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    The Commanding Officer and the officers and men of the crew welcome you to the USS Ranger, one of the world's newest and largest aircraft carriers.

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: The Commanding Officer and the officers and men of the crew welcome you to the USS Ranger, one of the world's newest and largest aircraft carriers.

    As you walk around the ship, you will no doubt be interested in Ranger's size and the complexity and amount of her machinery--catapults for launching aircraft, the aircraft themselves, vehicles for moving airplanes and supplies, and a powerful engineering plant for propelling Ranger at the speeds she needs for the successful operation of today's fast jet aircraft. You will see an endless amount of equipment such as fuelling hoses, motors, steam pipes, cables, pumps, antennae and radars--each playing a vital part in helping Ranger to do whatever job may be assigned to her.

    All this machinery and equipment needs constant attention to keep it in a useful working condition and demands is that there be men trained in every phase of mechanical, electronic and electrical maintenance. For these and hundreds of other widely varying jobs, Ranger carries a crew of more than 4,000 officers and men. The presence of such a large population in a comparatively confined space calls for the most precise timing and coordination in every major job she does--whether operating aircraft, refuelling at sea, feeding the crew, or preparing the ship for occasions such as your being aboard today. These tasks and many more are literally an all-hands evolution, calling for the utmost in efficiency to preserve the time able of operations. The pace is necessarily fast, and newcomers to the crew are soon taught to become contributing members of a well-drilled team.

    Ranger has most of the facilities which you would normally find servicing a community of about 4,000 people. There is a dial telephone system, a post office with pick-up routes and frequent delivery, a hospital and dental offices. There are soda fountains, recreation rooms, a hobby shop, library, gymnasium, large laundry, tailor shop and shoe repair shop. Ranger has machine shops and bakeries, stores and a tobacco shop. She is, in short, a self-contained air base. Additional fuel, food and supplies can be obtained by replenishing from other ships at sea.

    Ranger's mobility enables her to launch aircraft in all weather conditions, in any part of the ocean, at any time. She carries an Air Wing composed of six squadrons, totalling more than 80 planes and 1,000 men. The Air Wing is her reason for being--it gives her flexibility in order to conduct many different kinds of operations at considerable ranges.

    The USS Ranger (CVA-61), eighth ship to bear that name and the third of the Forrestal-class attack aircraft carriers, was constructed by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newport News, Virginia.

    Ranger was christened on September 29, 1956, sponsored by Mrs. Arthur W. Radford, wife of the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The ship was commissioned August 10, 1957.

    An unusual event in the construction of Ranger was the fact that it took two dry docks to build the ship. To expedite construction, work was started in a smaller dock, but after four months, when Forrestal was launched, the partially completed hull of Ranger was floated into the larger facility vacated by Forrestal.

    While embarked on her shakedown cruise during November 1957, Ranger visited the capital of the Dominican Republic, Ciudad Trujillo (now Santo Domingo), the first foreign port visited by the new carrier.

    In January 1958, she returned to the Caribbean where she completed her final acceptance trials. Following a three-month yard period, Ranger operated off the Virginia Capes until June 1958 when she departed for the Pacific Fleet via South America and Cape Horn.

    During her South American cruise, Ranger made goodwill calls in Trinidad, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Mexico, and arrived at the U. S. Naval Air Station, Alameda, California on August 20, 1958.

    On January 3, 1959, the ship departed Naval Air Station Alameda for her first tour of duty with the U. S. Seventh Fleet in the Far East. During this cruise she visited Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Yokosuka and Kobe, Japan; Okinawa; Manila, P.I.; and Hong Kong, B. C. C. In this seven-month tour of the Orient, Ranger hosted thousands of visitors, including President Carlos Garcia of the Philippines and Prince and Princess Takamatsu and Princess Chichibu of the Japanese Imperial Family.

    After an intensive training period in March 1964 with the Fleet Training Group in San Diego, California, Ranger conducted air operations and anti-submarine warfare exercises off the West Coast of the U. S. On May 28, Captain Alton B. Grimes became her eighth commanding officer, relieving Captain William E. Lemos.

    From June 19 to July 17, 1964, Ranger made a MidPac cruise to Hawaii. She deployed to WestPac August 5 for her fifth tour of duty with the Seventh Fleet. Now approximately mid-way through this deployment, the ship and her embarked Air Wing are "on the line" thoroughly prepared for any action in defense of freedom.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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