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Fleet Carriers

CV-9 USS Essex

Highlights of Ship's Service History

USS Essex
Underway at 1615 hrs. during May 1943,
in position 37 05'N, 74 15'E,
as photographed from a blimp from squadron ZP-14.
Among the aircraft parked on her flight deck are
24 SBD scout bombers (parked aft), about 11 F6F fighters
(parked in after part of the midships area) and
about 18 TBF/TBM torpedo planes (parked amidships).
Official U.S. Navy Photograph,
now in the collections of the National Archives.
Photo source:
U. S. Naval Historical Center  [ Flag of United States ]

3 July
 [ quill pen icon ]

28 April
 [ keel laid icon ]
Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company

31 July
 [ champagne bottle icon ]
Sponsored by the wife of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air, Mrs. Artemus L. Gates.
31 December
 [ bunting icon ]
Commanded by Captain D. B. Duncan.

Assigned to Pacific Fleet.
31 August
Operated against Marcus Island as part of TF 15.
5-6 October
Attacked Wake Island as flagship of TF 14.
18-23 November
As part of TG 50.3, participated in her first amphibious operation, assaulting Tarawa in the Gilberts.
4 December
Designated flagship of TG 50.3; attacked Kwajalein Island.

29 January - 2 February
Joined TG 58.2 to make amphibious attack on the Marshall Islands.
17-18 February
TG 58.2, with task groups 58.1 and 58.3 (creating the largest carrier strike group to date), attacked Truk. The combined group sank eight Japanese ships.
Late February
While at sea, successfully defended against extended Japanese air attack.
23 February
Attacks on Saipan, Tinian and Guam.
February - May
 [ refit icon ]
In overhaul at San Francisco.
19-20 May
Formed TG 12 with carriers CV-18 USS Wasp and CVL-30 USS San Jacinto; struck Marcus Island.
23 May
TG 12 struck Wake Island.
12 June - 10 August
Supported occupation of Marianas Islands with TF 58.
6 - 8 September
Led TG 38.3 in an attack on the Palau Islands.
9 - 10 September
TG 38.3 attacked Mindanao in the Philippines. The primary target for this strike was enemy shipping.
2 October
 [ storm icon ]
Weathered a typhoon while supporting landing operations on Peleliu.
6 October
With TF 38, sailed for her next target: the Ryukyu Islands, part of the Japanese Home Islands.
10 October
Strikes on Okinawa.
12-14 October
Attacks on Formosa (now Taiwan).
24-25 October
The Battle for Leyte Gulf
30 October
At Ulithi, Caroline Islands, for resupply.
Attacks on Manilla and the northern Philippine islands.
USS Essex
Japanese Kamikaze aircraft explodes
after crashing into the carrier's flight deck amidships,
during operations off the Philippines, 25 November 1944.
Photographed from USS Langley (CVL-27).
Official U.S. Navy Photograph,
now in the collections of the National Archives.
Photo source:
U. S. Naval Historical Center  [ Flag of United States ]
25 November
 [ explosion icon ]
Hit by kamikaze on the flight deck, portside. 44 killed, 15 wounded.
14-16 December
With 3rd Fleet off Luzon supporting the Mindoro occupation.
18 December
 [ storm icon ]  [ Red Cross icon ]
After weathering a typhoon off the Philippines, Essex assisted in search for survivors from other ships.
December - January 1945
Operations in the Lingayan Gulf and South China Sea, striking Formosa, Sakishima, Okinawa, Luzon, the China coast, Hainan, and Hong Kong.

20-21 January
 [ storm icon ]
Survived a third typhoon in four months.
26-27 January
Strikes against Formosa, Miyakp Shima and Okinawa.
16-17 February
Attacks on the Tokyo area, concentrating on aviation assets and manufacturing.
25 February
More strikes against Tokyo.
February - March
Support missions against Iwo Jima and surrounding islands.
23 March - 28 May
Okinawa Campaign.
10 July - 15 August
Raids on Japanese Home Islands.
15 August - 3 September
Defensive air patrols off Japan.
3 September
Ordered to Bremerton, Washington for inactivation.

9 January
 [ gold watch icon ]  [ subdued U. S. flag icon ]
Decommissioned and placed in reserve status.

1950(?) - January 1951
 [ refit icon ]
SCB-27A refit.

15 January
 [ bunting icon ]
Recommissioned under the command of Captain A. W. Wheelock.
 [ first event ]
While supporting Korean War operations as flagship of Carrier Division 1 and Task Force 77, Essex was the first carrier to launch F2H Banshee twin-jet fighters on combat missions.
USS Essex
"Sunset -- All is Calm --
It's the end of another day
aboard the aircraft carrier USS Essex
operating in North Korean waters.
An airman lashes a Banshee (F2H) jet fighter
to the flight deck as the falling sun
draws evening shadows from the slumbering plane."
Photograph and caption were released by
Commander, Naval Forces, Far East
under date of 8 March 1952.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph,
from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Photo source:
U. S. Naval Historical Center  [ Flag of United States ]
16 September
 [ explosion icon ]
Returning from a combat mission, a damaged F2H Banshee crashes into aircraft on the forward flight deck, causing explosions and fire; 7 are killed. Essex moves to Yokosuka, Japan for repairs.
3 October
Essex returns to Korea duty, launching strikes on North Korea and providing close air support to allied troops.

1 October
 [ quill pen icon ]
Reclassified CVA-9.

1 December
Sails the China Sea with the Peace Patrol as her final tour of the Korean War.

November - June 1955
Training exercises, operations with 7th Fleet, air operations and fleet maneuvers off Okinawa.

 [ Red Cross icon ]
Participated in evacuation of Chinese Nationalist personnel from Tachen Island.
July - March 1956
 [ refit icon ]
SCB-125 (Phase 3) modernisation at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

March - June
Operation off the west coast and six-month tour with 7th Fleet in the Far East.
21 June
transferred to Atlantic Fleet, departed San Diego headed for Mayport, Florida via Cape Horn, arriving 1 August.
Participated in NATO exercise "Strike Back" as antisubmarine carrier.

February - May
Deployed with 6th Fleet.
May - July
Operations in eastern Mediterranean.
14 July
Middle East Crisis. Essex supports the U.S. landing in Beirut, Lebanon, and flies recon and patrol missions through 20 August.
20 August
Detached from 6th Fleet, transits the Suez Canal and proceeds to Taiwan area for operations with TF 77, then rounds Cape Horn and returns to Mayport, Florida.

 [ Flag of Britain ]
Atlantic exercises with 2nd Fleet and British ships, and Mediterranean exercises with NATO forces.
 [ Red Cross icon ]  [ Flag of France ]
Rescue and support for flood victims at Frejus, France.

 [ refit icon ]
Converted to ASW Support Carrier. Assigned as flagship of Carrier Division 18 and Antisubmarine Carrier Group Three.
USS Essex
Underway at sea during a
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Mediterranean cruise, 22 June 1967.
Photographed by PHCS(PJ) W.A. Jackman.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph,
from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Photo source:
U. S. Naval Historical Center  [ Flag of United States ]
8 March
 [ quill pen icon ]
Reclassified CVS-9.
Spring - Summer
 [ Red Cross icon ]  [ apple for teacher icon ]
Conducted rescue/salvage operations for a downed blimp off the New Jersey coast; performed a midshipman cruise with Naval Academy cadets; operated in support of NATO and CENTO exercises.
 [ Flag of France ]
Joined with French forces in operation "Jet Stream".

30 June
 [ gold watch icon ]

1 June
 [ eraser icon ]
Stricken from the Navy List.
 [ welding torch icon ]
Sold and scrapped in Kearny, New Jersey.


Originally completed to "short hull" specifications.
World War II citations: Presidential Unit Citation, 13 Battle Stars
Korean War Citations: Navy Unit Commendation, 4 Battle Stars
Name continued by Wasp-class amphibious assault ship LHD-2 USS Essex


Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships - U. S. Naval Historical Center  [ Flag of United States ] United States Naval Vessel Register  [ Flag of United States ] Wikipedia  [ Wikipedia icon ] Online Library of Selected Images - U. S. Naval Historical Center  [ Flag of United States ] NavSource: Photographic History of the U.S. Navy  [ World Wide Web icon ] Haze Gray & Underway [ World Wide Web icon ] Tachen Island Evacuation History [ World Wide Web icon ]