(CV-21: dp. 27,100; l. 888'; b. 147'6"; dr. 28'7"; s. 33 k.; cpl. 3448; a. 12 5"; cl. Ticonderoga)
The name Boxer comes from His Majesty’s Brig Boxer (Captain Samuel Blyth), 14 guns, encountered and captured by the U.S. brig Enterprise (Lieutenant William Burrows), 12 guns, off Portland, Maine, on 5 September 1813.
Enterprise, patrolling the New England coast to “protect the coasting trade to the eastward which has been so much interrupted by small cruisers of the enemy,” was searching the bay around Pemaquid Point when she discovered a brig getting underway that appeared to be a vessel of war, and immediately gave chase. Boxer, however, fired several rounds, and stood for the fight. Lieutenant Burrows, having identified the stranger’s strength and enemy character, ordered Enterprise to stand out to allow room to maneuver. Boxer gave chase, following Enterprise into open waters. At 3:00 that afternoon, Enterprise shortened sail and ran down, intending to draw in her enemy. At twenty minutes past three o’clock that afternoon with the ships within half pistol shot, both ships opened their batteries. The first broadside proved costly to both vessels: Captain Blyth fell almost immediately when a shot struck nearby. Not long after, Lieutenant Burrows fell mortally wounded by a cannon shot to the chest. The fighting raged for over an hour, with both ships exchanging volleys and suffering great damage. By 4:00 p.m., Boxer was a complete wreck, all of her braces and rigging shot away, her main topmast and topgallant mast hanging over the side, fore and main masts virtually gone, three feet of water in her hold, and no surgeon to tend to her wounded. As Enterprise maneuvered for a raking position, Lieutenant McCrery, having assumed command, conferred with his officers and decided to hail Enterprise and concede the battle. The ensigns, having been nailed to the masts by Captain Blyth, could not be hauled down.
The U.S. Navy never put Boxer into service. Sold in Portland, Maine, she sailed from that port for many years as a merchantman.
The fifth Boxer (CV-21) was launched 14 December 1944 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.; sponsored by Miss Ruth D. Overton, daughter of the Senator from Louisiana; and commissioned 16 April 1945, Captain D. F. Smith in command.
Completed too late to take part in World War II, Boxer joined the Pacific Fleet at San Diego in August 1945. From September 1945 to 23 August 1946 she operated out of Guam as flagship of TF 77 in the Western Pacific. During this tour she visited Japan, Okinawa, the Philippines, and China. She returned to San Francisco 10 September 1946 and operated off the west coast engaged in normal peacetime duty until departing for the Far East 11 January 1950. After service with the 7th Fleet in the Far East during the first half of 1950, she returned to San Diego, arriving 25 June.
With the outbreak of the Korean conflict she was pressed into service to carry planes to the fighting. During 14-22 July 1950 she made a record crossing of the Pacific, 8 1/2 days, with 150 Air Force and Navy planes and a thousand troops. On her return trip (27 July-4 August), she cut the record to 7 days, 10 hours, and 36 minutes. After fast repairs she departed for the Far East 24 August, this time to join TF 77 in giving air support to the troops. Her planes supported the landing at Inchon (15 September 1950) and other ground action until November, when she departed for the west coast and overhaul.
Boxer departed San Diego for her second Korean tour 2 March 1951. Again she operated with TF 77 supporting the ground troops. She returned to San Francisco 24 October 1951. Sailing 8 February 1952 for her third tour in Korea, Boxer again served with TF 77. During 23-24 June her planes took part in the heavy strikes against the North Korean hydro-electric complex and on 5 August she had nine men killed and two seriously injured in a fire which swept the hangar deck. After emergency repairs at Yokosuka, Japan (11-23 August), boxer returned to duty off Korea. She arrived at San Francisco 25 September and underwent repairs until March 1953.
The carrier departed for the Far East 30 March 1953 and went into action a month later. She took part in the final actions of the Korean conflict and remained in Asiatic waters until November. Since the end of the Korean fighting Boxer has cruised off the west coast and has made three cruises to the Far East. Boxer was reclassified CVA-21 on October 1952 and CVS-21, 15 November 1955.
Boxer received eight battle stars for her service off Korea.
Update for 1954 to 1969 pending.
Boxer was decommissioned on 1 December 1969 and removed from the Navy listing on the same date.
15 December 2005