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USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42/CVA-42)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42/CVA-42)

USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) was laid down on 1 December 1943, at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y.; launched on 29 April 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Anne P. Towers, née Pierette, wife of Adm. John H. Towers, Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet, and by the ship’s honorary sponsor, First Lady A. Eleanor Roosevelt; renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt to honor the late President Roosevelt on 8 May 1945, marking the first time that the Navy made an exception to the traditional naming of fleet aircraft carriers for battles or famous ships; and commissioned on 27 October 1945, Capt. Apollo Soucek in command.

USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) set out on her shakedown cruise with Large Carrier Air Group (CVBG) 75 embarked into the Caribbean and South Atlantic (8 January–19 March 1946). USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) called at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1–11 February) to represent the United States at the inauguration of Brazilian President Eurico G. Dutra, who boarded the ship for a short cruise. Douglas H. Fox in the meanwhile refueled briefly at Trinidad in the British West Indies on 26 January and Pernambuco in Brazil on 31 January.

USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) made the ship’s maiden deployment when she sailed with CVBG-75 to the Mediterranean (8 August–4 October 1946). While the ship lay anchored at Lisbon, Portugal, on 18 August she welcomed USS Houston (CL-81) as the light cruiser also slipped up the Tagus River into the port. As USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) stood back out to sea she launched 78 aircraft over the task force in an impressive display of naval air power. USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) was reclassified to an attack aircraft carrier (CVA-42) on 1 October 1952. The ship next took part in Longstep in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

On February 1957, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) sailed to the Gulf of Maine for cold-weather tests of catapults, aircraft, and other carrier equipment, including the SSM-N-8 Regulus (Regulus I) cruise missile. In July she sailed for the first of three post conversion cruises to the Mediterranean through 1960. USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) and CVG-1 deployed once more to the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean (14 September 1962–22 April 1963). The ongoing fighting in the Vietnam War compelled the Navy to rotate carriers through deployments to the Western Pacific. FUSS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) and CVW-1 thus turned toward the war. The ship returned to the line on 1 October 1966, but as she resumed the action and began launching the day’s strikes, a blade on the propeller on the No. 1 shaft broke off, hurled itself across the propulsion system and tore away part of the housing for the No. 2 drive shaft, damaging its screw.

USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) was decommissioned while she lay moored starboard side to Pier 3 at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va., and also was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register, during the forenoon watch on 1 October 1977.

For a complete history of USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42/CVA-42) please see its DANFS page.