USS FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT CV 42
USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB 42) was launched April 29, 1945 by New York Naval Shipyard as Coral Sea (CVB 42); sponsored by Mrs. John H. Towers, wife of the Deputy Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet; renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt May 8, 1945 following the death of the President; and commissioned October 27, 1945 Captain A. Soucek in command.
During her shakedown cruise, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt called at Rio de Janeiro February 1-11, 1946 to represent the United States at the inauguration of the Brazilian president, Eurico G. Dutra, who came aboard for a short cruise. Fleet maneuvers and other training operations in the Caribbean preceded her first deployment to the Mediterranean, from August 8 to October 4 during which she was a part of a U.S. Navy force which visited Athens to bolster the government of Greece during its successful fight against the Communist. She received thousands of visitors during her calls to many Mediterranean ports, giving Europeans an opportunity to view this impressive addition to America's seapower for peace.
On July 21, 1946, Lt. Cmdr. James Davidson, flying the McDonnell XFD-1 Phantom, made a series of successful landings and take-offs aboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt in the first U.S. test of the adaptability of jet aircraft to shipboard operations. In November, Lt. Col. Marion E. Carl, USMC, flying a jet propelled P-80A made two catapult launches, four free take-offs, and five arrested landings aboard Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of continuing tests into the carrier suitability of the aircraft.
USS Franklin D. Roosevelt operated off the east coast until July 1947 when she entered Norfolk Naval Ship Yard for a prolonged overhaul, during which she received improvements to her equipment and facilities. On September 13, 1948 the carrier sailed from Norfolk for a second tour of duty with the Mediterranean forces, from which she returned January 23, 1949.
In a demonstration of carrier long-range attack capabilities, a P2V-3C Neptune, with Cmdr. Thomas Robinson in command, took off from USS Franklin D. Roosevelt off Jacksonville, Fla., and flew over Charleston, S.C., the Bahamas, the Panama Canal, up the coast of Central America and over Mexico to land the next day at San Francisco Municipal Airport. The flight, which covered 5,060 miles in 25 hours 59 minutes, was the longest ever made from the deck of a carrier.
During the next few years, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt took part in intensive operations off the Virginia Capes, along the east coast, and in the Caribbean, and made four tours of duty in the Mediterranean. She was reclassified CVA 42 on October 1, 1952. Assigned to extensive conversion at Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard, the carrier sailed from Norfolk January 7, 1954. Too large to pass through the Panama Canal, she rounded Cape Horn, and arrived at the shipyard March 5 . She was decommissioned there April 23, 1954.
In February 1957, the recommissioned USS Franklin D. Roosevelt sailed to the Gulf of Maine for cold weather tests of catapults, aircraft, and other carrier equipment, including the Regulus guided missile.
May 15, 1957 Franklin D. roosevelt reportedly hits a submerged object, off the coast of Florida; the object is not thought to be a submarine. The Navy later denies that the carrier hit an object, claiming instead that a propeller had broken.
June 19, A high-pressure steam line explodes aboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt killing two and injuring five.
In July, she sailed for the first of three post-conversion cruises to the Mediterranean completed through 1960. Her assignments in the Mediterranean added NATO exercises to her normal schedule of major fleet operations, and found her each year entertaining a distinguished list of guests.
USS Franklin D. Roosevelt supported the transport USS Kliensmith (APD 134) in the evacuation of 56 U.S. citizens and three foreign nationals from Nicara, Cuba, October 24, 1958, as the Cuban revolution came to a climax.
October 4, 1959 Franklin D. Roosevelt collides with the USS Pawcatuck (AO 108) during refueling off the coast of Virginia. Both ship are slightly damaged.
September 29, 1964 USS Franklin D. Roosevelt sustains damage to its #1 propeller during normal operations in the Mediterranean. USS Independence relieved Roosevelt on duty as she returned to the United States to drydock.
On March 6, 1965 a Sikorsky SH-3A Sea King helicopter, piloted by Cmdr. James R. Williford, took off from USS Hornet (CVS 12) berthed at North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, and landed 15 hours and 51 minutes later on the deck of Franklin D. Roosevelt at sea off Mayport, Fla. The flight surpassed the existing distance for helicopters by more than 700 miles.
October 12, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt and the French merchantman Charles le Borgne collide off southern France. The Roosevelt sustains little damage and continues its participation in "Lafayette IX", a two-day bilateral US-French exercise in the western Mediterranean. The merchantman sustains minor structural damage and proceeds under its own power to Marseilles, France, escorted by the USS Douglas H. Fox (DD 779).
November 4, 1966 A flash fire occures in a storage compartment containing oil and hydraulic fluid four decks below the hangar deck of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt while the ship is on station in the South China Sea, killing seven.
A new, major development in carrier fire prevention occured on May 26, 1969 when Franklin D. Roosevelt put to sea from the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va., after an 11-month overhaul which included installation of a deck edge spray system using the new seawater compatible fire-fighting chemical, Light Water.
February 23, 1973 The carrier suffers minor damage from a brief fire in the hangar deck while the ship is undergoing a restricted availability in Mayport, Fla.
Continuing to serve, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, along with USS Independence and USS Guadalcanal (LPH 7) stood by for possible evacuation contingencies during the Yom Kippur War between Israeli and Arab forces during October 1973.
Another first was racked up by USS Franklin D. Roosevelt when, on October 4, 1976, the first overseas operational commitment on a carrier for the AV-8A Harrier began when VMA 231 embarked aboard for a Sixth Fleet deployment. On January 13, 1977, two other Harriers made bow-on approaches and landing aboard the carrier, marking the first time a fixed wing aircraft had made a bow-on, downwind landing aboard a carrier at sea.
January 12, 1977 CVA 42 collides with the Liberian freighter Oceanus as the carrier proceeds south through the Strait of Messina. Both ships are able to proceed to port under their own power.
USS Franklin D. Roosevelt was decommissioned September 30, 1977, and stricken from the Navy List the following day. She was sold by the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) for scrapping on April 1, 1978.