patrol Squadron 47 operated nine Martin PBM-5 Mariner flying boats. In addition to these two squadrons and their supporting organizations, Fleet Air Wing 1 had a small seaplane tender, USS Suisun (AVP-53), which on 25 June was moored in Tanapag Harbor, Saipan.

For Captain Grant the impending crisis would not prove wholly unfamiliar, for the outbreak of war in December 1941 had found him commanding a seaplane tender USS William B. Preston (AVD-7) in the Philippines. But his situation on 25 June was a somewhat scrambled one, for a second Mariner squadron, VP 46, was moving into the area as relief for VP 47, and the take-over process had already begun. Homeward bound, their tour in distant parts completed, the PBM's of VP 47 were widely dispersed. Two were at Yokosuka on temporary duty with Commander Naval Forces Far East,  two were at Sangley Point, two were in the air and on their way, and three had already reached Pearl Harbor.

Such then was America's Western Pacific naval strength in June of 1950. Combat units assigned to ComNavFE and Commander Seventh Fleet totaled one carrier, two cruisers, three destroyer divisions, two patrol squadrons, and a handful of submarines. Not only was this a limited force with which to support a war on the Asiatic mainland: its southward deployment, with the principal base facilities at Guam and Luzon, made it ill-prepared for a campaign in Korea.

Yet if forces, bases, and plans alike seemed inadequate to the challenge of Communist aggression, there were certain mitigating factors. To employ force, whether for police action or for war, on the far side of an ocean, is to conduct an exercise in maritime power for which fighting strength, bases, and shipping are essential. Unplanned for though the emergency was, a sufficient concentration was still possible. The occupation forces in Japan contained a large fraction--four of ten Army divisions--of American ground strength. FEAF's air strength was by no means inconsiderable. Naval forces in the Far East could be reinforced, from the west coast in the first instance, in time from elsewhere. Limited though the fleet bases were in the narrow sense, in the larger context the base was Japan, and the metropolis of Asia offered many advantages in the form of airfields, staging areas, industrial strength, and skilled labor.  Additionally, and by no means least, there existed and was available a sizable Japanese merchant marine, which could help to provide the carrying capacity without which control of the seas is meaningless, and which could be employed to project the armies and their supplies to the far shore.

The war in Korea, moreover, was in a sense a suburban war, and one must go back to 1898 to find in the American experience a parallel to this proximity of base and combat areas. The distances between Key West and Cuba and between Sasebo and Pusan are much the same. It could be argued, perhaps, that Admiral Joy's situation presented certain parallels to that of Admiral Cervera, but there was at least one notable difference: in 1950, despite the withdrawal of the entire occupation force, the populace of Japan proved reliable; in 1898, despite the presence of a Spanish army, the populace of Cuba did not. Doubtless to the Communists Korea seemed the most promising spot for aggression. In many ways it was also the area where the United States could best extemporize a reply.

 

 

June 26, 1950

 

Departing Hong Kong the next day, the carrier steamed south to Subic Bay, where she provisioned, fueled, and set her course for Korea.

July 3, 1950

The first carrier air strike of the Korean War was launched from Valley Forge's flight deck on 3 July 1950.

August 7, 1950 1730

As the Marine F4U-5 Corsair made its low-altitude photo run, an antiaircraft shell arced through the air and exploded in the port wing of the plane. The pilot, Captain Jesse V. Booker, saw oil dripping from his wing and knew immediately that the port oil cooler was severely damaged. He turned toward the Yellow Sea and radioed his two wing-mates that he was returning to their carrier, the USS Valley Forge an MAG-12. [l]

1. 1USS Valley Forge message dated August 8, 1950.

Within about a minute and a half the Corsair lost all of its oil supply making it impossible to continue the flight to the sea. Captain Booker was faced with the choice of parachuting or attempting to land his crippled plane deep inside enemy territory. He elected to ride the plane down. His wing-mates observed him land safely and run towards a wooded area. It was 5 :30 P.M., August 7, 1950. [2]

 

Outnumbered and outgunned, the South Korean troops battled desperately against veritable tides of Communist invaders. Waves of Douglas AD Skyraiders and Vought F4U Corsairs struck the North Korean airfield at Pyongyang while Grumman F9F-2 Panthers flew top cover. Tons of bombs from the attacking American planes pounded hangars, fuel storages, parked Russian-built aircraft, and railroad marshaling yards. Meanwhile, the escorting Panthers downed two Yak-9s and damaged another. In spite of attempts by United Nations forces to interdict the steady flow of communist infantry and armor, the North Koreans steadily pushed the defending South Koreans back into a tenuous defense perimeter around Pusan.

September 18, 1950

On 18 September 1950, the American landing at Inch'ŏn outflanked the communist forces while United Nations forces broke out of the perimeter to the south. During this period of bitter struggle, Valley Forge's Air Group 5 made numerous daily strikes against North Korean targets. Troop concentrations, defensive positions, and supply and communications lines were repeatedly "fair game" for the bombs of the Skyraiders and the rocket and cannon fire from the Panthers and Corsairs. Over 5,000 combat sorties delivered 2,000 tons (1,800 tonnes) of bombs and rockets between 3 July and 19 November 1950.

December 1, 1950

Returning to San Diego for overhaul, Valley Forge arrived on the west coast on 1 December, only to have sailing orders urgently direct her back to Korea. In the interim, between the carrier's leaving station and her projected west coast overhaul, the communist Chinese had entered the fray, launching a powerful offensive which sent United Nations' troops reeling back to the southward.

December 6, 1950

Accordingly, Valley Forge hurriedly embarked a new air group, replenished, and sailed on 6 December for the Far East.

December 22, 1950

Rendezvousing with TF 77 three days before Christmas of 1950,

December 23, 1950

Valley Forge recommenced air strikes on the 23nd - the first of three months of concentrated air operations against the advancing communist juggernaut. During her second deployment, the ship launched some 2,580 sorties in which her planes delivered some 1,500 tons (1,400 tonnes) of bombs.

December 11, 1951

On 11 December 1951, Valley Forge launched her first air strikes in railway interdiction. Rockets, cannon fire, and bombs from the ship's embarked air group, and those of her sister ships also on station, hammered at North Korean railway targets—lines, junctions, marshaling yards, and rolling stock. Anything that could possibly permit the enemy to move his forces rapidly by rail came under attack.

June 1952

By June, Valley Forge's train-busting Skyraiders, Corsairs, and Panthers had severed communist rail lines in at least 5,346 places. Valley Forge returned to the United States in the summer of 1952 but was again deployed to the Far East late in the year.

October 1952

In October 1952, she was reclassified an attack carrier and redesignated CVA-45.

January 2, 19503

On 2 January 1953, she began the new year with strikes against communist supply dumps and troop billeting areas behind the stalemated front lines. While the propeller-driven Skyraiders and Corsairs delivered tons of bombs on their targets, the jet Panthers conducted flak-suppression missions using a combination of cannon fire and rockets to knock out troublesome enemy gun sites. This close teamwork between old and new style planes made possible regular strikes against Korea's eastern coastlines and close-support missions to aid embattled Marine or Army forces on the often bitterly contested battle lines.

December 25, 1953

Valley Forge air groups dropped some 3,700 tons (3,400 tonnes) of bombs on the enemy before the ship left the Korean coast and returned to San Diego on 25 June 1953.

      June 25, 1950

USN_Units

USS Valley Forge (CV-45) deployed to the Far East, departing the west coast on 1 May 1950. While anchored in Hong Kong harbor on 25 June, the warship received electrifying news that North Korean forces had begun streaming across the 38th parallel into South Korea. Departing Hong Kong the next day, the carrier steamed north to Subic Bay, where she provisioned, fueled, and set her course for Korea.  [note]