USS Valley Forge (CV-45)

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USS Valley Forge (CV-45) was an Ticonderoga-class aircraft carrier, a variant of the Essex-class. While she missed World War Two in the Pacific, she was the first U.S. aircraft carrier to play a combat role in the Korean War.

Valley Forge is in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, as is the city of Philadelphia, who funded construction of the ship with a special war bond drive. Her keel was laid on 14 September 1943 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and was commissioned on 3 November 1946, sponsored by Mrs. A.A. Vandegrift, wife of the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Captain John W. Harris was her first commanding officer.[1]

Initial duty

Arriving at her home port of San Diego, California on 14 August 1947, she formally joined the Pacific Fleet and embarker Air Group 11,"flying the flag of Rear Admiral Harold L. Martin, Commander of Task Force 38—got underway for Hawaii on 9 October."

"The task force devoted almost three months to training operations out of Pearl Harbor before sailing for Australia on 16 January 1948. After a visit to Sydney, the American warships conducted exercises with units of the Royal Australian Navy and then steamed to Hong Kong. During a voyage from the British crown colony to Tsingtao, China, orders arrived directing the task force to return home via the Atlantic. With her escorting destroyers, the ship continued the round-the-world trip with calls at Hong Kong; Manila; Singapore; Trincomalee, Ceylon; and Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia. After operating for a time in the Persian Gulf, she became the largest aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal. The ship finally arrived at San Diego, via the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Panama Canal."[1]

Korean War

When the war started in June 1950, Valley Forge was in the Philippines, as part of Carrier Division 3 under Rear Admiral J.M. Hoskins. The ships initially, a light cruiser and eight destroyers, deployed to Okinawa, since it was unclear if the conflict would spread beyond Korea. Joining a Royal Navy unit of the carrier HMS Triumph, a heavy cruiser and two destroyers, the UK-US squadron became Task Force 77 of the United States Seventh Fleet.

On July 3, the British carrier launched a before-dawn strike at the North Korean airfield at Haeju, defending the capital, Pyongyang, from the south. Slightly later, the faster Valley Forge launched a strike at the airfield in the capital proper. Later in the day, they struck at railroad facilities. In the following days, they conducted armed reconnaissance and more strikes against railroad facilities. [2] Valley Forge operated F4U Corsairs and AD Skyraiders, both propeller-driven. She also flew early jet fighters, the F9F Panther. Landing problems for the jets became evident with the straight deck of the carrier. [3]


The first U.S. angled deck, invented by the British, would be installed on the USS Antietam (CV-36), in 1952. Valley Forge would never receive this upgrade, but, in 1956, would be redesignated an antisubmarine warfare carrier (CVS), and, the next year, embarked Marines and Marine helicopters to be the first U.S. carrier to conduct air assault operations.

Vietnam War

Final service


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Valley Forge (CV-45)", Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
  2. Richard Hallion (1986), The Naval Air War in Korea, Kensington,pp. 58-61
  3. Hallion, pp. 61-63