The third Kearsarge was commissioned on 2 March 1946. She was a "long hull" Essex class, sometimes referred to as Ticonderoga class, aircraft carrier CV-33.
The new Kearsarge arrived in her homeport, Norfolk, on 21 April 1946, and operated on training exercises on the East Coast and Caribbean for the next year. She departed Norfolk on 7 June 1947 enroute to the United Kingdom on a midshipmen training cruise. She returned to the United states in August of that year.
In 1947 Ensign John W. Lee, the first African American Officer in the regular Navy was assigned to Kearsarge.
For the next ten months, Kearsarge engaged in maneuvers, until she departed Hampton Roads on 1 June 1948 for the Mediterranean. During this tour of duty with the 6th Fleet, Kearsarge was placed on alert to assist in keeping the peace in the Arab-Israeli area.
After her return to the United States on 2 October, Kearsarge operated on the East Coast and the Caribbean.
On 27 January 1950,Kearsarge departed for the West Coast, and arrived at Puget Sound Navy Yard on 23 February. On 16 June 1950 she was decommisioned there for a modernization overhaul to enable her to handle jet aircraft.
Kearsarge was recommisioned on 15 February 1952, and after shakedown she departed San Diego on 11 August 1952 for Hawaii.
Following intensive flight training in Hawaiian waters,Kearsarge sailed for the Far East. She arrived in Yokosuka, Japan on 8 September 1952, to begin her first combat assignment...
Kearsarge operated with Task Force 77 off the East Coast of Korea during the Korean War. Her mission was interdiction of supply and transportation facilities, and to provide close air support for United Nations troops. Jet aircraft were new to carriers at this time. Naval jets were slow, and underpowered. Straight wings hampered performance. The Russian built MIG-15 outclassed the F2H-2 Banshee, and the F9F-2 Panther which flew from Kearsarge. The AD-4 Skyraider and the F4U Corsair were propeller driven aircraft still in use at this time. Dispite the threat from the faster and more nimble MIG-15, Kearsarge's airwing carried out their missions. Weather permiting, air operations were carried out daily while on line.
The ship and her crew performed very well, despite manpower shortages, cold winter weather, and long on line periods. Problems with communications, and adjustments to operating with jet aircraft were handled as they arose in a timely manner. A leaking flight deck caused by jet exhaust plagued the ship, but the crew took care of it as best they could until proper repairs could be made in port. Every challenge that arose was handled by a dedicated crew.
14 Sep 52: CV-33 underway from Yokosuka, Japan to Korean operation area.
16 Sep 52: Joined Task Force 77.
17 Sep 52: An AD-4N was hit by ground fire. Shrapnel hit the crewman who was transfered to the naval hospital, Yokosuka, Japan.
18 Sep 52: A hung rocket broke free from a F2H-2 during an arrested landing. The rocket skidded across the flight deck and struck two crewmen who were seriously injured.
30 Sep 52: A F4U on a strafing and bombing mission was seen to go into a sudden inverted dive following a strafing run. The aircraft crashed into the water off the coast. The pilot was reported killed in action.
4 Oct 52: While on a combat mission, a F4U was attacked by a MIG-15 near the coast. The aircraft went into a steep dive and crashed into the water. The pilot was reported killed in action.
5 Oct 52: An AD-4N crashed into the water immediately after a catapult launch. Pilot and crewman were picked up by helicopter and suffered no significant injuries.
7 Oct 52: After making a bombing run over Yongpo, an AD-4's engine caught fire for unknown reasons. The pilot was forced to ditch the aircraft, but was recovered and returned to the ship with only minor injuries.
11 Oct 52: The ship's helicopter, while being parked on the deck edge elevator with rotors engaged, suddenly tipped over. Four men died, and eight others were injured as a result of this accident.
16 Oct 52: The Commanding Officer of VA-702, while flying an AD-4, crashed into the water after an apparently normal deck launch. He was seen floating free of the plane, apparently alive, with his life jacket inflated. Helicopters and destroyers were on the scene immediately, but were unable to locate him. He was reported missing.
18 Oct 52: Departed Task Force 77 proceeded to Yokosuka, Japan.
20 Oct 52: Arrived Yokosuka, Japan for rest, recreation, and yard availibility.
Kearsarge was now reclassified CVA-33.
28 Oct 52: CVA-33 underway from Yokosuka, Japan for the Korean operating area.
31 Oct 52: Joined Task Force 77.
1 Nov 52: A F9F-2 was presumed crashed in the water, cause unknown. Pilot was not recovered and is listed as missing. A F4U crashed while on a combat mission. Probable cause was enemy anti-aircraft fire. Pilot declared missing in action.
8 Nov 52: A F4U crashed on a combat mission over North Korea, probably due to anti-aircraft fire. Pilot declared missing in action.
21 Nov 52: A F9F-2 crashed on a combat mission, probably due to anti-aircraft fire. Pilot declared missing in action.
23 Nov 52: A F9F-2 caught fire while being catapulted. Pilot made a controlled water landing and was recovered by helicopter with minor injuries.
4 Dec 52: Detached from Task Force 77, and proceeded to Yokosuka, Japan.
6 Dec 52: Moored in Yokosuka, Japan.
16 Dec 52: Departed Yokosuka, Japan for Korean operating area.
18 Dec 52: Joined Task Force 77.
22 Dec 52: An AD-4 Engaged barrier on landing. Aircraft sustained class "C" damage. No personnel were injured.
27 Dec 52: A F4U from VF-884 ditched in water due to engine failure. Pilot was not injured. A F9F-2 from VF-721 engaged barrier on landing. Aircraft suffered class "C" damage. No personnel were injured.
28 Dec 52: A F9F-2 from VF-721 crashed in the water near the formation. The pilot was recovered uninjured. An AD-4 from VA-702 was hit by ground fire while over Kasong. The pilot recieved minor injuries from shrapnel.
30 Dec 52: While on a combat mission, a F2H-2 from VF-11 crashed 15 miles west of Wonsan, Korea. The pilot was declared missing in action.
4 Jan 53: Departed Task force 77, proceeded to Sasebo, Japan.
5 Jan 53: 0803 Anchored in Sasebo, Japan. 1459 departed Sasebo, Japan and proceeded to Hong Kong B.C.C.
8 Jan 53: Moored in Hong Kong Harbor.
16 Jan 53: Departed Hong Kong B.C.C. for the Korean operating area.
20 Jan 53: Joined Task Force 77.
22 Jan 53: While making a normal arrested landing, a F9F-2 discharged one round of 20mm ammunition which fatally wounded a plane director on the flight deck.
23 Jan 53: The Commanding Officer of VF-11, while flying a F2H-2 crashed at 29-16N 127-15E and was declared missing in action.
28 Jan 53: While on a night heckler mission, an AD-4 from VC-35 failed to return. The pilot and crewman were both listed as missing in action.
8 Feb 53: While on a mission in North Korea, an AD-4 from VA-145 was shot down by ground fire. The pilot was declared missing in action.
22 Feb 53: Departed Task Force 77, proceeded to Yokosuka, Japan.
25-28 Feb 53: Upkeep at Yokosuka Navy Yard, Yokosuka, Japan.
28 Feb 53: Underway for CONUS via Pearl Harbor.
Kearsarge returned to the Far East again in 1953. This time she was sent to keep watch on the uneasy truce in Korea, and also kept a watchful eye on the Formosa Straits to keep Mainland China from interfering with the Chinese Nationalists on Taiwan. She returned to The United States on 18 January 1954 and performed training exercises off the California.
Her third Far East deployment started when she departed San Diego on 7 October 1954. Kearsarge operating with the 7th Fleet watched over the Nationalist Chinese evacuation of the Tachen Islands and supported the fleet in successfully evacuating 18,000 civilians, and 20,000 military personnel from the islands from 6 to 13 February 1955. She returned to San Diego on 12 May 1955. For the next three years Kearsarge operated on annual deployments to the far east and on training exercises off California.
Summer of 1958 found Kearsarge being outfitted for her new role, an anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carrier. Now reclassified as CVS-33, she operated on intensive training exercises for her new role, after which she set sail on 5 September 1959 for 7th Fleet operations in the Far East.
Early in this cruise, Japan was hit by a severe typhoon, and aircraft from Kearsarge were used to land medical and supply units. Members of the crew donated clothing, and money to assist the victims.
Later she participated in SEATO exercises and 7th Fleet operations. Kearsarge left Yokosuka, Japan on 3 March 1960 for the voyage back home.
In stormy waters 1,200 miles off Wake Island three days later, Kearsarge resuced four Russian soldiers who were adrift in a disabled landing craft for 49 days. She proceeded back to the United States, and after arrival on 15 March 1960, the Russian soldiers were returned to their country. Kearsarge recieved thanks from the Soviet Union for her efforts in the rescue.
In October of 1960, Kearsarge was sent back to sea only hours after returning to Long Beach after conducting a two week period of air operations. A Russian submarine had been spotted near the mouth of the Columbia River, and she was the only CVS available. Kearsarge left Pier Echo without the aid of a tugboat. After getting the Air Group aboard, she headed north to meet the sub, low on fuel and supplies, and with most of one liberty section left behind. The submarine was followed to the Bearing Sea where a severe storm made it impossible to conduct air operations and the sub could no longer be tracked. The storm was so bad that waves were actually breaking over the flight deck. Kearsarge returned to Long Beach with cracked seams and broken fire mains.
Before her next deployment, Kearsarge operated on training exercises for about a year. On 3 March 1961, CVS-33 left San Diego for Southeast Asian waters. Communists had intesnified their efforts to overthrow the government in Laos. The 7th fleet was sent to the srea, and it's power was seen by the Communists and the crisis eased.
After six months in the Far East, Kearsarge returned to the United States, arriving in Puget Sound on 1 November 1961 to undergo the second phase of her modernization.
Following her modernization, Kearsarge performed training exercises. While steaming in dense fog off Long Beach on 12 March 1962, Kearsarge collided with the New Zealand passenger Liner Oriana and suffered a 25 foot gash on her starboard side. On 1 August 1962, she left Long Beach to take her place in the Space program. She proceeded to the Pacific missile range to act as a recovery ship in the Mercury orbital flight of astronaut Walter Schirra. Kearsarge played her role in October when she retieved Schirra and his space capsule, and returned him to Hawaii for his flight back home.
Kearsarge operated on training exercises for six months before she entered Pearl Harbor on 29 April 1963 to prepare for another mission for the space program. On 18 May 1963, after 22 orbits of the Earth, Kearsarge picked up astronaut Gordon Cooper and his capsule "Faith 7." She returned Cooper to Pearl Harbor, and then deployed for her eighth Far East cruise on 4 June 1963. After operations with the 7th Fleet, and keeping an eye on the uneasy situation in Southeast Asia, CVS-33 returned to Long Beach on 3 December 1963.
During the period of 1962 to July 1963 while under the command of Captain E.P. Rankin, Kearsarge was involved in collisions with three different ships, a destroyer escort, an oiler, and a passenger liner. While none of these collisions were the fault of Captain Rankin, the ship became known jokingly as "Rammin Rankin's Krashbarge" and "The Mighty Kay-RUNCH".
The ninth Far East cruise started on 19 June 1964. Kearsarge arrived in Yokosuka, Japan on 30 July and was dispatched to the South China Sea after a North Vietnamese patrol boat attack on U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. While aircraft from the 7th Fleet attacked and destroyed North Vietnamese oil and supply depots, CVS-33 provided anti-submarine protection to the fleet. The decisive action taken by American forces caused the Communists to delay furter action for the time being, and Kearsarge returned to Long Beach on 16 December 1964.
After an overhaul in the first half of 1965, Kearsarge operated on training exercises off California until she departed Long Beach for her next Far East cruise on 9 June 1966. She traveled to Pearl Harbor, and then to Japan. From there it was off to "Yankee Station" where she operated off Vietnam from 8 August through 24 October, providing anti-submarine protection for the ships of the "Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club" as the fleet was known.
On 25 October 1966 departed for the Kuala Lumpur area, and anchored in the Strait of Malacca on the 30th. From there she headed to Subic Bay, Philipines for liberty. Back on the line on 5 November, she operated on "Yankee Station" until the 24th when she steamed for Hong Kong. Then it was off to Japan, and from there she headed home ending her cruise on 20 December 1966.
Kearsarge operated off the West Coast until 17 August 1967 when she left Long Beach to begin her next WestPac cruise. She reached Pearl Harbor and from there steamed to Yokosuka, Japan. The rest of her cruise was spent on "Yankee Station" with off line periods being spent in Japan, Hong Kong and Subic Bay. It was during this cruise that a fire in the O2N2 plant caused serious damage as the ship was entering Sasebo, Japan.
Kearsarge returned to The United States on 6 April 1968 and began an overhaul period in the Long Beach Naval Shipyard.
It was as a result of this cruise that Kearsarge was awarded
the Meritorious Unit Commenedation
I arrived on board Kearsarge 5 August 1968 as an EMFA just out of "A" school. I had to be hoisted aboard with a crane as I arrived dockside just as she was going to be taken out of drydock. The ship was moved to Pier One and my life aboard her began.
The yard period continuted, and eventually the ship underwent sea trials on and off. As the ship progressed, Kearsarge aided in the training of new A4 Skyhawk pilots in carrier landings. The ship normally didn't carry jets, but her hydralic catapults were capable of handling Skyhawks. On of these aircraft came in a little too low one night and collapsed its landing gear and put a small hole in the edge of the flight deck.
Kearsarge departed Long Beach on 29 March 1969 and steamed to San Diego to pick up the air group at North Island Naval Air Station. As soon as they were aboard, the ship left San Diego and steamed to Pearl Harbor.
The ship was filmed entering Pearl Harbor for the film "Tora Tora Tora". Kearsarge played the part of the U.S.S. Enterprise as she entered Pearl Harbor after the attack. There was a full size mock up of the battleship Nevada at Ford Island, and three Japanese aircraft were being filmed flying in the area for the movie also.
The ship operated on operational readiness exercises in Hawaiian waters for about a week, and then departed for Yokosuka, Japan.
Kearsarge was "On the line in '69" operating on "Yankee Station" with liberty periods being spent in Sasebo, Subic Bay, and Hong Kong.
After one Subic Bay period, the ship steamed to Manila and met ships of other nations to participate in a SEATO training exercise, "Operation Sea Spirit". During this exercise, one of our destoyers, the U.S.S. Frank E. Evans DD-754 was operating with the Australian carrier, H.M.A.S. Melbourne. On the early morning of 3 Jun 1969, the Melbourne collided with the Evans, striking her dead amidships and cut the destroyer in two. The forward half of the Evans sunk almost immediately with heavy loss of life. Kearsarge and her aircraft took part in the rescue operations. The survivors were brought aboard and were taken to Subic Bay.
Kearsarge was leaving Hong Kong later in the cruise, when after having cleared the harbor the Captain opened his orders and we all learned that the ship had been ordered back to Long Beach to begin deactivation. The cruise having been cut short, Kearsarge steamed directly from Hong Kong to San Diego where the air group disembarked. The ship left San Diego immediately and cruised to her home in Long Beach, arriving in the afternoon of 4 September 1969. Her final cruise was completed.
The deactivation started almost immediately. Thge plan was to start it in Long Beach, and then move the ship to San Diego to finish the deactivation. The Captain stood by his crew, and took a firm stand against moving the ship out of her long time homeport. He told the InActShips facility that Kearsarge would deactivate in Long Beach. He would not move the dependants to San Diego. The ship could be towed to San Diego after the deactivation was complete, and the crew was gone.
So it was done...
U.S.S. Kearsarge was decommisioned on 13 February 1970 in Long Beach.
CVS-33 was stricken from the Navy List on 1 May 1973.
She was sold for scrap on 18 January 1974.
Thanks To IC3 Steve Ebersole
For Sending The September 1968 Issue of
KEARSAGA - The Ship's Magazine.
If You Do Not Have ACROBAT READER Download It Free HERE