(CVB-42: dp. 45,000; l. 968'; b. 113'; ew. 136'; dr. 35'; s. 33 k.; cpl. 4,104; a. 18 5"; cl. Midway)
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32d President of the United States, was born in Hyde Park, N.Y., on 30 January 1882, graduated from Harvard in 1904, and after studying law at Columbia, was admitted to the bar in 1907. He practiced briefly in New York before launching an illustrious political career, principally in the executive departments on the State and national levels.
After a term as Democratic State senator (1911-13) in which he associated closely with the reform element, his talents and learned interest in the Navy occasioned appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Navy (1913-20) under Woodrow Wilson. In 1920 he was named to run with James M. Cox on the Democratic ticket but lost in a bitter contest. The next year he was stricken with polio, paralyzed from the waist down, but tenacious effort restored his vigor and presence on the political scene.
Roosevelt was elected Governor of New York in 1928 and 1930, and 2 years later was the successful Democratic nominee for President over the incumbent Herbert Hoover. His first administration which began at the height of the economic depression was characterized by prodigious New Deal legislation. His foreign policy including a Good Neighbor program toward Latin America won much acclaim.
Reelected in 1936 by an overwhelming majority, Roosevelt was soon faced with an ominous international scene and assumed a position of strong opposition to the expansive aggression of the Axis powers. He was largely responsible for extensive United States lend lease aid to Britain after the fall of France in 1940.
Roosevelt broke the "third term" custom in 1940 with his defeat of Wendell Willkie. The story of this administration was that of the Second World War, with the President acting vigorously to accelerate the growth of American strength, and achieve the necessary interallied unity. His personal conduct of foreign relations, demand for unconditional surrender, and conferences with allied leaders at Casablanca, Cairo, Quebec, Teheran, and Yalta determined in large measure the bases of the postwar world. His death on 12 April 1945 shortly after the beginning of his fourth term of office and so close to eventual Allied victory ended an important chapter in American history and exercise in personal dynamic leadership.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) was launched 29 April 1945 by New York Naval Shipyard as Coral Sea (CVB-42); sponsored by Mrs. John H. Towers, wife of the Deputy Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet; renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt 8 May 1945; and commissioned 27 October 1945, Captain A. Soucek in command. She was reclassified CVA-42 on 1 October 1952.
During her shakedown cruise, Franklin D. Roosevelt called at Rio de Janeiro 1 to 11 February 1946 to represent the United States at the inauguration of the Brazilian president, Eurico G. Dutra, who came aboard for a short cruise. Fleet maneuvers and other training operations in the Caribbean preceded her first deployment to the Mediterranean, from 8 August to 4 October during which she was a part of a U.S. Navy force which visited Athens to bolster the government of Greece during its successful fight against the Communist. 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 for peace. The first opportunity for general visiting by the American public came at New York City during Navy Day celebrations of late October.
Franklin D. Roosevelt operated off the east coast until July 1947 when she entered Norfolk Naval Ship Yard for a prolonged overhaul, during which she received improvements to her equipment and facilities. On 13 September 1948 the carrier sailed from Norfolk for a second tour of duty with the Mediterranean forces, from which she returned 23 January 1949. During the next 5 years, Franklin D. Roosevelt took part in intensive operations off the Virginia Capes, along the east coast, and in the Caribbean, and made four tours of duty in the Mediterranean. Assigned to extensive conversion at Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard, the carrier sailed from Norfolk 7 January 1954. Too large to pass through the Panama Canal, she rounded Cape Horn, and arrived at the shipyard 5 March. She was decommissioned there 23 April 1954.
Fitted with an angled flight deck, steam catapults, and a hurricane bow, Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-commissioned 6 April 1956, and on 16 June arrived at San Francisco to load stores for her voyage around the Horn to Mayport, Fla., arriving at her new home port 8 August. She sailed the Caribbean training pilots in the use of the morror landing system and general carrier operations until her emergency deployment to the eastern Atlantic between 7 November and 9 December at the time of the Suez Crisis.
In February 1957, Franklin D. Roosevelt sailed to the Gulf of Maine for cold-weather tests of catapults, aircraft, and other carrier equipment, including the "Regulus" guided missile. In July she sailed for the first of three postconversion cruises to the Mediterranean completed through 1960. Her assignments in the Mediterranean added NATO exercises to her normal schedule of major fleet operations, and found her each year entertaining a distinguished list of guests. A constant emphasis on her stateside operations was development of advanced tactics and procedures.