Friday, September 26, 2014

USS Ranger's (CV 4) Keel is Laid, September 26, 1931

Anyone who has been around the Navy for even a brief period (or had lunch in a Navy club) knows that the sea service remembers events with plaques. Some are humorous, some sentimental, some serious, but perhaps the ones that resonate most are “builders’ plaques” (also known as “historical data plaques”). Mounted on a vessel's quarterdeck or in special spaces, they remind one and all of a ship's origins. On decommissioning, these are removed and shipped to the Navy’s Curator for preservation.
One of the special plaques in the museum is the builder’s plaque for USS Ranger (CV 4). On September 26, 1931, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company laid the keel for Ranger. She was the first U.S. Navy ship to be designed and built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier. Ranger was subsequently commissioned on June 4, 1934, at the Norfolk Navy Yard.
 
USS Ranger before commissioning, in Newport News.

Ranger was a ship that made history in the Atlantic theatre during World War II. She took part in Neutrality Patrols after war broke out in Europe in September 1939, operations that became increasingly intense during 1941. In November 1942 she was an important element in Operation Torch, providing air cover for the invasion of Morocco. Ranger was assigned to work with the British Home Fleet in the northeastern Atlantic from August to November 1943, during which time she launched strikes on German shipping along the Norwegian coast. Ranger was sold for scrapping in January 1947.
USS Ranger underway in Hampton Roads, August 18, 1942. Note partially lowered aft
elevator and flight deck identification letters "R N G R" still visible just ahead of the ramp.
A Douglas SDB Dauntless dive bomber goes around for another landing attempt, after being "waved off"
by the Landing Signal Officer on USS Ranger (CV 4), circa June 1942.
(This blog post was written by HRNM Curator Joe Judge.)

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