The name of the RANGER follows the style set by the second ship of the series, the SARATOGA in choosing names of Revolutionary war significance.
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Background: The name of the RANGER follows the style set by the second ship of the series, the SARATOGA in choosing names of Revolutionary war significance. The Original RANGER, a wooden frigate under command of Captain John Paul Jones, was built in 1777, sailed against the British.
The second RANGER was an armed schooner, the third was a brig of 14 guns. The fourth RANGER, was an iron gunboat with auxiliary sail power and had a long and honorable service. The fifth RANGER as anti-submarine vessel and the sixth RANGER, a minesweeper served in World War I.
The seventh RANGER, CV-4, the first U.S. vessel designed and constructed as an aircraft carrier had an outstanding history from its commissioning date June 4, 1934 until decommissioned October 18, 1946. The first landing on her docks was made in 1934, by Admiral Ernest J. King, USN then serving as Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics with the rank of Rear Admiral. The RANGER an important link in the chain of training of career pilots, performed an illustrious career in the Atlantic during World War II. The most noted event taking place in 1943 when planes from her decks daringly struck into enemy waters off the coast of Norway, just six months after Germany had reported her sunk and sent over 40,000 tons of Nazi shipping to the bottom. Her war record was unique. In the Pacific we had only one aircraft carrier, the USS ENTERPRISE, in the Atlantic most of the time we had only one carrier, the USS RANGER. While it is true that in the Pacific the Japanese fleet was on the prowl above the water and in the air, the RANGER faced German submarine packs, and the possibility of encountering the German surface and air units when ever they were loosed. When her work was done in the Atlantic, she joined the Pacific Fleet and rendered valuable service other than combatant.
On October 8, 1946 American newspapers briefly informed the world that the USS RANGER was to be decommissioned and scrapped, that was, "if anybody cared to buy her." The Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company bought the $17,000,000 ship for $250,000 in January 1947 and proceeded with scrapping operations.
USS RANGER (CVA-61)
The USS RANGER (CVA-61), the newest and largest of the super carriers, with a crew of about 3,500 men, was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, and was commissioned August 10, 1957 at the Norfolk Naval Shipyards in Portsmouth, Virginia.
After commissioning, the massive carrier, third of the Forrestal-class Carriers, underwent a four-week-yard period in the Norfolk Naval Shipyards and upon completion took a two-month shakedown cruise to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
While embarked on the shakedown cruise, the men of the USS RANGER enjoyed the Armistice Day weekend amid the tropical beauty of Ciudad Trujillo, capitol of the Dominican Republic and first foreign port to be visited by the Navy's newest carrier.
Arriving on the morning of November 9, the RANGER saluted the Dominican capital with the customary 21-gun salute, which was returned by the city's shore battery. Shortly afterwards the first RANGER liberty party to visit a foreign seaport was landed at the city pier.
During its two-day visit to the Caribbean republic RANGER, was host to more than 3,000 Dominicans, who eagerly came aboard ship to get a closer look at the huge carrier. Ciudad Trujillo, the oldest settlement of whitemen in the new world afforded the visiting Americans the unique opportunity of viewing the old sections which claimed to most perfectly exemplify a Spanish Colonial Town of the 16th century.
Prior to its departure on Monday, November 11, 1957, RANGER, was visited by General Hector B. Trujillo, and the honorable Joseph Farland, United States Ambassador.
RANGER returned from its shakedown cruise in Guantanamo Bay to its home port, Norfolk, Virginia early in December where it remained for the holiday season. RANGER spent the week of January 6 operating in the Norfolk, Virginia area prior to getting underway for the Caribbean where it completed its final acceptance trials.
Upon completion of final acceptance trials RANGER operated off the coast of Florida for approximately two weeks. During this period the ship visited Mayport, Florida for the weekend of February 1st and 2nd and again February 9th. While in Mayport the giant attack carrier held open house to the public and her liberty parties took guided tours of St. Augustine, Florida and Marineland, Florida.
The super carrier returned to Norfolk, Virginia February 12 and moved to Portsmouth, Virginia the following week to undergo a three-month yard period at the Norfolk Naval Shipyards.
Following its yard period, RANGER will get underway in late June, 1958 for the Pacific Coast where it will join the Pacific Fleet and become the first of the super carriers to steam in Pacific waters.
NOTES OF INTEREST ON CARRIER AIR GROUP 14
Carrier Air Group 14 is the striking force of the 60,000-ton super carrier Ranger, and is commanded by Cmdr. James J. Davidson, USN, of 350 Palm Avenue, Coronado, California.
The air group is composed of three attack squadrons and one fighter squadron. Also included are detachments from all-weather attack squadron, an airborne early warning squadron, and a light photographic squadron.
The fighter squadron (VF-144) flies F9F "Cougars," on e of the most reliable jet aircraft over built for the U.S. Navy. The Cougar is capable of supersonic speeds and altitudes up to 45,000 feet. Its armament is four 20mm cannon and two heat-seeking air-to-air missiles known as "Side-winders."
Attack Squadrons 146 (VA-146) and 116 (VA-116) use the FJ4-B "fury" jet aircraft. The fury is a single-place fighter adapted especially for carrier-based special weapon delivery. Its tricycle landing gear. Large flap area, and stability at low speeds, gives it the characteristics that are needed for carrier borne aircraft.
Attack Squadron 145 (VA-145) flies propeller-driven "Skyraiders," the workhorse of the U.S. Navy. The AD-5 model of the Skyraider carries 84 folding-fin aerial rockets, plus two 2,000 pound bombs and one napalm bomb. Ordnance loads of from 4 to 8 thousand pounds were common for the Skyraider during the Korean War.
VA-145 is the champion loft-bombing squadron of the Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Twenty of her twenty-four pilots earned the Navy's "E" for excellence in a competitive weapons exercise earlier this year.
Also flying special models of the Skyraider are detachments from All-Weather Attack Squadron 35 (VAAW-35) and Airborne Early Warning Squadron 11 (VAW-11). A detachment from Light Photographic Squadron 61 (VFP-61) flies a special model of the F9F Cougar which is equipped with photographic equipment for reconnaissance and mapping.
Carrier Air Group 14 reported aboard the Ranger in Norfolk, Virginia, on May 26, 1958. Prior to then it was at the Naval Air Station, Miramar, in Southern California. The air group has approximately 740 officers and enlisted men.