CV-38 USS Shangri La


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CV-38 U.S.S. Shangri-La

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(CV-38: dp. 27,100, 1. 888'0", b. 93'0" (wl.), ew. 147'6",dr. 28'7", s. 32.7 k. (tl.), cpl. 3,448, a.12 5", 44 40mm., 6020mm.; ae. 80+; cl. Essex)

Shangri-La, an aircraft carrier, was laid down by the Norfolk Navy Yard,at Portsmouth, Va., on 15 January 1943, launched on 24 February 1944, sponsoredby Mrs. James H. Doolittle, and commissioned on 15 September 1944, Capt.James D. Barner in command.

Shangri-La completed fitting out at Norfolk and took her shakedown cruiseto Trinidad, B.W.I., between 15 September and 21 December 1944, at whichtime she returned to Norfolk. On 17 January 1945, she stood out of HamptonRoads, formed up with Guam (CB-2) and Harry EZ. Hubbard (DD-748), and sailedfor Panama. The three ships arrived at Cristobal, C.Z., on the 23d and transitedthe canal on the 24th. Shangri-La departed from Balboa, C.Z., on 25 Januaryand arrived at San Diego, Calif., on 4 February. There she loaded passengers,stores, and extra planes for transit to Hawaii and got underway on 7 February.Upon her arrival at Pearl Harbor on 15 February, she commenced two monthsof duty qualifying land-based Navy pilots in carrier landings.

On 10 April, she weighed anchor for Ulithi Atoll where she arrived tendays later. After an overnight stay in the lagoon, Shangri-La departed Ulithiin company with HaDgard (DD-555) and Stembel (DD644) to report for dutywith Vice Admiral Mare A.

Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force. On 24 April, she joined Task Group58.4 while it was conducting a fueling rendezvous with TG 50.8. The next day, Shangri-La and her air group, CVG-85, launched their first strike against the Japanese. The target was Okino Daito Jima a group of islands several hundred miles to the southeast of Okinawa. Her planes successfully destroyedradar and radio installations there and, upon their recovery, the task group sailed for Okinawa. Shangri-La supplied combat air patrols for the taskgroup and close air support for the 10th Army on Okinawa before returningto Ulithi on 14 May.

While at Ulithi, Shangri-La became the flagship of the 2d Carrier TaskForce. Vice Admiral John S McCain hoisted his flag in Shangri-La on 18 May.Six days later, TG 58.4, with Shangri-La in company, sortied from the lagoon.On 28 May, TG 58.4 became TG 38.4 and Vice Admiral McCain relieved Vice Admiral Mitscher as Commander, Task Force 38, retaining Shangri-La as his flagship. On 2 and 3 June, the task force launched air strikes on the Japanesehome islands-aimed particularly at Kyushu, the southern most of the major islands. Facing the stiffest airborne resistance to date, Shangri-La's airmensuffered their heaviest casualties.

On 4 and 5 June, she moved off to the northwest to avoid a typhoon; when,on the 6th, her planes returned to close air support duty over Okinawa.On the 8th, her air group hit Kyushu again, and, on the following day, they came back to Okinawa. On the 10th, the task force cleared Okinawa for Leyte,conducting drills en route. Shangri-La entered Leyte Gulf and anchored in San Pedro Bay on 13 June. She remained at anchor there for the rest of June,engaged in upkeep and recreation.

On 1 July, Shangri-La got underway from Leyte to return to the combatzone. On the 2d, the oath of office of Assistant Secretary of the Navy forAir was administered to John L. Sullivan on board Shangri-La, the firstceremony of its type ever undertaken in a combat zone. Eight days later, her air group commenced a series of air strikes against Japan which lasteduntil the capitulation on 15 August.

Shangri-La's planes ranged the length of the island chain during theseraids. On the 10th. they attacked Tokyo, the first raid there since thestrikes of the previous February. On 14 and 15 July, they pounded Honshuand Hokkaido and, on the 18th, returned to Tokyo, also bombing battleship,Nagato, moored close to shore at Yokosuka. From 20 to 22 July, Shangri-Lajoined the logistics group for fuel, replacement aircraft, and mail. Bythe 24th, her pilots were attacking shipping in the vicinity of Kure. They returned the next day for a repeat performance, before departing for a two-day replenishment period on the 26th and 27th. On the following day, Shangri-La's aircraft damaged cruiser, Ogoda, and battleship, Haruna, the latter so badly that she beached and flooded. She later had to be abandoned. They pummeled Tokyo again on 30 July' then cleared the area to replenish on 31 July and1 August.

Shangri-La spent the next four days in the retirement area waiting fora typhoon to pass. On 9 August, after heavy fog had caused the cancellation of the previous day's missions, the carrier sent her planes aloft to bomb Honshu and Hokkaido. The next day, they raided Tokyo and central Honshu,then retired from the area for logistics. She evaded another typhoon on11 and 12 August, then hit Tokyo again on the 13th. After replenishing onthe 14th. she sent planes to strike the airfields around Tokyo on the morningof 15 August 1945. Soon thereafter, Japan's capitulation was announced;and the fleet was ordered to cease hostilities. Shangri La steamed aroundin the strike area from 15 to 23 August, patrolling the Honshu area on thelatter date. Between 23 August and 16 September, her manes sortied on missions of mercy, air-dropping supplies to Allied prisoners of war in Japan.

Shangri-La entered Tokyo Bay on 16 September, almost two weeks after the surrender ceremony on board Missouri, and remained there until 1 October.Departing Japan, she arrived at Okinawa on 4 October stayed until the 6th,and then headed for the United States in company with Task Unit 38.1.1.She sailed into San Pedro Bay, Calif., on 21 October and stayed at LongBeach for three weeks. On 5 November, she shifted to San Diego, departingthat port a month later for Bremerton, Wash. She entered Puget Sound on9 December, underwent availability until the 30th, and then returned toSan Diego.

Upon her return Shangri-La began normal operations, out of San Diego,primarily engaged in pilot carrier landing qualifications. In May 1946,she sailed for the Central Pacific to participate in Operation "Crossroads,"the atomic bomb tests conducted at Bikini Atoll. Following this, she madea brief training cruise to Pearl Harbor, then wintered at Puget Sound NavalShipyard. In March 1947, she deployed again, calling at Pearl Harbor andSydney, Australia. When she returned to the United States, Shangri-La wasdecommissioned and placed in the Reserve Fleet at San Francisco on 7 November1947.

Shangri-La recommissioned on 10 May 1951, Capt. Francis L. Busey in command.For the next year, she conducted training and readiness operations out ofBoston, Mass Reclassified an attack aircraft carrier CVA-38, in 1952, she returned to Puget Sound that fall and decommissioned again on 14 November,this time for modernization at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. During the next two years, she received an angled flight deck, twin steam catapults, andher aircraft elevators and arresting gear were overhauled. At a cost ofapproximately $7 million, she was virtually a new ship when she commissionedfor the third time on 10 January 1955, Capt. Roscoe L. Newman commanding.She conducted intensive fleet training for the remainder of 1955, then deployedto the Far East on 5 January 1956. Until 1960, she alternated western Pacific cruises with operations out of San Diego. On 16 March 1960, she put to seafrom San Diego en route to her new home port, Mayport, Fla. She enteredMayport after visits to Callao, Peru, Valpariso, Chile, Port of Spain, Trinidad;Bayonne, N.J.; and Norfolk, Va.

After six weeks of underway training in the local operating area around Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, she embarked upon her first Atlantic deployment, aNATO exercise followed by liberty in Southampton, England. Almost immediatelyafter her return to Mayport, Shangri-La was ordered back to sea-this timeto the Caribbean in response to trouble in Guatamala and Nicaragua. Shereturned to Mayport on 25 November 1960 and remained in port for more than two months.

Between 1961 and 1970, Shangri-La alternated between deployments to theMediterranean and operations in the western Atlantic, out of Mayport. Shesailed east for her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet on 2 February1961. She returned to the United States that fall and entered the New YorkNaval Shipyard. Back in Mayport by the beginning of 1962, Shangri-La stoodout again for the Mediterranean on 7 February. After about six months oferuising with the 6th Fleet, she departed the Mediterranean in mid-Augustand arrived in Mayport on the 28th.

Following a month's stay at her home port, the aircraft carrier headedfor New York and a major overhaul. Shangri-La was modified extensively duringher stay in the yard. Four of her 5-inch mounts were removed, but she receiveda new air search and height finding radar and a new arrester system. In addition much of her electrical and engineering equipment was renovated.After sea trials and visits to Bayonne, N.J., and Norfolk, Va., Shangri-Lareturned to Mayport for a week in late March 1963, then put to sea for operationsin the Caribbean. Eight months of similar duty followed before Shangri-La weighed anchor for another deployment. On 1 October 1963. she headed backto the 6th Fleet for a seven-month tour.

Shangri-La continued her 2d and 6th Fleet assignments for the next sixyears. During the winter of 1964 and the spring of 1965, she underwent anotherextensive overhaul, this time at Philadelphia, then resumed operations asbefore. On 30 June 1969, she was redesignated an antisubmarine warfare aircraft carrier CVS-38. In 1970, Shangri-La returned to the western Pacific afteran absence of ten years. She got underway from Mayport on 5 March, stoppedat Rio de Janiero Brazil, from the 13th to the 16th, and headed east throughthe Atlantic and Indian oceans. She arrived in Subic Bay, R.P., on 4 Apriland, during the next seven months, launched combat sorties from Yankee station.Her tours of duty on Yankee station were punctuated by frequent logistics trips to Subic Bay by visits to Manila, R.P., and Hong Kong, B.C.C., in October, and by 12 days in drydock at Yokosuka, Japan, in July.

On 9 November, Shangri-La stood out of Subic Bay to return home. En routeto Mayport, she visited Sydney Australia; Wellington, N.Z.; and Rio de Janiero,Brazil. She arrived in Mayport on 16 December and began preparations forinactivation. After preinactivation overhaul at the Boston Naval ShipyardSouth Annex Shangri La decommissioned on 30 July 1971. She was placed inthe Atlantic Reserve Fleet and berthed at Philadelphia, where she remainsas of July 1974.

Shangri-La earned two battle stars for World War II service and threebattle stars for service in the Vietnam War.

USS Shangri-la Association.