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USS Kearsarge (CV-33/CVA-33/CVS-33)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Kearsarge (CV-33/CVA-33/CVS-33)

The third USS Kearsarge (CV-33/CVA-33/CVS-33) was laid down on 1 March 1944 at Brooklyn, N.Y., by the New York Navy Yard; launched on 5 May 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Gwyneth C. Fitch, née Conger, wife of Vice Adm. Aubrey W. Fitch, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air); and commissioned on 2 March 1946, Capt. Francis J. McKenna in command.

USS Kearsarge (CV-33) arrived at her homeport of Norfolk, Va., on 21 April 1946, and for the next year trained along the east coast. The ship cleared Norfolk on a midshipman training cruise into the North Atlantic that carried her to the United Kingdom and also into the Caribbean (7 June–11 August 1947). 

During her tour in the Mediterranean the Sixth Fleet stood on alert to insure peace in the midst of the Arab-Israeli War. USS Kearsarge (CV-33) returned to Naval Air Station (NAS) Quonset Point, R.I., on 2 October. The Navy repeatedly experimented with new concepts and equipment and VA-174 tested new Martin AM-1 Maulers during carrier qualifications on board USS Kearsarge (CV-33) off Quonset Point later that year (27–28 December 1948). The ship operated along the Atlantic Coast and the Caribbean until 27 January 1950, when she sailed for the west coast without any aircraft embarked. The carrier arrived at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton, Wash., on 23 February. On 16 June 1950, USS Kearsarge (CV-33) was decommissioned there for an SCB-27A modernization overhaul that would enable her to handle jet aircraft.

Arriving at Naval Operating Base (NOB) Yokosuka, Japan, on 8 September 1952, USS Kearsarge (CV-33) conducted air refresher operations, twice refueled destroyer USS Kidd (DD-661), and at 2322 on the 16th joined the fast carrier Task Force 77 off the Korean east coast. For the next five months USS Kearsarge (CV-33/CVA-33/CVS-33)’s aircraft flew nearly 6,000 sorties against communist forces in North Korea, unleashing airborne fury on enemy positions. The ship alternatively launched air raids, trained, especially in antiaircraft gunnery exercises and station keeping, and pulled off the line to refuel.

USS Kearsarge (CV-33) worked with USS Essex (CVA-9) and USS Oriskany (CVA-34) as they rotated their protective fighters through Combat Air Patrols (CAPs) on 18 November 1952, a day that dawned as any other but marked a swirling clash of dogfights. Corsairs and Skyraiders flying from USS Kearsarge (CV-33/CVA-33/CVS-33) assailed enemy troops in the Hoeryŏng area as the ship sent 43 sorties into the air. The ship was fitted out as an antisubmarine warfare support carrier during the summer of 1958, a role for which she was reclassified to CVS-33 on 1 October 1958. Following intensive training in her new task, the carrier sailed for Seventh Fleet operations in the Far East on 5 September 1959. Following six months in the Far East, USS Kearsarge (CVS-33) arrived at Puget Sound on 1 November for the second phase of her modernization.

The ship departed on 4 June 1963 on her eighth cruise to the Far East, and while operating with the Seventh Fleet she kept watch on the fighting in Southeast Asia. Kearsarge returned to Long Beach on 3 December and took part in training exercises off California. USS Kearsarge (CVS-33) subsequently turned for the Vietnam War. USS Kearsarge (CVS-33) was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and decommissioned at Long Beach on 13 February 1970.

For a complete history of USS Kearsarge (CVS-33) please see its DANFS page.