History of the USS Valley Forge CV45 / LPH8

The Happy Valley

1944 Sept


The USS VALLEY FORGE CV-45 was named to commemorate the Winter Encampment of General George Washington's Continental Army during the winters of (1777-78). This encampment is now a U.S. National Park located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

The USS Valley Forge was built in The Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, in Dry Dock #5, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The ship builder's first arc was struck for the keel laying on 7 September 1944. On 18 November 1945 the ship was christened in a "sister act" in which the USS Princeton was commissioned. Mrs. A. A. Vandergrift, wife of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, sponsored the USS VALLEY FORGE CV-45 on that day. The citizens of the Philadelphia Area in 1945 bought over $76,000,000 worth of E Bonds during the Seventh War Loan Drive to pay for the ship. School children of Philadelphia sold $7,769,351 of these bonds.

USS VALLEY FORGE CV-45 was commissioned on 3 November 1946. "Attention" was ordered and the ship's band played the National Anthem, then the Commission Pennant, the Union Jack, and the National Ensign were smartly hoisted together. Command of the ship was given to Captain J. W. Harris USN Commanding Officer, as he read his orders. Then he ordered the Admiral's flag be broken and gave the order to set the first watch. On 10 December 1946 the Valley had her maiden cruise down the Delaware River to the Bay at Cape May New Jersey and then returned to the Navy Yard in Philadelphia.

Classified as an attack aircraft carrier of the Essex (CV-9) class, She had an overall length of 888 feet and a beam of 93 feet at Her extreme. She displaced 36,380 tons when fully loaded with a maximum draft of 28 feet 7 inches. The flight deck was 60 feet above the water with an 870 feet length and 129 foot beam. She was powered by eight Babcock Wilcox 600 psig boilers and four Westinghouse direct drive steam turbines with reduction and delivering a total of 150,000 shaft horse power to the four 14 feet 7 inch diameter propellers and could obtain speeds above 32.7 knots. Her rudder was 429 square feet having a weight of 70,700 pounds. She was designed to carry an air group with a compliment of 80-plus aircraft. The officers and crew had a total of 3,045 berths. Besides the protection by her own aircraft, she had her own fire power with twelve 5-inch 38-caliber dual-purpose guns in four twin mounts and four single mounts, eleven quadruple 40-millimeter antiaircraft mounts, with additional ten to fifteen 20-millimeter single gun mounts.

The USS Valley Forge received the finest State Silver Service ever presented to the Navy. The service was designed and made by Philadelphia silversmiths in 1904 and was originally placed aboard the USS Pennsylvania by the Commonwealth. The elaborate service was decorated in tradition with Neptune, sea horses and dolphins as well as historic scenes and personalities and a State seal. The service consisted of a huge centerpiece for flowers and candle; a punch bowl and cups; two large candelabra; a tea service; a coffee service; trays; candle sticks; compotes; covered dishes, gravy boats, dessert and salad dishes, a soup tureen, a loving cup, and a smoking set.

1947 JAN

Sea-Ops and First Landing

Underway 4 Jan 1947 to Yorktown, Virginia. After three days of loading 47 boxcars of "Ammo" proceeded to Norfolk for degaussing of the ship. Underway 13 Jan 1947 for sea operations and on 16 Jan 1947 Landed the first aircraft a F4U Corsair piloted by Commander H. H. Hirshey USN CO VF5B. There were 11 planes landed and launched that day. On 17 Jan 1947 (96) aircraft and personnel from Air Group 5 were taken aboard. Then out to sea and training exercises.

1947 Jan

Shakedown Cruise

24 Jan 1947 Underway for shakedown cruise to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. More training exercises along the way.

17 Mar 1947 Underway for military inspection by ComAirLant Admiral Bogan, and ComTraCommLant Admiral Holden.

18 Mar 1947 on the final battle problem by CinClLantFlt Admiral Blandy senior observer. Anchored GTMO in PM Tuesday after final inspection.

19 Mar 1947 Underway for Norfolk, Virginia.

1947 March

Happy Valley Nick-Name

Wednesday Comments in plan of day:

Executive Officer Commander Frank G. Raysbrook (Field Day Frankie) as the crew fondly called him, coined the nickname "Happy Valley". At the critique of the Military inspection and final battle problem, comments were made which should make every Officer and Man of this ship very proud.

Admiral Holden: "The best ship of any type I have inspected".

Admiral Began: "Congratulation for the excellent job done by this ship. The Military inspection was excellent. The personnel inspection yesterday was an Outstanding one by any standard".

Admiral Blandy: "I haven't seen anything like it since Capt. King had the "LEX" and I'm sorry you are going to the Pacific Fleet".

Captain Harris; "I wish to express my appreciation for a Helluva job!" END OF SHAKEDOWN.

21 Mar 1947 off loaded CAG-5 gear and personnel

27 Mar 1947 off loading of "Ammo" at Yorktown, VA.

30 Mar 1947 Underway Full Power Run and anchored off Delaware breakwater for the night. Monday morning arrived at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and moored Pier #3 for upkeep post shakedown overall.

On 21 Jul 1947 the Happy Valley got underway again with a bright new paint job and sea- ops were part of the schedule before returning to Norfolk, Virginia once more. On 30 July 1947 she was underway again, but this time the destination was the West Coast for duty and a new homeport in San Diego, California. On 5 Aug 1947 the Happy Valley Transited the Panama Canal and Message was sent to ComAirPac; USS VALLEY FORGE "reporting for duty".

1947 Oct

New Home Port

Newly based in San Diego, California she had to build her reputation and began an extensive period of flight and gunnery training off Southern California and on 30 Aug 1947 Captain Richard W. Ruble USN Assumed Command. On 9 Oct 1947 the Happy Valley got underway and stood out, setting a course westward to Hawaii. Arriving in Pearl Harbor, Oahu on 14 Oct 1947. The next two months were spent with more training for the crew, both day and night in the Hawaiian waters. Christmas and New Years holidays were spent in port.

Underway on 16 Jan 1948 for Auckland, New Zealand with TF-38 Rear Admiral H.H. Martin onboard CCD-5 as CTF-38 with escorts WM.M.WOOD DD-715, WM.C.LAWE DD-763, LLOYD THOMAS DD-764, KEPPLER DD-765 and MISPILLION AO-105. POC Changed to Sydney, Australia. On 21 Jan 1948 she crossed the equator and then the International Date Line on 23 Jan 1948. Arrived Sydney and exchanged a 21-gun salute upon entering the harbor on 30 Jan 1948 and moored Wooloomooloo Dock. While underway on 4 Feb 1948 the Valley transferred a stowaway to the HMS HOBART

1948 Feb

Underway Again and World Cruise

Heading North with escorts the ship passed New Guinea to the North and again crossed the equator this time on 11 Feb 1948. Destination was Hong Kong cruising passed the to the West of the Philippine Islands. The MISPILLION was detached for Guam. The Happy Valley arrived in Hong Kong, BCC on 18 Feb 1948 and anchored in the harbor after exchanging a gun salute.

Underway 21 Feb 1948 enroute to Tsingtoa, China. Joined with Cruisers DULUTH CL-87 and TOPEKA CL-67 for 3 days of sea exercises. Arrived Tsingtoa, China and anchored out. Commenced loading supplies. (4,000,000 lbs. liquid and solids in 45 hrs.) Underway 29 Feb 1948 USS WM.M.WOODS DD-715 AND WM.C.LAWE DD-763 were detached, and MISPILLION rejoined.

Underway 1 Mar 1948 orders read Return San Diego via Suez Canal, present destination now Singapore Vice Guam "OFFICIALLY" on World Cruise, Port-O-Call will follow. Leaving the Yellow Sea behind and entering the South China Sea she passed Luzon. On 8 Mar 1948 entered Keppel Harbor Singapore, and anchored at Man-of-war anchorage. 11 Mar 1948 underway for Trincomallee, Ceylon. After passage through the Malacca Straits, crossing the Adaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, the ship entered Trincomallee Harbor and moored to no.1 buoy.

1948 Feb

Halfway Around the World

The Valley got underway on 17 Mar 1948 and on 21 Mar 1948 at 0800D posits 18-43'N - 64-33'E Halfway around the world. 24 Mar 1948 sailed through the Gulf of Oman, and then through the Straits of Hormuz, proceeding Northward into the Persian Gulf a yellow haze was encountered 100 miles out from shore. The Valley anchored off ARAMCO refinery, Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia for a gesture of goodwill by the U.S. Government.

On 25 Mar 1948 manned the rail for Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and his retinue, to inspect the ship and to observe flight operations. Underway with unfavorable conditions caused by a Shamal (sandstorm) the launching was limited to only two F8F aircraft. Officers attended a Banquet given by Crown Prince of Daman. On 26 Mar 1948 the Valley left the Persian Gulf and passed through the Straits of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman. Heading South to the Arabian Sea and turning into the Gulf of Aden then through the Straits of Bab El Mandeb to reach the Red Sea.

Sailing North through the Red Sea and into the Gulf of Suez She anchored at the Southern end of the Suez Canal on 3 Apr 1948. After passing Straits of Jabal with a French pilot guiding the ship began transit of first leg of the canal and anchored in Great Bitter Lake. The two DD's proceeded ahead to Port Said. Views from the bridge revealed the curvature of the earth and as the ship proceeded through the canal it appeared to be going up hill, and after passing through it appeared to go down hill. The Valley Forge was the first large U.S. Carrier and the longest ship to transit the canal at that time. Underway at 0500 to complete transit of Suez Canal She passed, through the Port of Said and by the DeLasseps Monument.

1948 Mar

Mediterranean and World Cruise

On 6 Mar 1948 Joined with the MedFlt, Carrier; USS PHILIPPINE SEA CV-47, Cruisers; ROCHESTER CA-124, MANCHESTER CL-83, DAYTON CL-105, 6 destroyers for three days of sea exercises. On 9 Mar 1948 broke off exercises and on 11 Mar 1948 arrived Gibraltar and moored Starboard side to south mole. Our destroyers transported four large liberty parties to Tangiers and British tugs over 4 days. The 5-day stay was extended to 13 days and on 23 Mar 1948 underway with her new destination Bergan, Norway.

After entering the Atlantic Ocean, She set a northerly course past Portugal and Spain. Remaining in the Atlantic and cruising by the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel she sailed into St. George's Channel through the Irish Sea. The Valley rendezvoused on 27 Mar 1948 with TF-121 Cruiser; USS FRESNO and Destroyers; USS JOHNSON and USS WM R RUSH in the North Channel.

On 29 Mar 1948 Moored starboard side to dock, Bergan Norway, with assistance from "Pin Wheel" after a navigators nightmare a 25 mile trip from the sea of treacherous Fjords through snow squalls reducing visibility to less than 100 ft at times. Landed the Landing Party, and parade through the main part of the city, causing concern, as this was the way the German occupation entered in WWII. On 1 May 1948 a "Mayday" parade and celebration was held. All local pubs were closed. On 4 May 1948 underway at 0600 after "pin wheeling" away from the dock and after clearing harbor entrance, she re-spotted her planes for Flight quarters. Air Group-11 flew in parade formation over the Capital City of Oslo, spelling the name of King HAAKON VII.

1948 May


The ship was underway 4 May 1948 to a new destination Portsmouth, England. Sailing South in the North Sea and entered the English Channel after passing through the Strait of Dover. On 6 May 1948 1130 the Valley moored starboard side to the Pitch House Jetty, Royal Navy Dockyard, Portsmouth, England; the historic base of the British Home Fleet. After firing a 21-gun salute while passing the imposing HMS DUKE OF YORK. Tugs came alongside and assisted mooring. Near by was the World's oldest dry dock berthing of the HMS VICTORY, Admiral Nelson's Flagship. Com6thFlt declared 72-hour staggered liberty pass for all hands.

1948 May

Return to USA

Underway 13 May 1948 1500 to a new destination, the Panama Canal. At 1900 Orders were received changing destination to New York, NY. On 22 May entered the Lower New York Bay into Hudson River up the East River and moored to north side of pier 32 N. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Louis Denfield, who was instrumental in initiating the World cruise, was welcomed aboard for a visit.

1948 May

Heading Home

Underway 27 May 1948 destination Cristobal, Panama, Canal Zone. Cruising south along the East Coast, on 28 May sailed by Cape Hatteras and the 29 May reached Miami Florida. By 30 May turned at the southern tip of Cuba and passed by Guantanamo. By 31 May she was closing in on the Canal Zone and on 1 June 1948 moored to the dock at Cristobal, Panama, Canal Zone. On 4 June 1948 at 0600 got underway to commence transit of Panama Canal for the second time in a westerly direction. This was 3 days shy of 10 months from her first transit of the canal. At 1800 hours moored to pier at Balboa.

1948 June

Last Leg of World Cruise

On 4 June 1948 underway for San Diego, California, to end the "World Cruise. The last leg always seems longer with the waiting moments and anticipation of the ship's arrival at home after shipping out just over 10 months before. 5 June 1948 She was 350 miles away from the canal and on 6 June 1948 heading North along coast of Central America. On 7,8,9 June 1948 Cruising by Mexico. Field Day Frankie was having a field day and there were continuous smokers on the Fantail. 10 June 1948 Cruising along the Baha Peninsula with every thing shipshape, planes were spotted and the hanger deck glistened. 11 June 1948 Passed by Point Loma and entered the channel to San Diego Bay. At1330 hours Moored pier O-P, NAS, North Island San Diego.

1948 June

Award of Excellence

For the excellence of the year's operations, the Valley Forge won the coveted Battle Efficiency Pennant for the Pacific Fleet. Possession of the pennant ranked the Valley Forge as first among carriers.

1948 June

Off to the Yard

Underway 14 June 1948 0800 the ship steamed out to sea and up the coast to Long Beach Navy Yard. 1600 moored to Pier 1, Terminal Island, Long Beach Navy Yard. The next thirty days included needed intensive yard maintenance because of the time the Valley had been continuously underway. The crew had alternate scheduled well-deserved leaves. After the yard work was completed She returned to San Diego.

1948 July

Change of Command

On 15 July 1948 Captain Truman J. Hedding USN took command of the Happy Valley. New personnel were coming onboard to replace transferees. The Navy's newly introduced aircraft, the Douglas AD Skyraider and the Navy's first jet fighters entering into the Navy Squadrons, the McDonnell F2H Banshee and the Grumman F9F Panther, were also coming aboard. These squadrons would give new capabilities to the Valley Forge and other carriers and at the same time presented more reason for training. Intensive air operations and maintenance problems had to be relearned with additional training and exercises.

Captain Harry B. Temple USN took command of the Valley Forge on 9 July 1949 and on 1 Oct 1949 set forth from San Diego Harbor once again, this time, acting as flagship for "Operation Miki," the largest amphibious operation in the Pacific since the surrender of Japan. After the "Unified Conquest of Oahu from the Army's Aggressor Corps, She returned to her California port. Again the Valley Forge won the coveted Battle Efficiency Pennant (Two years in a row).

On 21 April 1950 Captain Lester K. Rice USN took command of the Valley Forge. She was deployed to the Far East with the first port stop of Pearl Harbor on 1 May 1950. Her ultimate orders were to relieve the carrier USS Boxer and carry out a continuing presence in the Far East. The change of command took place in Guam on 28 May 1950 and the Boxer was relieved to return to the United States.

The Valley proceeded to Manila and anchored in the bay on 1 June. In a ship movement on 6 June she tied up to the long pier at Subic Bay to take on stores. Underway again the next port of call was Hong Kong, BCC. On 19 June 1950 entered the harbor after exchange of gun salute she moored to no.1 buoy. Other ships present were the USS RADFORD DDE-446, USS FLETCHER DDE-445, USS NANTUCK APD-125 and various units of the British Fleet also anchored in the Harbor.

1950 June

Subic Bay, Philippine Islands

The VALLEY FORGE was underway on 25 June 1950 enroute to Subic Bay, Philippines with the USS RADFORD DDE-446, and USS FLETCHER DDE-445 as escorts. Alarming information was received that Communist North Korean Forces were crossing the 38th Parallel and were invading the Republic of Korea. She arrived at Subic Bay on 26 June 1950 and moored at long pier. USS KARIN AF-33 came alongside to transfer provisions and the USS NAVASOTA AO-106 transferred fuel oil and aviation gas.

28 June 1950 Underway USS Valley Forge CV-45 embarked, operating as a unit Seventh Fleet and Task Force 77. Ships present USS ROCHESTER CA-124, USS BUSH DD-745, USS FLETCHER DDE-45, USS RADFORD DDE-446, USS SHELTON DE-407, USS EVERSOLE DE-404, USS TAUSSIG DD-746 en route to Sasebo, Japan. Steaming in formation enroute to Sasebo received new order of destination to Buckner Bay, Okinawa. On 30 June 1950 the new Task Force 77 rendezvoused with Royal Navy including the British Cruiser JAMAICA the CVE Carrier HMS TRIUMPH and two British destroyers, under the command of Rear Admiral Andrews, RN.

1950 July

Korea Baptism Under Fire

After orders were issued to start the attack on the North Koreans, on 3 July 1950, it wasn't long before events proved that Admiral Hoskins had been right-very right-in wanting to take his jets planes into the Far East. The USS VALLEY FORGE CV-45 launched the first carrier aircraft from her flight deck to support the outnumbered and poorly guarded South Korean defenders. F9F jet fighters flew cover as waves of AD Skyraiders and F4U Corsair fighter-bombers were sent against the North Korean Pyongyang airfield. Hangar, fuel storage, parked airplanes, and railroad marshaling yards at Pyongyang were heavily hit. The escorting jets shot down two YAK propeller-driven fighters and damaged another. The world's first combat strike by jet aircraft had been successful. As a result no enemy planes ever attacked our forces at sea. Jets were here to stay.

On or about 10 July 1950 Vice Admiral Struble now under orders from the President Harry S. Truman returned to Washington and Admiral John M. Hoskins aboard the Valley Forge took Acting Command of the Seventh Fleet.

A steady pace of air support for the embattled Allied troops on the ground now followed, as the tide of war moved south to the Pusan Perimeter. The amphibious landing at Inchon in September, coupled with a breakout from the Perimeter to the north, cracked the grip of the North Korean forces and turned a stubborn defense into a swift offensive.

On 8 Oct 1950 the Valley Forge came off the line and returned to Sasebo, Japan and moored in the harbor. Captain Rice, needed medical attention, and was sent ashore by the medical doctor. Temporary command of the ship was taken over by Commander Ward T. Shields USN. On 9 Oct 1950 Captain Joseph M. Carson USN took full command of the Happy Valley and she returned to the line but this time escorting the USS LEYTE CV-32.

On 15 Sept 1950, the USS ENDICOTT DD-495 escorted a ROK LST to the Chang Sa Dong area, sometimes referred to as Yong Dok. The LST didn't hit the beach but hit a sand bar broaching sideways to the beach. Helpless she was attacked by enemy fire from the shore. The Captain of the Endicott called for air strikes because her fire control and lookouts couldn't locate the enemy guns. The VALLEY FORGE dispatched two AD Skyraiders which; located two tanks hidden by trees and quickly knocked out the tanks with bombs. This landing was a diversionary landing on the East Coast of Korea, while the landing at Inchon and Soeul was in full progress.

During the early stages of the United Nations Korean Campaign, Korean, American, and other allied troops rolled northward and crossed the 38th Parallel into North Korea in pursuit of the broken enemy. The Valley Forge's Carrier Air Group Five hammered steadily at the enemy. Troop concentrations, defensive positions, and lines of supply and communications were repeatedly bombed by the Skyraiders, and strafed and rocketed by the Panthers and Corsairs. Over five thousand combat sorties delivered more than two thousand tons of bombs between 3 July and 19 Nov 1950.

During these weeks and months the Valley Forge embarked on breaking her own operational records. She was never in port more than four days except once in Buckner Bay while standing by for a Marine landing at Pohang for ten days. She even refueled, not once, but seven times at sea, to replenish her supplies of food, ammunition and receive mail. The Happy Valley steamed up and down the coast of Korea, a distance equal to twice around the world. Air Group Five operating from the USS Valley Forge, a division of the Seventh Fleet under the command of Carrier Division Three and Command Task Force Seventy Seven had flown 3279 offensive and 1682 defensive sorties against North Korean targets. CVG-5 flew 130 sorties on 3 July (First Day) and 131 sorties on 15 Sept 1950 (Inchon Invasion). Having been relieved on the line it was time to go home again.

1950 Dec

Returning Home

On Friday 1 Dec 1950, the Happy Valley past Point Loma and entered San Diego Harbor. Assisted by the tugs, tied up to Pier "0" at 1400 hrs. Bands from ComAirPac, Camp Pendleton and Coronado met the Valley Forge. The welcoming committee consisted of wives, children and dignitaries. Vice Admiral T. L. Sprague of the Fleet Air Forces dispatched greetings and sends 'WELL DONE'. The Valley Forge Crew was invited to the Enlisted Men's Club for a beer party. The Commanding Officer, Officers, and men of the Naval Air Station San Diego, were hosts to the Valley Forge Sailors. Among the many gala events planned for the returning "Happy Valley" was a dance held Monday night at Pacific Square, with the Harry James orchestra, "Miss Valley Forge" Doris Day, and movie star Marilyn Maxwell.

The increasing tempo of the war and setbacks suffered by the United Nations Forces in Korea since the Valleys departure dictated a change in the ship's up coming overhaul schedule. On 3 Dec 1950 an emergency loading program was initiated to prepare for another war cruise to the combat zone. Air Group Five quickly offloaded and was replaced by Air Group Two. Over 1000 tons of provisions and stores and 850 tons of ammunition were loaded in record time of three days. About 100 planes and 10 helicopters boarded the "flat top".

On 6 Dec 1950 with tug assistance The Mighty Valley Forge was guided into the harbor, her engines turned and she sailed quietly into the channel. She passed Point Loma and then into the deep Pacific Ocean. Final destination was Yokosuka, Japan via Pearl Harbor. On 16 Dec 1950 ComCarDiv Three with Rear Admiral John M. Hoskins USN hauled down his flag at Yokosuka and departed for the United States.

1950 Dec

Back On the Line

On 22 Dec 1950 the USS VALLEY FORGE rendezvoused with Task Force 77. The first offensive air operations consisting of close air support missions in the Hamhung area were conducted 23 Dec. commencing a renewed effort against hostile forces. The New Year found the Valley continuing its relentless air operations with Air Group Two up and down the war torn coastal regions of Korea. Daily air assaults were launched against such familiar towns and cities as Seoul, Wonsan, Hungnam, Chungjin, Kojo, Chosin Reservoir, and many villages where the Corsair and Skyraider pilots struck at troop concentrations, supply dumps, bridges, gun emplacements and railroad equipment. The United Nation forces were able to move north again on the Korean Peninsula and up to the 38th parallel.

1951 March

Going Home Again

On 28 March 1951 Air Group Two off loaded and Air Group Eleven boarded the ship. On 29 Mar 1951 the proud Happy Valley then turned east, began her voyage back home again to San Diego, after spending almost ten continuous months in Korean waters. After returning home to San Diego, the Air Group disembarked. The Valley needed long awaited yard repairs, sailed to Bremerton, Washington and entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where she underwent a major overhaul.

1951 Aug

New Assignment

She returned to San Diego on 10 Aug 1951 and awaited a new assignment with the Pacific Fleet. Air Group One embarked, and once again she stood out to become the first U.S. carrier to return for a third Korean deployment. On 11 Dec 1951 she launched her first strikes. Her new mission was to destroy rail lines, junctions and rolling stock, and keep supplies from reaching enemy front lines. Finishing her period of service in June of 1952 her planes succeeded in cutting North Korean railroad lines 5346 times. Again the Happy Valley returned to her homeport in San Diego on 3 July 1952.

During the summer of 1952 the Valley went through a period of in port maintenance and her ships company took alternated leaves from her. She then began a series of different types of training off the California coast. She participated in amphibios training by air lifting assault landing parties of Marines by helicopters to Camp Pendleton, and in antisubmarine maneuvers exercises demonstrated her future in the Fleet.

1952 Oct

Back On the Line and Redesignation CVA-45

After a period of maintenance and training, the Valley Forge's designation was changed to (CVA-45). Again, in October of 1952 she stood out and headed for the Far East. She now had become the only U.S. carrier to return to the Korea combat zone four times.

The Valley Forge began the New Year of 1953 with strikes against Communist supply dumps and troop-billeting areas just behind the front lines. During the next five months, "The Valley's" jet fighters and propeller attack planes teamed up to hit enemy targets in close support of Allied ground troops. The jets would suppress antiaircraft fire with rockets and cannon fire while the bombers went about their heavy work. Main supply arteries along Korea's East Coast were regularly hit, while close support missions were flown almost daily against such targets as Finger Ridge, Capital Hill and Jane Russell Peak on the bitterly contested battle line. Over 3,700 tons of bombs were delivered to the enemy before the Valley Forge returned to San Diego 25 June 1953.

After a brief maintenance period, she transited the Panama Canal on 29 July. This was her third passage though the canal. The Valley reported for duty with the Atlantic Fleet at Norfolk, Virginia.

1953 Aug

Return to the East Coast and Redesignation CVS-45

In August 1953 the "Happy Valley" was redesignated an Antisubmarine Warfare Support Carrier (CVS-45). After providing underway training to Naval Academy midshipmen in a voyage to Halifax, Nova Scotia, she returned to Norfolk Naval Shipyard in September to be overhauled and refitted for her new role.

The Valley Forge rejoined the Fleet in January 1954. After refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, she became flagship of an antisubmarine task group assigned to training exercises and hunter-killer operations along the East Coast and in the Caribbean. In September 1954 the VALLEY FORGE sailed for the eastern Atlantic to take part in NATO antisubmarine maneuvers off the Straits of Gibraltar. This assignment completed, she set her course for England. Visiting Bangor, she conducted ASW exercises with the Royal Navy. After calling at Barcelona, Spain and Gibraltar she turned back across the Atlantic and returned to Norfolk 11 November 1954 for a period of maintenance.

The Valley departed Norfolk 3 Jan 1955 for fleet exercises in the Caribbean. After completing antisubmarine operations off the Virgin Islands, she returned to Norfolk 14 February. During the months to follow, "The Valley" carried out hunter-killer training off the Virginia Capes. On 20 June she made another Naval Academy training voyage to Halifax, the days underway gave the midshipmen a working introduction to shipboard life and to air operations at sea. As an antisubmarine warfare carrier she operated a composite air group of hunter-killer airplanes and helicopters, making her particularly valuable by providing a comprehensive indoctrination.

Upon returning to Norfolk 9 July 1955, the Valley began a period of Naval Reserve training. Through the rest of the summer, she conducted two-week training cruises for Reservists, providing them with their annual refresher training in shipboard procedures and enabling them to put into actual practice the skills they had learned through the year in weekly drills ashore. With her task group, she sailed from Norfolk 7 Sept 1955 for the waters off the Iberian Peninsula. Here she joined Canadian, Portuguese, French and British warships for a NATO antisubmarine exercise. She then visited Lisbon, Portugal, before returning to Norfolk late in October of 1955.

November and December of 1955 were occupied with hunter-killer operations off the Virginia Capes. The "Happy Valley" visited New York in January 1956. Her visit was featured in LIFE Magazine. Returning to Norfolk, she loaded supplies and sailed south to the Caribbean for extensive fleet maneuvers, visiting the Virgin Islands, Panama, and Guantanamo Bay. After returning to Norfolk in April, the carrier resumed antisubmarine training exercises in the Capes area. These concluded on 22 May 1956 when the "Happy Valley" carried out "Operation Petticoat" a ten-hour orientation cruise for dependents, aimed at introducing them to the work done at sea by their husbands and fathers. This was the first such exercise by any Atlantic Fleet ASW carrier.

During the first week of June 1956 the Valley Forge hosted participants of the Global Strategy Conference and the Type Commanders' Conference, being held at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. While at Newport, she flew the flag of the Commander in Chief, of the Atlantic Fleet. After completion of these conferences, the Valley Forge returned to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for overhaul. Departing the shipyard in mid-October 1956 the Valley steamed to the Caribbean for six weeks of refresher training with her airplane and helicopter squadrons. She returned to Norfolk 26 November and devoted the remainder of 1956 to same type training in the Virginia Capes area.

1957 began with a voyage to the Caribbean for large-scale fleet exercises. Before returning to Norfolk, the carrier visited the Virgin Islands and Jamaica. After a period of antisubmarine training off the East Coast, contingents of midshipmen and West Point cadets embarked for training in the Western Atlantic. Shipboard training was provided for the Annapolis midshipmen. This operation was designed to familiarize the Army cadets with the problems and principles of carrier operations and antisubmarine warfare. The Valley Forge then resumed antisubmarine training. In September 1957, Commander Carrier Division Sixteen presented the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award for "outstanding safety in naval aviation" for the Fiscal Year 1956 to the Commanding Officer of the Valley Forge.

In October 1957, the Valley Forge carried out training operations out of Guantanamo Bay and embarked a Marine detachment. Here she accomplished another naval "first." in a test of the new concept of vertical envelopment as anamphibious assault technique. Steaming out to sea, she airlifted the Marines to a beachhead area in twin-engine Sikorsky HR2S-1 Mojave assault helicopters and then returned them to the ship. This was the first such ship-based vertical assault exercise. On her return to Norfolk, The Valley continued her antisubmarine exercises until December 1957, when she returned to port for the Christmas holidays and to prepare for spring maneuvers.

Antisubmarine training followed Caribbean maneuvers from late January to late February 1958 were followed by antisubmarine training. In March she again joined ships of the Amphibious Force for a major amphibious landing exercise, LANTPHIBEX 1-58. She off loaded nearly 1,400 Marines, landing them ashore from troop-carrying helicopters.

On 1 April 1958, the Valley Forge hoisted the flag of Rear Admiral John S. Thach and became the flagship of the new Task Group ALFA. This task group, built around the VALLEY FORGE CVS-45, included eight destroyers, two submarines, one squadron each of antisubmarine helicopters and airplanes, a detachment of airborne early warning airplanes called "guppies" because of their bulging ventral radomes, and a squadron of land-based P2V Neptune patrol bombers. This task group's function was to concentrate solely on ASW training, developing new devices and techniques for countering the submarine menace in a new era of nuclear propulsion and deep-diving submersibles. Underway training for Naval ROTC and midshipmen occupied the month of June, while a similar July voyage was canceled due to the crisis existing in Lebanon.

Antisubmarine training continued through August 1958, with a cruise for dependents called "Operation Petticoat" on 6 September. Two days later she entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a brief overhaul. Departing Norfolk 11 October she visited Boston, then steamed out into the Atlantic on the 19th for a month of training at sea. At Norfolk from the end of November until 29 December 1958 the Valley Forge departed for ASW training.

Observing the New Year at sea, the carrier was steaming in very heavy weather when she was forced to take evasive action to avoid collision with a merchant ship. Heavy seas severely damaged the forward portion of the flight deck, requiring her to proceed to the New York Naval Shipyard for repairs. To ready her for service as quickly as possible, a corresponding 30 by 90 foot section was taken from the flight deck of the inactive carrier FRANKLIN (CVS-13), berthed at Bayonne, NJ. The damaged section was cut away from Valley Forge's flight deck and the Franklin deck piece installed in its place. A bronze plaque was mounted on the newly replaced deck section to recall how the Franklin was brutally damaged in action off Japan in April 1945. Enemy bombs caused gasoline and ammunition explosions which, resulted in the most crippling damages a United States warship has ever suffered. Fourteen years after the Franklin wrote her name in our country's annals in blood and fire, a part of her was now to go back to sea with the USS Valley Forge CVS-45.

The Valley Forge returned to Norfolk 14 Feb 1959 and resumed Task Group ALFA operations. The Secretary of the Navy, Thomas B. Gates, visited her at sea on 28 February and observed ASW exercises. On 13 April 1959 the "Happy Valley" was again host to a distinguished visitor, this time Richard Jackson, Assistant Secretary of the Navy. From 30 June until 14 August 1959 the Valley Forge gave NROTC and midshipmen a first-hand experience of antisubmarine operations as she steamed the western Atlantic between Halifax and Bermuda before returning to Norfolk.

William B. Franke, the new Secretary of the Navy, visited the Valley Forge at sea 26-27 July 1959 to observe special ASW exercises. During the following month the carrier was presented the Battle Efficiency Pennant for excellence in antisubmarine operations. On 26 September Task Group ALFA's first commander, Rear Admiral Thach, hauled down his flag and departed. As a young fighter pilot in World War II, he had devised the famous "Thach Weave" a fighter tactic that enabled Navy pilots, in their slower F4F Wildcats, to hold their own against the faster and nimbler Japanese Zero fighter. Now, as a flag officer, he had shaped the combined surface and air organization that was to make telling contributions to the science of antisubmarine defense.

From early October until 18 Nov 1959 the Valley Forge underwent repairs at New York before returning to Norfolk for the same type training through late December. She spent the New Year of 1960 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard carrying out electronic alterations and on 21 January departed for maneuvers in the Caribbean. During this operation she took part in "Operation Skyhook." This widely-publicized scientific experiment involved the launching of three of the largest balloons ever fabricated; a crew of civilian scientists sent them aloft with payloads of devices designed to measure and record primary cosmic ray emissions at altitudes of 18 to 22 miles above the earth's surface. On 2 April the Valley Forge hoisted the flag of Commander, Task Group BRAVO, another antisubmarine task group organized to help carry on the work begun by ALFA.

On 9 June 1960 the Valley Forge got underway for a three-month training period in the eastern Mediterranean, visiting ports in Spain, Italy, and France. She returned to Norfolk 30 August, and resumed normal operations. She once again hoisted the flag of Commander, Task Group ALFA, on 10 September. Through the fall, the Valley Forge continued her pace of antisubmarine training exercises. On 19 Dec 1960 she took part in "Operation Mercury," her helicopters recovering the nose cone from a space shot fired from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Two days later she was called to assist the stricken merchant tanker Pine Ridge, breaking up in heavy seas. Speeding to the scene of the tanker's mishap, off Cape Hatteras, the Valley Forge began rescue operations. By this time the ship had broken in two, and her survivors were clinging to the still-floating stern section. Shuttling her helicopters back and forth between the wreck and her flight deck, the Valley Forge plucked twenty-eight seamen from the threatened seas and carried them to safety. A message soon arrived from the Chief of Naval Operations: PLEASE CONVEY MY "WELL DONE'" TO ALL HANDS. "MERRY CHRISTMAS". ARLEIGH BURKE. The rest of the winter of 1960-61 was devoted to normal training operations.

1961 Mar

Modification and Redesignation LPH-8

The Valley Forge entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard 6 March 1961 for overhaul and modification to suit her for a new role as an Amphibious Assault Ship. On 1 July she was formally redesignated, receiving the new hull number (LPH-8). Three weeks of refresher training at Guantanamo Bay helped the ship and crew to regain their familiarity with each other, dulled by the period of shipyard inactivity. Returning to Norfolk early in September 1961, the Valley Forge trained with troop-carrying helicopters.

The new transport departed Norfolk 26 Sept 1961 as part of the Atlantic Fleet's Ready Amphibious Squadron. Her new experience and new equipment would soon be needed in the Dominican Republic. The Trujillo regime was overthrown and a period of crisis and instability followed. There was a strong possibility that U.S. citizens might have to be evacuated if the situation flared up into violence. During the periods 21 - 25 October and 18 - 29 November the Valley Forge operated in the waters off Hispaniola, with her "choppers" ready for an emergency airlift.

The Valley Forge sailed from Norfolk 6 Jan 1962 for duty with the Pacific Fleet. After her fourth transit through the Panama Canal the Happy Valley anchored on the 23rd at her new homeport in Long Beach, CA. After three months of West Coast amphibious training, she steamed westward for service with the Seventh Fleet in the Far East. On 7 May 1962 she hoisted the flag of Commander, Seventh Fleet Ready Amphibious Task Group. The Communist Pathet Lao forces had renewed their assault on the Royal Laotian Government, and the government of Thailand asked President John F. Kennedy to land troops to head off what they feared would develop into a full-fledged invasion of their own country. The Valley Forge closed the Thai coast and, on 17 May1962 landed her Marine team. The crisis abated in the weeks that followed, and in July 1962 her helicopters were sent ashore to assist in lifting out the Marines.

While on duty in the western Pacific the Valley Forge visited Manila, Okinawa, and Hong Kong before returning to Long Beach in December 1962 for Christmas. The first half of 1963 was spent in amphibious training off the West Coast, interrupted only by landing exercises "Steel Gate" off Camp Pendleton (28 February-12 March); "Dirt Road" off Hawaii (1-19 April); and "Windsock" off Pendleton (3-14 June). On 6 June 1963 the Valley Forge took part in a large amphibious demonstration off Camp Pendleton.

The Valley Forge entered Long Beach Naval Shipyard 1 July 1963 for a nine-million-dollar FRAM II (Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization) overhaul. This refit, designed to extend "Happy Valley's" life by about five years, included fitting of improved electronics and facilities for transporting and handling troops and troop helicopters. This consumed the next six months. Ready for sea again on 27 Jan 1964, the Valley Forge departed Long Beach for San Diego and four weeks of refresher training. She returned to Long Beach only to steam back to San Diego 2 March for another week of amphibious training. She sailed from Long Beach 20 March 1964 for a second deployment in the western Pacific. Visiting Pearl Harbor and Okinawa en-route to Hong Kong. She then proceeded to Kaohsiung, Taiwan. From 29 May to 7 June 1964 the Valley Forge joined ships of the other SEATO nations for a joint amphibious exercise before being honored by a visit from President Macapagal of the Philippines. During the following month she received the coveted Battle Efficiency Pennant for excellence during Fiscal Year 1964.

1964 Aug

Vietnam War

At the beginning of August 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats were reported to have attacked destroyers MADDOX (DD-731) and TURNER JOY (DD-951) in the Tonkin Gulf. On 5 August the Valley Forge and the other ships of the Amphibious Ready Group put to sea to take station in the South China Sea. After spending 57 days at sea off the Vietnamese coast, ready for whatever might befall, she returned to Subic Bay. She then continued on to the United States with short pause en-route at Okinawa and Midway, anchoring at Long Beach 5 Nov 1964.

From 23 Feb to 12 March 1965 the Valley Forge took part in the West Coast's largest peacetime Navy-Marine Corps exercise "Exercise Silver Lance." Upon its completion, the carrier steamed to Hawaii to embark Marines and aircraft for delivery to Okinawa. Then she sailed on to Yokosuka before returning to Long Beach 17 April. On 24 May the busy ship again embarked Marines, supplies, and aircraft for Yokosuka and Okinawa, returning once more to Long Beach 1 July1965. Exercises off Camp Pendleton (20-22 July) provided afloat amphibious training for Marine units, and trained shipboard personnel in the handling and evacuation of casualties from a beachhead. During the month of August, the Valley Forge prepared for another Westpac deployment, departing in September1965 for Japan and then operation with the Seventh Fleet in the South China Sea. Her Marine landing force embarked and flying the Flag of Commander, Amphibious Squadron Three, an intensive round of training exercises was initiated. Two major practice assaults on Philippine beaches during October and November added the finishing touches, and on 6 November 1965 the Happy Valley departed Subic Bay for South Vietnam.

During the next two weeks, the Valley Forge stood by the Vietnamese coast in reserve during "Operation Blue Marlin." On 26 Nov 1965 she was once again steaming off the coast of Vietnam, airlifting her Marines ashore to take part in Operations "Dagger Thrust" and "Harvest Moon." These tasks were completed 19 Dec 1965, and "The Valley" set her course for Okinawa. She spent Christmas and New Year's Day in what her ship's newspaper appreciatively referred to as "the crisp freshness of an Okinawan winter." With a refreshed Marine battalion landing team and a medium transport helicopter squadron on board, she sailed for Vietnam on 3 January 1966. Pausing at Chu Lai, she then proceeded to Subic Bay for upkeep and maintenance before steaming south on the 20th for amphibious training exercises off Mindoro. Loading up with supplies and provisions, the Valley Forge sailed 27 Jan 1966 to a point off the Vietnamese coast.

The carrier's Marines landed 29 Jan 1966 to take part in "Operation Double Eagle," The Valley Forge remained on station offshore to provide logistic and medical support. A steady shuttle of helicopters kept food and ammunition supplied to the men ashore, and casualties were swiftly flown back to the ship for medical treatment. The landing team was boarded by 17 February 1966 for a needed rest, and the Valley Forge steamed up the coast to make ready for further operations. The second phase of "Double Eagle" began two days later as the Valley Forge Marines again landed to attack enemy concentrations. By the 26th this operation was over. The Valley Forge off loaded her Marines at Da Nang 27-28 Feb 1966 and sailed to Subic Bay, where she landed her helicopter squadron. On 5 March she loaded another squadron on board for transportation to Da Nang before steaming to Manila. Two days later she sailed for Yokosuka and a brief maintenance period. She departed Yokosuka 27 March, pausing at Pearl Harbor before arriving at Long Beach 9 April 1966.

The rest of April and May were devoted to upkeep and shipboard training exercises. For two days at the end of June, the Valley Forge provided a realistic training for 700 Marine Reservists, who boarded at Long Beach. They were sent in a helicopter assault against San Clemente Island. On 1 July the Valley Forge became flagship of Amphibious Squadron Eleven, and on 12 Aug 1966 she was presented another Battle Efficiency "E" in ceremonies at Long Beach. She served as flagship on the 17th for "Exercise Silver Point III," the year's biggest West Coast landing exercise. Heavy CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters landed Marines, NROTC and midshipmen at Camp Pendleton. The Happy Valley then returned to Long Beach where she embarked a Marine landing team and helicopter squadron.

Sailing west across the Pacific by way of Pearl Harbor and Wake Island, the carrier off loaded the landing team at Okinawa before landing the helicopters at Da Nang on 1 Oct1966. The Valley Forge returned to Okinawa, embarking another battalion landing team and helicopter squadron and broke the flag of Commander, Amphibious Squadron One. On 8 Oct 1966 she joined the Seventh Fleet's Amphibious Ready Group at Subic Bay for landing exercises there and off Mindoro. The Happy Valley was anchored at Subic Bay in the early morning hours of 23 Oct 1966 when she received a message from Manila Bay. Two ships had collided and were calling for assistance. Five of Valley Forge doctors and a chaplain boarded a helicopter and flew to the scene of the accident to render assistance.

Two days later the Valley Forge departed Subic Bay for Da Hang to off load equipment. After operating off the northern coast of South Vietnam for some days, she sailed for Okinawa to off load her landing team before continuing on to Hong Kong. Pausing again at Okinawa, she set her course eastward across the Pacific and dropped anchor at Long Beach 1 Dec 1966. On the 13 Dec she began an overhaul at Long Beach Naval Shipyard.

The Valley Forge's first major overhaul since her 1963 Frame refit, was completed by 14 July 1967. Her hull and machinery had been renewed and a series of sea trials proved her once more fully ready for service. Through the rest of July and August she underwent refresher training and readiness inspections. Finishing touches were added through September and early October 1967. Shipboard training was conducted off Long Beach; supplies were loaded, and a squadron of Marine CH-46D Sea Knight helicopters was embarked at Long Beach for transit to Vietnam. At San Diego the Valley Forge loaded planes, helicopters, and small craft for transportation before sailing for the western Pacific.

After a brief visit to Pearl Harbor, the Valley Forge off loaded her cargo of small craft and aircraft at Subic Bay, then proceeded on to Phu Bai, Vietnam. She anchored there on 29 Nov 1967, off loading her helicopter squadron and joining the Amphibious Ready Group BRAVO. The next day she became it's flagship, embarking a battalion landing team and helicopter squadron. On 2 December 1967 the Valley sailed for Subic Bay to have additional equipment installed and to carry out a special amphibious exercise. Returning to Da Nang on the 19 Dec 1967, she made last-minute preparations, and two days later launched amphibious "Operation Fortress Ridge." This "search and destroy" effort was air-landed just south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as the Valley Forge provided continuous supply and medical evacuation (MedEvac) support through the close of the operation on 24 Dec 1967. From the 26th of Dec through 2 Jan 1968 the Valley Forge's landing team took part in "Operation Badger Tooth," an over-the-beach landing operation near Quang Tri in northern South Vietnam.

The Valley Forge now steamed to Da Nang for upkeep. On 9 Jan 1967 she got underway for her new station off Dong Hoi province, where she provided supplies and MedEvac support for Allied troops in this coastal area. "Operation Badger Catch," near the Cua Viet River south of the DMZ, followed from 23 Jan through 18 Feb 1967. The Valley Forge then sailed for Subic Bay and a period of maintenance. "Badger Catch II" 6 March - 14 April followed. During this period the Valley Forge acted as "Helo Haven" for Marine helicopter squadrons considered in danger of enemy attack at their land bases. The "choppers" flew out to the carrier while their base areas were being cleared of enemy forces. A ten-day availability at Subic Bay ensued, then the Valley Forge returned to Vietnamese waters for "Badger Catch III" from 28 April to 3 June 1967. The ship now returned to Da Nang and quickly prepared for "Swift Saber" - a long week of operations beginning 7 June.

The Valley Forge and an embarked battalion landing team steamed to Subic Bay on completion of "Swift Saber" for upkeep and a landing exercise named "Hilltop XX" (1-3 July). This completed, the Valley Forge's Marines and helicopters were shifted to TRIPOLI (LPH-10), and the "Happy Valley" got underway for Hong Kong and a welcome recreation period. Weighing anchor again 13 July, The Valley steamed north to Okinawa to off load ammunition. After brief visits to Yokosuka and Pearl Harbor enroute, she returned to Long Beach on 3 Aug 1968.

The next month was spent in shipboard training and upkeep. The Valley Forge off loaded her remaining ammunition 17 Sept 1968, and on the 23rd began an extensive overhaul at Long Beach. On its completion, she underwent a period of training and preparation for further Far East service.

Once more ready for sea, the Valley Forge departed Long Beach 30 Jan 1969. At San Diego she embarked Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters for delivery to transport squadrons in Vietnam. At Pearl Harbor "The Valley's" officers were briefed on their forthcoming operations. The ship paused near Guam while one of her helicopters carried a stricken crewman ashore for urgent surgery. She loaded special landing force equipment at Subic Bay, and embarked the Commander, Special Landing Forces BRAVO and a squadron of Marine CH-46 transport helicopters. On 10 March 1969 the Valley began operating in support of "Operation Defiant Measure," steaming off Da Nang as her helicopters flew missions on the beach. This was completed by the 18 Mar 1969, and the Valley off loaded her helicopters before steaming to Subic Bay for upkeep.

After her return to Da Nang on 3 May 1969, the Valley Forge re-embarked her helicopters as well as part of a battalion landing team of Marines who had been taking part in fighting ashore. The carrier continued to operate in the Da Nang area during the weeks that followed, her helicopters flying frequent support missions and her Marines preparing for further combat landings.

During late May and early June 1969 the Valley Forge received visits from the Secretary of the Navy John Chafee and Vice Admiral William F. Bringle, Commander Seventh Fleet. She off loaded her Marine companies at Da Nang 10 June 1969 and embarked a battalion landing team for transportation to Okinawa, where she arrived on the 16 June 1969. The landing team conducted amphibious exercises with Valley Forge for eleven days, then boarded the Valley for transport to Subic Bay where they continued the training process. The Valley Forge returned to the Da Nang area 8 July 1969 and resumed flying helicopter support for Marine ground forces in the northern I Corps area. The ship took evasive action to avoid an approaching typhoon, and then began preparations for an amphibious operation.

"Operation Brave Armada" began 24 July 1969 with a helicopter-borne assault on suspected Viet Cong and North Vietnamese positions in Quang Ngai-Chu Lai area to support this attack which was completed on 7 Aug1969. She then steamed to Da Nang to off load her Marines. General Leonard F. Chapman, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, visited the USS VALLEY FORGE LPH-8 that same day. The ship sailed for Okinawa on the 13 Aug 1969, arriving four days later and off loading her helicopter squadron before getting underway again to evade another typhoon. The proceeded to Hong Kong, dropping anchor there on 22 Aug 1969. The same day the Happy Valley received a message announcing her forthcoming inactivation. She returned to Da Nang 3 Sept 1969 to load materials for shipment to the United States, departed that evening for Yokosuka for three days of upkeep before leaving the Far East forever.

1969 Sep


The USS Valley Forge LPH-8 got underway from Yokosuka 11 Sept 1969, and anchored at Long Beach on the 22 Sept 1969. After a leave and upkeep period, she off loaded ammunition and equipment at Seal Beach and San Diego. The carrier returned to Long Beach 31 Oct 1969 to prepare for decommissioning. This process continued through the New Year and on 15 January 1970, USS VALLEY FORGE CV /CVA / CVS-45 /LPH-8 was placed out of commission. Her ensign and commissioning pennant were hauled down for the last time, and she was turned over to the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at San Diego. Her name was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on the same day.

"THE HAPPY VALLEY" was sold on 29 October 1971 to the Nicolai Joffe Corporation Beverly Hills, CA.

1971 Taps


The Valley Forge was, in truth, a magnifcent and happy ship. Citizens of Phildelphia who patriotically purchased the War Bonds to build her, the Craftsmen of the Philadelphia Navy Yard who constructed her, and the Officers and Men who sailed her can justifiably take pride in her performance and contribution to our country.

There are many things that make a great ship. Some are tangible-- some intangable. In the name Valley Forge are embodied many of the ideals for which we should all aim: Steadfastness of purpose in times of great difficulty; Love of this country and all the great things it stands for; To hold high the torch of freedom and to fight for that which we know is right.

The Valley Forge was the inheritor not only of an honorable name, but also of a great naval legacy illuminated by the names of many great men and many great ships. She carried forward both her name and that legacy with honor and distinction. Number one in her class with an extended service record she will long be remembered for First in War, First in Peace and First Around the World but above all as the "Happy Valley."

Rear Admiral John W. Harris, U.S. Navy (Retired)

First Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Valley Forge

Credit Lines and Acknowledgements:

Take-Offs Vol.I-No.1 USS VALLEY FORGE 3,Nov.1946 Publication Staff: Comdr. Peter R. McPhee,Jr.,CHC USN, Richard R. Rohm, Y3/C USN Lawrence R.Varner, S1/C USN (Prtr)

Office of Naval Operations Naval History Division (OP-09B9) Ships Histories Section Rev.1997 OP-09B1SH

Public Information Office USS VALLEY FORGE(CV-45) 28,Sept.1951 Release No.246,246A,246B "About The USS VALLEY FORGE (CV-45)" Capt. Oscar Pederson USN - By H. E. Morkisch, JOSN USN

Public Information Office USS VALLEY FORGE(CVA-45) 24,June 1953 "The Valley Forge Story" Capt. Robert E. Dixon USN

Willie Gann, 1948 to 1951 V1 Div. Short Diary 26,Apr.1950 to 27, Aug.1950

John B.Trahan Sr.Chief Quarter Master SMCS Personal Interview with David Manchester MM2

Epilogue - Rear Admiral John W. Harris USN