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USS Lake Champlain (CV-39/CVA-39/CVS-39) 

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Lake Champlain (CV-39/CVA-39/CVS-39) 

USS Lake Champlain (CV-39) was laid down in drydock by the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth Va., 15 March 1943; launched by float 2 November 1944; sponsored 3 June 1945 by Mrs. Warren Austin, wife of Senator Austin of Vermont; and commissioned the same day, Capt. Logan C. Ramsey in command.

After shakedown and visits to New York and Philadelphla, USS Lake Champlain (CV-39) was assigned to "Magic Carpet" duty, departed Norfolk for England 14 October, and arrived Southhampton the 19th where she embarked veterans and returned them to New York. USS Lake Champlain (CV-39) retired to the "Mothball Fleet" at Norfolk, Va., 17 February 1947. After the United States had allowed her active military strength to shrink to the danger point, the Communists struck in Korea.

After shakedown in Cuban and Haitian waters 25 November through 25 December, the carrier departed Mayport, Fla., for Korea 26 April 1953 via the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and China Sea, becoming the largest ship to transit the Suez Canal. She moored at Yokosuka, Japan, 9 June 1953. In the years that followed, USS Lake Champlain (CV-39) made several cruises to the Mediterranean, participating with NATO forces. On 25 April 1957 she joined elements of the fleet in a high-speed run to the scene of tension in the Middle East, cruising in the vicinity of Lebanon and backing Jordan's stand against the threat of Communism. The swift and firm reaction averted a near catastrophe in the Middle East. Tension eased and USS Lake Champlain (CV-39) returned to Mayport 27 July. Converted to an antisubmarine carrier and reclassified (CVS-39) on 1 August, USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39) trained off the eastern seaboard to master her new role.

USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39) was selected as the prime recovery ship for the first manned space flight. She sailed for the recovery area 1 May and was on station on the 5th when Comdr. Alan Sheppard splashed down in spacecraft Freedom 7, some 300 miles down range from Cape Kennedy. Helicopters from the carrier visually followed the descent of the capsule and were over the astronaut 2 minutes after the impact. 

USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39) returned to Quonset Point 9 November for operations in New England waters. She visited Bermuda briefly in spring of 1964 and steamed to Spain in the fall for landings near Huelva. She sailed 6 November from Barcelona for the United States, touched at Gibraltar and arrived at Quonset Point the 25th. The first half of 1965, found the USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39) performing training duties and conducting exercises up and down the East Coast. The last major duty of her career occurred on 5 August when she served as the primary recovery ship for Gemini 5. Soon after this duty was completed, she sailed to Philadelphia, where she commenced inactivation. She was decommissioned 2 May 1966.

For a complete history of USS Lake Champlain (CV-39/CVA-39/CVS-39) please see its DANFS page.