Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS Bon Homme Richard (CV/CVA-31)

USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31)

Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) tied up at Carrier Pier #2, Naval Air Station, Alameda, California, on 27 October 1945. Commencement Bay (CVE-115) is in the right background. Official U.S. Navy photograph from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Catalog#: NH 97340.

Bon Homme Richard (CV/CVA-31) is considered the second ship of the name despite the difference in spelling, an error which may have crept in as early as the 1860s when the name was assigned to a steam frigate that was never built and which later was compounded, no doubt, by the haste with which an enormous number of ships were named during World War II.

(CV/CVA-31; displacement 27,100; length 872'; beam 147'6"; draft 28'7"; speed 33 knots; complement 3448; armament 12 5-inch guns; class Essex)

The second Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) was launched 29 April 1944 at the New York Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. John S. McCain, wife of Vice Admiral McCain; and commissioned 26 November 1944, Captain A. O. Rule, Jr., in command.

Bon Homme Richard departed Norfolk 19 March 1945 to join the Pacific Fleet and arrived at Pearl Harbor 5 April 1945. Following additional training in Hawaiian waters, the carrier joined Task Force 38 off Okinawa 6 June 1945. During 7-10 June, she joined in the attacks on Okino Daito Jima and then served with the Third Fleet during the air strikes against Japan (2 July-15 August). She remained off Japan until 16 September and after a short training period off Guam, proceeded to San Francisco, arriving 20 October. She left San Francisco 29 October and steamed to Pearl Harbor to undergo conversion for troop transport duty. From 8 November 1945 to 16 January 1946, she made trans-Pacific voyages, returning service members to the United States, before being decommissioned.

USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31)

Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) anchored in New York Harbor with supply barges alongside, 9 January 1945. Photographed from a Naval Air Station, New York, aircraft flying at an altitude of 300 feet. Official U.S. Navy photograph from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Catalog#: NH 97341.

Bon Homme Richard was recommissioned 15 January 1951 and on 10 May departed San Diego for the western Pacific. She joined Task Force 77 off Korea on 29 May and launched her first air strikes 31 May. Bon Homme Richard continued operations with TF 77 until 20 November 1951. The carrier reached San Diego in mid-December and on 20 May 1952 was off again to the western Pacific. She joined TF 77 once more on 23 June and took part in the heavy strikes against a North Korean power complex (24-25 June). Her classification was changed from CV-31 to CVA-31 on 1 October 1952. Just over a week later, she participated in the amphibious feint at Kojo (12-16 October). She continued operations against North Korean targets until 18 December 1952 and then steamed to San Francisco, where she arrived 8 January 1953.


USS HORNET (CV-12) Firing gun battery in Western Pacific, circa June 1945

Hornet (CV-12) firing her starboard 5"/38 gun battery in a Western Pacific practice exercise, circa June 1945. Next ship astern, also firing, is Bon Homme Richard (CV-31). National Archives photograph. Catalog#: 80-G-K-5704.

Bon Homme Richard went out of commission 15 May 1953 preparatory to modernization. When recommissioned 6 September 1955, she had an angled and strengthened flight deck, enclosed bow, enlarged elevators, and steam catapults. She completed her conversion period on 31 October 1955 and commenced sea trials in the Alameda-San Diego area. Bon Homme Richard then served with the Pacific Fleet and made several tours of the western Pacific.

Bon Homme Richard was decommissioned on 2 July 1971 and struck from the Navy list on 20 September 1989. She was disposed of by scrapping on 4 February 1992.

Bon Homme Richard received one battle star for her World War II service and five battle stars for participation in the Korean conflict.



Published: Thu Nov 21 12:13:10 EST 2019