Tuesday, December 1, 2009
USS Princeton (CV-37, later CVA-37, CVS-37, LPH-5)
Figure 1: USS Princeton (CV-37) at sea off the coast of Korea with F4U aircraft parked aft and F9F jet fighters forward. The original photograph is dated 8 June 1951. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Princeton (CV-37) takes on supplies and ammunition at Sasebo, Japan, on 4 December 1950, the day before she began combat operations off Korea. Note LSU-1082 and large floating crane alongside the carrier. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: US Navy ships take on supplies while moored in Sasebo harbor, Japan, circa December 1950. Photographed from USS Princeton (CV-37), which arrived in the area on her first Korean War deployment in early December. Among the ships in the background are USS Mount Katmai (AE-16), in left center, and USS Comstock (LSD-19), at right. Planes on Princeton's deck are AD Skyraiders. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: Two Grumman F9F-2 Panther fighters from USS Princeton (CV-37) dump fuel as they fly past the carrier during Korean War operations, circa May 1951. Photographed from a VC-61 plane piloted by Lieutenant (Junior Grade) George Elmies. This photograph was released by Commander, Naval Forces Far East, under the date of 23 May 1951. The plane on left is Bureau # 123583. Official US Navy Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: Torpedo attack on the Hwachon Reservoir dam by AD Skyraiders of Attack Squadron 195 (VA-195) from USS Princeton (CV-37), 1 May 1951. This successful strike, and earlier bomb attacks by US Navy and Air Force planes, was made to deny the enemy the tactical use of controlled flooding on the Pukhan and Han rivers. Torpedoes were used after bombs failed to achieve the desired results. They destroyed one flood gate and partially destroyed another. This was the only use of torpedoes during the Korean War. The Hwachon Reservoir was later recaptured by UN forces. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: Awards ceremony on the flight deck of USS Princeton (CV-37), in which 31 Naval aviators of Air Group 19 received Air Medals, and two more received Gold Stars in lieu of a third Air Medal, circa May 1951. The medals were presented by Captain William O. Gallery, the carrier's Commanding Officer. They were awarded "For meritorius achievement in aerial flights in attacks on hostile North Korean and Chinese Communist forces, while upholding policies of the United Nations Security Council.” The ceremonies included a fly past salute by Air Group 19 fighter planes. Note the still and motion picture photographers at work and the HO3S helicopter parked aft. Also note the flight deck barrier rigged, but retracted, in lower part of the image. This photograph was released by Commander, Naval Forces Far East, on 16 May 1951. Official US Navy Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: Lieutenant (Junior Grade) John Henry ("Buster") Wells, USN, stands beside a F9F-5 Panther jet fighter (nicknamed "Kosy Rosy") of Fighter Squadron 154, on board USS Princeton (CVA-37), during the Korean War, circa spring 1953. During 1952-53, he served two Korean War combat pilot tours with VF-837 and VF-154. From the collection of John M. Owen, 2000. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: USS Princeton (CVS-37) photographed circa the mid-1950s, with twelve S2F anti-submarine aircraft parked forward. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: Commander Carrier Division 15, Captain Raymond N. Sharp, on board USS Princeton (CVS-37), showing the Prime Minister of Ceylon, Solomon W.R. Bandaranaike, emergency supplies that are to be delivered to flood victims in his nation on 11 January 1958. This picture was taken on the carrier's hangar deck with HSS-1 helicopters undergoing maintenance in the background. Relief supplies include cans of sliced and cored pineapple, produced in Australia and donated by the United States. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: USS Princeton (LPH-5) photographed after her 1961 "FRAM" modernization, with UH-34 helicopters on her flight deck. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 11: US Marine Corps HUS-1 helicopters are towed to their launching positions on board USS Princeton’s (LPH-5) flight deck on 20 March 1960. Note groups of Marines marching aft to board their helicopters. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 12: General William Westmoreland, Commander Military Advisory Group, Vietnam, walks up USS Princeton’s (LPH-5) flight deck with her Commanding Officer, Captain Paul J. Knapp, in late 1964 on the occasion of her delivery of flood relief supplies to South Vietnam. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 13: Marine UH-34 helicopters lift off from USS Princeton (LPH-5) to land "Leathernecks" in the Republic of Vietnam during Operation "Jackstay,” 26 March 1966. Photographed by Journalist 1st Class E.J. Filtz, USN. UH-34 in the foreground is Bureau # 148075. Official US Navy Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 14: USS Princeton (LPH-5) refueling from USS Chipola (AO-63) during operations in the Pacific, 25 June 1968. Photographed by PH3 Carty. Official US Navy Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
USS Princeton (CV-37) was a 27,100-ton Ticonderoga class aircraft carrier that was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was commissioned shortly after the end of World War II on 18 November 1945. The Ticonderoga class was basically a modified Essex class carrier. They had a large number of 40-mm and 20-mm guns added, new and improved radars, a new ventilation system, and they had reshaped bows, to name just a few of the changes. Princeton was approximately 888 feet long and 93 feet wide, had a top speed of 33 knots, and a crew of 3,448 officers and men. She was initially armed with 12 5-inch guns, 44 40-mm guns, and 59 20-mm guns and carried roughly 80 aircraft.
Princeton was assigned to the Atlantic until June 1946. She then was sent to the Pacific, where she spent the rest of her career. Princeton steamed to the western Pacific on two occasions during the later part of the 1940s, first in 1946 and then again in 1948. However, due to defense cutbacks during the Truman administration, the carrier was decommissioned in June 1949. But Princeton was re-commissioned a year later on 28 August 1950, after the start of the Korean War.
Following a short period of intensive training with a crew mostly made up of Naval Reservists, Princeton joined Task Force 77 off the coast of Korea on 5 December 1950. She launched 248 sorties against targets in the Hagaru area and for six days her aircraft supported the US Marines and their horrific fighting retreat from the Chosin Reservoir to Hungnam. On 11 December, Princeton’s aircraft (as well as those from other carriers, the Marine Corps, and the US Air Force) began covering the evacuation from Hungnam and continued doing so until the mission was completed on 24 December. After that, Princeton’s fighters continued bombing Communist targets and by 4 April 1951, her air group destroyed 54 rail and 37 highway bridges and damaged 44 more. In May, Princeton’s aircraft attacked railroad bridges connecting Pyongyang to Sunchon, Sinanju, and Kachon. Her planes also bombed targets at the Hwachon Reservoir and for the rest of that summer flew sorties against supply depots and highways. Towards the end of the summer, Princeton left for the United States and arrived at San Diego on 21 August.
After an eight-month overhaul, Princeton returned to Task Force 77 off the coast of Korea on 30 April 1952 for her second tour of duty. For the next 138 days, Princeton’s aircraft sank small North Korean ships, bombed supply depots behind enemy lines, and attacked the hydroelectric complex at Suiho on the Yalu River. Her aircraft also pounded gun positions in Pyongyang and munitions factories at Sindok, Musan, Aoji, and Najin. On 1 October 1952, Princeton was reclassified CVA-37 and returned to California on 3 November for a two-month rest. But in February 1953, she returned to Korea for her third and final tour of duty off the coast of that troubled nation. Her planes provided close air support against enemy supply, artillery, and troop concentrations for the rest of the war and the ship remained in the area after the final truce was signed on 27 July 1953. Princeton did not return to the United States until 7 September.
In January 1954, Princeton was reclassified once again from an attack aircraft carrier to an anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carrier and was given the new hull number of CVS-37. She patrolled the eastern Pacific and was sent to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf from 1957 to 1958. The carrier was scheduled for decommissioning after that, but Princeton was given a new lease on life when she was re-designated once again in March 1959 to LPH-5 and converted into an amphibious assault ship.
In her role as an LPH, Princeton was assigned the then-new mission of vertical envelopment of amphibious warfare objectives. She carried helicopters in place of planes and could carry a battalion of Marines, as well as provide logistics and medical support for those troops. Princeton cruised both the eastern and western Pacific areas of operations and eventually became heavily involved in the Vietnam War. Princeton landed US Marines at Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam, in May 1965 and transported Marine aircraft from the United States to Vietnam during the summer of that same year. The carrier served another tour of duty off the coast of Vietnam from February to August 1966 and provided helicopter transportation, medical evacuation, logistics and communications support for US Marine and Army units during several major combat operations. Throughout the rest of the 1960s, Princeton continued supporting the Marines in numerous firefights along the coast of Vietnam. But in April 1969, she served as a space recovery ship for the Apollo 10 mission. Then, after almost 25 years of service, USS Princeton was decommissioned in January 1970 and was sold for scrapping in May 1971.
Posted by Remo at 8:25 AM