USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42)

USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42)

USS "Franklin D. Roosevelt" (CVB/CVA/CV-42) was the second of three "Midway" class aircraft carriers. The ship was constructed at New York Naval Shipyard. Sponsor Mrs. John H. Towers, wife of the Deputy Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, christened the ship "Coral Sea" at the 29 April 1945 launching. On 8 May 1945, President Harry S. Truman approved the Secretary of the Navy's recommendation to rename the ship "Franklin D. Roosevelt" in honor of the late president. To her crew, she was known as the "Swanky Franky"," "Foo-De-Roo"," or "Rosie"," with the last nickname probably the most popular.

hakedown cruise

"Franklin D. Roosevelt" commissioned on 27 October 1945, with Captain A. Soucek in command. During her shakedown cruise, "Roosevelt" called at Rio de Janeiro from 1 February to 11 February 1946 to represent the United States at the inauguration of Brazilian president Eurico Gaspar Dutra, who came aboard for a short cruise. During April and May, "Roosevelt" participated in Eighth Fleet maneuvers off the East Coast, the Navy's first major post-World War II training exercise.

On 21 July 1946, Lt. Cmdr. James Davidson, flying the McDonnell XFD-1 Phantom, made a series of successful landings and take-offs aboard "Roosevelt" in the first U.S. test of the adaptability of jet aircraft to shipboard operations. Carrier suitability tests continued in November. Lt. Col. Marion E. Carl, USMC, flying a Lockheed P-80A, made two catapult launches, four unassisted take-offs, and five arrested landings aboard "Roosevelt".

Fleet maneuvers and other training operations in the Caribbean preceded "Roosevelt's" first deployment to the Mediterranean, from 8 August to 4 October during which she was a part of a U.S. Navy force that visited Athens to bolster the government of Greece in the Greek Civil War. She received thousands of visitors during her calls to many Mediterranean ports, giving Europeans an opportunity to view this impressive addition to America's seapower.

"Franklin D. Roosevelt" returned to American waters and operated off the East Coast until July 1947, when she entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for an extensive overhaul. At that time, her quad 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns were replaced by 40 3 in (76 mm) Mark 22 guns in Mark 33 twin mountings.

Early career

On 13 September 1948, "Franklin D. Roosevelt" sailed from Norfolk for a second tour of duty with the Mediterranean forces, from which she returned 23 January 1949. In 1950, "Roosevelt" became the first carrier to take nuclear weapons to sea. In September and October 1952, she participated in Operation Mainbrace, the first major NATO exercise in the North Atlantic.

"Roosevelt" was reclassified CVA-42 on 1 October 1952. On 7 January 1954, she sailed for Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to undergo extensive reconstruction. Too large to pass through the Panama Canal, "Roosevelt" rounded Cape Horn and arrived at the shipyard on 5 March. She decommissioned there on 23 April 1954.

"Roosevelt" was the first of her class to undergo the SCB-110 reconstruction, at a cost of $48 million. She received an enclosed "hurricane bow," one C-11-2 and two C-11-1 steam catapults, strengthened arresting gear, an enlarged bridge, a mirror landing system, and a 482 ft (147 m) angled flight deck. SPS-8 height finding radar and SPS-12 air search radar were mounted on a new tubular mast. The aft elevator was relocated to the starboard deck edge, the forward elevator was enlarged, and all elevators were uprated to 75,000 lb capacity. Aviation fuel bunkerage was increased from 350,000 to 450,000 gallons (1,320,000 to 1,700,000 L). Standard displacement rose to 51,000 tons, while deep load displacement rose to 63,400 tons. As weight compensation, several of the 5 inch (127 mm) Mark 16 anti-aircraft guns were landed, leaving only 10, and the 3,200 ton armor belt was removed. Hull blisters were also added to cope with the increased weight. "Roosevelt" recommissioned on 6 April 1956.

After post-refit trials, "Franklin D. Roosevelt" sailed for her new homeport of Mayport, Florida. In February 1957, "Roosevelt" conducted cold weather tests of catapults, aircraft, and the Regulus guided missile, in the Gulf of Maine. In July, she sailed for the first of three consecutive Sixth Fleet deployments. Her assignments in the Mediterranean added NATO exercises to her normal schedule of major fleet operations, and found her entertaining a distinguished list of guests each year.

On 24 October 1958, "Franklin D. Roosevelt" supported the fast transport USS "Kleinsmith" (APD 134) in the evacuation of 56 American citizens and three foreign nationals from Nicara, Cuba, as the Cuban revolution came to a climax.

In late 1960, the Control Instrument Company installed the first production Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System (FLOLS) onboard "Roosevelt". She recorded her one hundred thousandth aircraft landing in March 1961. During a 1963 overhaul, six more convert|5|in|mm|0|sing=on guns and all 22 remaining convert|3|in|mm|0|sing=on guns were removed.

While operating in the Eastern Mediterranean in the fall of 1964, "Roosevelt" lost a blade from one of her 20 ton propellers. She proceeded from Naples, Italy to New York with the number one shaft locked. After replacing the propeller at Bayonne, New Jersey, "Roosevelt" returned to the Mediterranean to complete her cruise.

From August 1966 to January 1967, "Franklin D. Roosevelt" made her only deployment to Southeast Asia. She spent a total of 95 days "on the line" as her air wing, CVW-1, consisting mainly of F-4 Phantom IIs and A-4 Skyhawks, struck enemy targets. "Roosevelt" received one battle star for her service in Vietnam.

In January 1968, Italian actress Virna Lisi was invited by "Roosevelt's" crew to participate in the ship's twenty-second birthday celebrations. Lisi helped prepare 5,000 T-bone steaks at a large cook-out staged on the flight deck. []

Austere modernization

"Franklin D. Roosevelt" was initially slated to undergo an extensive reconstruction (SCB 101.68) similar to that received by sister ship "Midway" from 1966 to 1970. This plan was derailed by massive cost overruns in "Midway's" reconstruction, which eventually totalled $202 million. "Roosevelt" was therefore limited to an austere $46 million refit enabling her to operate the Grumman A-6 Intruder and LTV A-7 Corsair II.

In July 1968, "Franklin D. Roosevelt" entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for her 11 month modernization program. The forward centerline elevator was relocated to the starboard deck edge forward of the island, the port waist catapult was removed, the crew spaces were refurbished, and two of the four remaining convert|5|in|mm|0|sing=on anti-aircraft turrets were landed. "Roosevelt" also received a deck edge spray system using the new seawater compatible fire-fighting chemical, Light Water. She put to sea again on 26 May 1969. In January 1970, she returned to the Mediterranean for another Sixth Fleet deployment.

"Roosevelt's" twenty-first Sixth Fleet deployment was marked by indirect participation in the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, as she served as a transit "landing field" for aircraft being delivered to Israel. "Roosevelt's" battlegroup, Task Force 60.2, also stood by for possible evacuation contingencies.

From 1973 through 1975, VAW-121 operated aboard "Roosevelt" as one of the last Grumman E-1 Tracer squadrons in the fleet. "Roosevelt " received a multipurpose designation, CV-42, on 30 June 1975, but she did not operate any anti-submarine aircraft. From June 1976 to April 1977, "Roosevelt" embarked VMA-231 with 14 AV-8A Harrier jets. This deployment demonstrated that VTOL aircraft could be successfully and seamlessly integrated into fixed wing air operations.

On 12 January 1977, "Roosevelt" collided with the Liberian grain freighter "Oceanus" while transiting the Strait of Messina. Both ships were able to proceed to port under their own power.

Decommissioning and disposal

By the late 1970s, "Franklin D. Roosevelt" was in poor material condition. Deprived of the upgrades that "Midway" and "Coral Sea" had received, "Roosevelt" was the least modern and least capable of the class. Furthermore, "Roosevelt" used General Electric turbines, which gave persistent problems and reduced speed compared to the Westinghouse units used on the other ships. The Navy therefore chose to decommission "Roosevelt" when the second "Nimitz" class carrier, "Dwight D. Eisenhower", entered service in 1977. "Roosevelt" completed her final cruise in April 1977. She decommissioned on 30 September 1977 and was stricken from the Navy List on the following day.

"Roosevelt's" generally poor condition weighed against retaining her in the reserve fleet. Moreover, her low hangar height of 17 feet 6 inches (5.33 m) limited the aircraft types that she could handle. It was reasoned that existing "Essex" class carriers could handle the same types of aircraft at lower cost. Some admirals also feared that if "Roosevelt" were retained, the Carter Administration would use her reactivation as an excuse to cancel future "Nimitz" class carriers. On 1 April 1978, the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service sold the ship to River Terminal Development Company for $2.1 million. After usable equipment was removed from "Roosevelt" at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard's Inactive Ships Facility, the carrier was towed to Kearny, New Jersey. She arrived on 3 May 1978 and was scrapped from 1980 onward.




* Grassey, Thomas B. "Retrospective: The Midway Class." United States Naval Institute "Proceedings" Vol. 112 (May 1986).

ee also

*List of aircraft carriers
*List of aircraft carriers of the United States Navy

External links

* [ CV-42 Personnel Roster at]

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