USS Antietam (CV-36)

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USS Antietam (CVS-36) operating training aircraft on 19 April 1961 (KN-4834).jpg
USS Antietam operating training aircraft
Flag of the United States.svgUnited States
Name: USS Antietam
Namesake: Battle of Antietam, 1862
Builder: Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Laid down: 15 March 1943
Launched: 20 August 1944
Commissioned: 28 January 1945
Decommissioned: 21 June 1949
Recommissioned: 17 July 1951
Decommissioned: 8 May 1963
Fate: Scrapped 28 February 1974
General characteristics
Class and type: Essex-class aircraft carrier
  • As built:
  • 27,100 tons standard
  • As built:
  • 888 feet (271 m) overall
  • As built:
  • 93 feet (28 m) waterline
  • As built:
  • 28 feet 7 inches (8.71 m) light
  • As designed:
  • 8 × boilers
  • 4 × Westinghouse geared steam turbines
  • 4 × shafts
  • 150,000 shp (110 MW)
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph)
Complement: 3448 officers and enlisted
  • 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 Antietam (CV/CVA/CVS-36) 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 second US Navy ship to bear the name, and was named for the American Civil War Battle of Antietam (Maryland). Antietam was commissioned in January 1945, too late to serve actively in World War II. After serving a short time in the Far East, she was decommissioned in 1949. She was soon recommissioned for Korean War service, and in that conflict earned two battle stars. In the early 1950s, she was redesignated an attack carrier (CVA) and then an antisubmarine warfare carrier (CVS). After the Korean War she spent the rest of her career operating in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Mediterranean. From 1957 until her deactivation, she was the Navy's training carrier, operating out of Florida.

<i>Essex</i>-class aircraft carrier 1940s class of aircraft carrier of the United States Navy

The Essex class was a class of aircraft carriers of the United States Navy that constituted the 20th century's most numerous class of capital ships. The class consisted of 24 vessels, which came in "short-hull" and "long-hull" versions. Thirty-two ships were originally ordered, but as World War II wound down, six were canceled before construction, and two were canceled after construction had begun. No Essex-class ships were lost to enemy action, despite several vessels sustaining very heavy damage. The Essex-class carriers were the backbone of the U.S. Navy's combat strength during World War II from mid-1943 on, and, along with the addition of the three Midway-class carriers just after the war, continued to be the heart of U.S. naval strength until the supercarriers began to come into the fleet in numbers during the 1960s and 1970s.

Aircraft carrier Warship that serves as a seagoing airbase

An aircraft carrier is a warship that serves as a seagoing airbase, equipped with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft. Typically, it is the capital ship of a fleet, as it allows a naval force to project air power worldwide without depending on local bases for staging aircraft operations. Carriers have evolved since their inception in the early twentieth century from wooden vessels used to deploy balloons to nuclear-powered warships that carry numerous fighters, strike aircraft, helicopters, and other types of aircraft. While heavier aircraft such as fixed-wing gunships and bombers have been launched from aircraft carriers, it is currently not possible to land them. By its diplomatic and tactical power, its mobility, its autonomy and the variety of its means, the aircraft carrier is often the centerpiece of modern combat fleets. Tactically or even strategically, it replaced the battleship in the role of flagship of a fleet. One of its great advantages is that, by sailing in international waters, it does not interfere with any territorial sovereignty and thus obviates the need for overflight authorizations from third party countries, reduce the times and transit distances of aircraft and therefore significantly increase the time of availability on the combat zone.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.


Antietam was fitted with a port sponson in 1952 to make her the world's first true angled-deck aircraft carrier. However, she received no major modernizations other than this, and thus throughout her career largely retained the classic appearance of a World War II Essex-class ship. She was decommissioned in 1963, and sold for scrap in 1974.

Sponson Protrusion found on the side of some ships, aircraft and vehicles

Sponsons are projections extending from the sides of land vehicles, aircraft or watercraft to provide protection, stability, storage locations, mounting points for weapons or other devices, or equipment housing.

Construction and commissioning

Antietam was one of the "long-hull" Essex-class ships. The keel was laid on 15 March 1943 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The ship was launched on 20 August 1944 sponsored by Mrs. Millard E. Tydings, the wife of Senator Tydings of Maryland. Antietam was commissioned on 28 January 1945, with Captain James R. Tague in command. [1]

Keel Lower centreline structural element of a ship or boat hull

On boats and ships, the keel is either of two parts: a structural element that sometimes resembles a fin and protrudes below a boat along the central line, or a hydrodynamic element. These parts overlap. As the laying down of the keel is the initial step in the construction of a ship, in British and American shipbuilding traditions the construction is dated from this event. Only the ship's launching is considered more significant in its creation.

Millard Tydings politician and United States Army officer

Millard Evelyn Tydings was an American attorney, author, soldier, state legislator, and served as a Democratic Representative and Senator in the United States Congress from Maryland, serving in the House from 1923 to 1927 and in the Senate from 1927 to 1951.

Maryland State of the United States of America

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary.

Service history

World War II and occupation of Japan

The aircraft carrier completed fitting out at Philadelphia until 2 March 1945, when she got underway for her shakedown cruise. The ship arrived in Hampton Roads on 5 March and conducted operations from Norfolk until 22 March, when she stood out of Chesapeake Bay bound for Trinidad in the British West Indies. At the conclusion of her shakedown cruise, Antietam returned to Philadelphia on 28 April to begin post-shakedown availability. She completed repairs on 19 May and departed Philadelphia that same day. After a three-day stop at Norfolk, the warship resumed her voyage to the Panama Canal in company with Higbee, George W. Ingram, and Ira Jeffery. She arrived at Cristóbal on 31 May, transited the Panama Canal the next day, and continued her voyage up the coast to San Diego. She stopped at San Diego from 10–13 June before beginning the first leg of her transpacific voyage. Antietam arrived in Pearl Harbor on 19 June and remained in the Hawaiian Islands conducting training missions until 12 August. On that day, she shaped a course for the western Pacific.[ citation needed ]

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, sometimes known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Hampton Roads Metropolitan area in the United States

Hampton Roads is the name of both a body of water that serves as a wide channel for the James, Nansemond and Elizabeth rivers between Old Point Comfort and Sewell's Point where the Chesapeake Bay flows into the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding metropolitan region located in the Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina portions of the Tidewater region.

Norfolk, Virginia Independent city in Virginia, United States

Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 242,803; in 2017, the population was estimated to be 244,703 making it the second-most populous city in Virginia after neighboring Virginia Beach.

Three days out of Oahu, she received word of the Japanese capitulation and the consequent cessation of hostilities. Thus, by the time of her arrival in Eniwetok Atoll on 19 August, her mission changed from combat to occupation support duty. On 21 August, she exited the lagoon in company with Cabot and a screen of destroyers bound for Japan. En route, she suffered some internal damage which forced her into port at Apra Harbor, Guam, for inspections. The inspection party deemed the damage minimal; and the carrier remained operational, resuming her course on 27 August. By that time, however, her destination had been changed to the coast of the Asian mainland. She stopped at Okinawa between 30 August and 1 September, and arrived in Chinese waters near Shanghai the following day.[ citation needed ]

Oahu The third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands and site of the state capital Honolulu

Oʻahu, known as "The Gathering Place", is the third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It is home to roughly one million people—about two-thirds of the population of the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi. The state capital, Honolulu, is on Oʻahu's southeast coast. Including small associated islands such as Ford Island and the islands in Kāneʻohe Bay and off the eastern (windward) coast, its area is 596.7 square miles (1,545.4 km2), making it the 20th-largest island in the United States.

USS <i>Cabot</i> (CVL-28)

USS Cabot (CVL-28/AVT-3) was an Independence-class light aircraft carrier in the United States Navy, the second ship to carry the name. Cabot was commissioned in 1943 and served until 1947. She was recommissioned as a training carrier from 1948 to 1955. From 1967 to 1989, she served in Spain as Dédalo. After attempts to preserve her failed, she was scrapped in 2002.

Apra Harbor seaport in Guam

Apra Harbor is a deep-water port on the western side of the United States territory of Guam. The harbor is formed by Orote Peninsula in the south and Cabras Island in the north. To the south, the harbor narrows and then widens again to form an inner harbor. The southern end of the harbor is the location of Naval Base Guam. The northern end is the commercial port, which handles about 2 million tons of cargo a year. It is considered one of the best natural ports in the Pacific and attracts many tourists.

The aircraft carrier remained in the Far East for a little more than three years. The Yellow Sea constituted her primary theater of operations while her air group provided support for the Allied occupation of North China, Manchuria, and Korea. During the latter stages of that assignment, her airmen conducted surveillance missions in that area as a result of the civil war in China between communist and nationalist factions which later resulted in the expulsion of Chiang Kai-shek's forces from mainland China and the establishment of Mao Zedong's communist People's Republic of China. Throughout the period, however, she did depart the Yellow Sea on occasion for visits to Japan, the Philippines, Okinawa, and the Marianas. Early in 1949, she concluded her mission in the Orient and headed back to the United States for deactivation. She was decommissioned on 21 June 1949. [2]

Yellow Sea Sea in Northeast Asia between China and Korea

The Yellow Sea is located between China and Korea. The name is given to the northern part of the East China Sea, which is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It is located between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula. Its name comes from the sand particles from Gobi Desert sand storms that turn the surface of the water golden yellow.

Manchuria geographic region in Northeast Asia

Manchuria is a name first used in the 17th century by Japanese people to refer to a large geographic region in Northeast Asia. Depending on the context, Manchuria can either refer to a region that falls entirely within the People's Republic of China or a larger region divided between China and Russia. "Manchuria" is widely used outside China to denote the geographical and historical region. This region is the traditional homeland of the Xianbei, Khitan, and Jurchen peoples, who built several states within the area historically.

Korea Region in East Asia

Korea is a region in East Asia. Since 1948, it has been divided between two distinct sovereign states: North Korea and South Korea. Korea consists of the Korean Peninsula, Jeju Island, and several minor islands near the peninsula. Korea is bordered by China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and neighbours Japan to the east by the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan.

Korean War

Antietam returning from Korea in March 1952 USS Antietam (CV-36) returns from Korea, in March 1952.jpg
Antietam returning from Korea in March 1952

Antietam remained in reserve at Alameda, California, but after Communist forces from North Korea invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950, she began reactivation preparations on 6 December and went back into commission on 17 January 1951, with Captain George J. Dufek in command. Initially, the carrier conducted shakedown training and carrier qualifications along the California coast, first out of Alameda and – after 14 May – out of San Diego. She made one voyage to Pearl Harbor and back to San Diego in July and August before departing the latter port on 8 September and heading for the Far East. Antietam arrived in the Far East later that fall and, by late November, began the only combat deployment of her career. During that tour, she made four cruises with Task Force 77 (TF 77), in the combat zone off the coast of the Korean peninsula. In between fighting assignments, she returned to Yokosuka, Japan. During each of those periods, her air group carried out a variety of missions in support of United Nations forces combating North Korean aggression. Those missions included combat air patrol, logistics interdiction, particularly against railroad and highway traffic, reconnaissance, antisubmarine patrols, and night heckler missions. From late November 1951 to mid-March 1952, Antietam's air group flew nearly 6,000 sorties of all types. She returned to Yokosuka on 21 March 1952 at the conclusion of her fourth cruise with TF 77 to begin preparations for her voyage back to the United States.[ citation needed ]

Later years

Night carrier operations on Antietam USS Antietam (CVA-36) underway at night in 1953 (80-G-K-16893).jpg
Night carrier operations on Antietam

The aircraft carrier returned home in April and rejoined the Pacific Reserve Fleet briefly. She was reactivated later that summer and, in August, transited the Panama Canal to join the Atlantic Fleet. In September, the warship entered the New York Naval Shipyard for major alterations. In October, she was redesignated an attack aircraft carrier, CVA-36. In December 1952 Antietam emerged from the yard as the world's first carrier with a true angled flight deck. The principle had been tried on other carriers with lines painted on an axis deck. Antietam's deck was based on a rudimentary sponson. The installation allowed for true angle deck tests, including arrested landings. [3] Trials with British and US units proved during trials to be superior to the usual fore-aft deck. [4] She operated out of Quonset Point, Rhode Island, until the beginning of 1955. During the intervening years, she participated in numerous fleet and independent ship's exercises. Detachment #39 from VC-4, NAS Atlantic City was sent out on the Antietam on June 9, 1953. The stated purpose was to show off the canted deck capabilities to the Royal Navy. There were two aircraft with pilots and 13 enlisted men.

The two Douglas F3D Skyknights were piloted by Lt. Jg. Bruce B. Sheppard and Lt. Jg. Eric H. Steentofte. The enlisted radar operators were Aviation electronics technician third class (AT3) Ron Ames and AT3 Jim Abbott. In those days the Navy didn't have Radar Operators yet. They used enlisted radar techs to fly the right seat as radar operators. There were multiple flying days on the trip across. The pilots had a gunnery run and strafed the sea until the 20 mm guns jammed. Daily flights continued until arrival at Portsmouth.[ citation needed ]

Two days of flight operation took place with all sorts of Royal Navy aircraft making touch and go's. The F3D's were used to give Royal Navy VIP's catapult shots and arrested landings. [ citation needed ]

The VC-4 pilots were air lifted back to the states on July 3 and the F3D's were off loaded and flown back to Atlantic City from Rhode Island.[ citation needed ]

After August 1953, during which time she was redesignated an Anti-submarine warfare carrier (ASW), CVS-36 Antietam concentrated up on honing her hunter/killer skills.[ citation needed ]

Post-sea trials

In January 1955, she embarked upon a voyage to the Mediterranean Sea where she served with the 6th Fleet until March. Resuming duty with the Atlantic Fleet ASW forces, she operated along the eastern seaboard until the fall of 1956. In October of that year, she cruised to the waters of the eastern Atlantic for NATO ASW exercises and goodwill visits to ports in Allied countries. She ran aground off Brest, France, on 22 October 1956, but was refloated undamaged. [5] While the carrier was in Rotterdam, the Suez crisis broke out in the eastern Mediterranean. Antietam cut short her visit to the Netherlands and headed for the Mediterranean to bolster the 6th Fleet during the evacuation of American citizens from Alexandria, Egypt. At the end of that assignment, she conducted ASW training exercises with Italian naval officers embarked before returning to Quonset Point on 22 December.[ citation needed ]

Royal Navy Sea Hawk on Antietam in 1953 CV-36 RN SeaHawk NAN9-53.jpg
Royal Navy Sea Hawk on Antietam in 1953

After resuming operations along the eastern seaboard early in 1957, Antietam was assigned on 21 April 1957 to training duty with the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. Mayport however, served as her home port because ships of her draft could not then enter port at Pensacola. For almost two years the aircraft carrier operated out of Mayport training new Navy pilots and conducting tests on new aviation equipment—most noteworthy on the Bell automatic landing system during August 1958. She also participated in annual Naval Academy midshipmen cruises each summer.[ citation needed ]

In January 1959, after the deepening of the channel into Pensacola had been completed, Antietam's home port was changed from Mayport to Pensacola. For the remainder of her active career, the carrier operated out of Pensacola as an aviation training ship.[ citation needed ]

The deck of the Antietam served as the launching pad for the stratospheric balloon flight of Commander Malcolm D. Ross and Lieutenant Commander Victor A. Prather, both of the United States Navy, on 4 May 1961. This flight set an absolute official altitude record for manned balloons of 113,740 feet (34,670 m). The flight took place over the Gulf of Mexico. During recovery, Prather slipped from the rescue helicopter's lifting harness, fell into the ocean, and died from his injuries onboard Antietam. Commander Ross was successfully recovered. [6]

On two occasions, she provided humanitarian services to victims of hurricane damage. The first came in September 1961 when she rushed to the Texas coast to provide supplies and medical assistance to the victims of Hurricane Carla. The second came just over a month later when she carried medical supplies, doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to British Honduras to help the victims of Hurricane Hattie. Otherwise, she spent the final four years of her naval career in routine naval aviation training duty out of Pensacola. On 23 October 1962, Antietam was relieved by sister ship Lexington as aviation training ship at Pensacola and was placed in commission, in reserve, on 7 January 1963. Berthed at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she remained in reserve until May 1973 when her name was struck from the Navy List. On 28 February 1974, she was sold to the Union Minerals & Alloys Corp. for scrapping.[ citation needed ]



In 1949, Antietam was used in the filming of the movie Task Force, starring Gary Cooper. [7]

See also

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  5. "U.S. Aircraft Carrier Runs Aground". The Times (53669). London. 23 October 1956. col C, p. 9.
  6. Rumerman, Judy (2003). "Higher, Farther, and Longer – Record Balloon Flights in the Second Part of the Twentieth Century". U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. Archived from the original on 30 April 2003. Retrieved 23 October 2007.
  7. Meyers, Jeffrey (February 27, 2001). Gary Cooper: American Hero. Cooper Square Press. pp. 236–237. ISBN   978-0815411406.