Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • Boats-Ships--Aircraft Carriers
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  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
  • Cold War
  • Korean Conflict 1950-1954
  • World War II 1939-1945
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Bon Homme Richard (CV-31)

1944–1989


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-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-31; displacement 27,100; length 872'; beam 147'6"; draft 28'7"; speed 33 knots; complement 3,448; armament 12 5-inch, 32 40-millimeter, 46 20-millimeter; aircraft 91; class Essex)

The second Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) was laid down on 1 February 1943, at the New York Navy Yard; launched 29 April 1944; sponsored by Mrs. John S. McCain, wife of Vice Adm. McCain; and commissioned on 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, T.H., on 5 April 1945. Following additional training in Hawaiian waters, the carrier joined Task Force (TF) 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, Calif., arriving on 20 October. She left San Francisco on 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 during Operation Magic Carpet, before being decommissioned on 9 January 1947.


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 on 15 January 1951 and on 10 May departed San Diego for the western Pacific. She joined TF 77 off Korea on 29 May and launched her first air strikes two days later on the 31st. 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). She was reclassified to an attack aircraft carrier (CVA-31) on 1 October 1952. Just over a week later, she participated in an 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 on 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 on 15 May 1953 preparatory to modernization. When recommissioned on 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 on 20 September 1989, stricken from the Navy List. 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: Tue Apr 07 15:34:41 EDT 2020