USS ANTIETAM CV 36
The second USS Antietam (CV 36) was laid down on March 15, 1943 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on August 20, 1944 sponsored by Mrs. Millard E. Tydings, the wife of Senator Tydings of Maryland; and commissioned on January 28, 1945, Capt. James R. Tague in command.
The aircraft carrier completed fitting out at Philadelphia until March 2, 1945 when she got underway for her shakedown cruise. Antietam arrived in Hampton Roads on the 5th and conducted operations from Norfolk until March 22nd when she stood out of Chesapeake Bay bound for Trinidad in the British West Indies. At the conclusion of her shakedown cruise, USS Antietam returned to Philadelphia on April 28 to begin post-shakedown availability. She completed repairs on May 19 and departed Philadelphia that same day.
After a three-day stop at Norfolk, CV 36 resumed the voyage to the Panama Canal in company with USS Higbee (DD 806), USS George W. Ingram (APD 43), and USS Ira Jeffery (APD 44). She arrived at Cristobal on May 31, 1945, transited the canal the next day, and continued her voyage up the coast to San Diego. USS Antietam stopped at San Diego from June 10-13 before beginning the first leg of her transpacific voyage. Antietam arrived in Pearl Harbor on the 19th and remained in the Hawaiian Islands conducting training missions until August 12th. On that day, she shaped a course for the western Pacific.
Three days out of Oahu, she received word of the Japanese capitulation and the consequent cessation of hostilities. Thus, by the time of her arrival in Eniwetok Atoll on August 19, 1945, her mission changed from combat to occupation support duty. On the 21st she exited the lagoon in company with USS Cabot (CVL 28) and a screen of destroyers bound for Japan. En route, she suffered some internal damage which forced her into port at Apra Harbor Guam, for inspections. The inspection party deemed the damage minimal; and the carrier remained operational, resuming her course on the 27th. By that time, however, her destination had been changed to the coast of the Asian mainland. USS Antietam stopped at Okinawa between August 30 and September 1 and arrived in Chinese waters near Shanghai the following day.
The Antietam remained in the Far East for a little more than three years. The Yellow Sea constituted her primary theater of operations while her air group provided support for the Allied occupation of North China, Manchuria, and Korea. During the latter stages of that assignment, her airmen conducted surveillance missions in that area as a result of the civil war in China between communist and nationalist factions which later resulted in the expulsion of Chiang Kai-shek's forces from mainland China and the establishment of Mao Tse-Tung's communist People's Republic of China.
November 20, 1946 CV 36 suffers an explosion at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, killing one and injuring 34.
Throughout the period, however, USS Antietam did depart the Yellow Sea on occasion for visits to Japan, the Philippines, Okinawa, and the Marianas. Early in 1949, she concluded her mission in the Orient and headed back to the United States for deactivation.
USS Antietam remained in reserve at Alameda, Calif., until communist forces from the north invaded South Korea in the summer of 1950. She began reactivation preparations on December 6 and went back into commission on January 17, 1951, Capt. George J. Dufek in command.
Initially, CV 36 conducted shakedown training and carrier qualifications along the California coast, first out of Alameda and, after May 14, 1951, out of San Diego. She made one voyage to Pearl Harbor and back to San Diego in July and August before departing the latter port on September 8 and heading for the Far East. Antietam arrived in the Far East later that fall and, by late November, began the only combat deployment of her career. During that tour, she made four cruises with Task Force (TF) 77, in the combat zone off the coast of Korea.
In between fighting assignments, she returned to Yokosuka, Japan. During each of those periods, her air group carried out a variety of missions in support of United Nations forces combating North Korean aggression. Those missions included combat air patrol logistics interdiction - particularly against railroad and highway traffic - reconnaissance antisubmarine patrols, and night heckler missions. Between late November 1951 and mid-March 1952, Antietam's air group flew nearly 6,000 sorties of all types. She returned to Yokosuka on March 21, 1952 at the conclusion of her fourth cruise with TF 77 to begin preparations for her voyage back to the United States.
USS Antietam returned home in April 1952 and rejoined the Pacific Reserve Fleet briefly. She was reactivated later that summer and, in August, transited the Panama Canal to join the Atlantic Fleet. In September, Antietam entered the New York Naval Shipyard for major alterations. In October, she was redesignated an attack aircraft carrier, CVA 36. In December 1952, Antietam emerged from the yard as America's first angled-deck aircraft carrier.
Antietam operated out of Quonset Point, R.I., until the beginning of 1955. During the intervening years, she participated in numerous fleet and independent ship's exercises. After August 1953, at which time she was redesignated an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) carrier, CVS 36, Antietam concentrated up on honing her hunter/killer skills. In January 1955, she embarked upon a voyage to the Mediterranean Sea where she served with the 6th Fleet until March. Resuming duty with the Atlantic Fleet ASW forces, she operated along the eastern seaboard until the fall of 1956. In October of that year, she cruised to the waters of the eastern Atlantic for NATO ASW exercises and goodwill visits to ports in Allied countries.
October 23, 1956 USS Antietam is grounded for six hours off Brest, France.
While Antietam was in Rotterdam, the Suez crisis broke out in the eastern Mediterranean. Antietam cut short her visit to the Netherlands and headed for the "middle sea" to bolster the 6th Fleet during the evacuation of American citizens from Alexandria, Egypt. At the end of that assignment, she conducted ASW training exercises with Italian naval officers embarked before returning to Quonset Point on December 22, 1956.
After resuming operations along the eastern seaboard early in 1957, the carrier was assigned on April 21, 1957 to training duty with the Naval Air Training Station, Pensacola, Fla. Mayport, however, served as her home port because ships of her draft could not then enter port at Pensacola.
May 20, 1957 USS Antietam crashes into a river wharf in New Orleans, La. The wharf is heavily damaged, while damage to the Antietam is light.
August 12, 1957 In first test of Automatic Carrier Landing System, Lt. Cmdr. Don Walker is landed on USS Antietam (CVS 36).
For almost two years the aircraft carrier operated out of Mayport training new Navy pilots and conducting tests on new aviation equipment-most noteworthy on the Bell automatic landing system during August of 1957. She also participated in annual Naval Academy midshipmen cruises each summer.
In January 1959, after the deepening of the channel into Pensacola had been completed, Antietam's home port was changed from Mayport to Pensacola. For the remainder of her active career, the carrier operated out of Pensacola as an aviation train ing ship. On two occasions, USS Antietam provided humanitarian services to victims of hurricane damage. The first came in September of 1961 when she rushed to the Texas coast to provide supplies and medical assistance to the victims of hurricane Carla. The second came just over a month later when she carried medical supplies, doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to British Honduras to help with the victims of hurricane Hattie. Otherwise, she spent the final four years of her naval career in routine naval aviation training duty out of Pensacola.
On 23 October 1952, USS Antietam was relieved by USS Lexington (CVS 16) as aviation training ship at Pensacola and was placed in commission, in reserve, on January 7, 1963. Berthed at Philadelphia, Pa., she remained in reserve until May of 1973 when her name was struck from the Navy list. On February 28, 1974, she was sold to the Union Minerals & Alloys Corp. for scrapping.