U.S. aircraft carrier Langley is sunk

U.S. aircraft carrier Langley is sunk

The U.S. Navy’s first aircraft carrier, the Langley, is sunk by Japanese warplanes (with a little help from U.S. destroyers), and all of its 32 aircraft are lost.

The Langley was launched in 1912 as the naval collier (coal transport ship) Jupiter. After World War I, the Jupiter was converted into the Navy’s first aircraft carrier and rechristened the Langley, after aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpont Langley. It was also the Navy’s first electrically propelled ship, capable of speeds of 15 knots. On October 17, 1922, Lt. Virgil C. Griffin piloted the first plane, a VE-7-SF, launched from the Langley's decks. Although planes had taken off from ships before, it was nevertheless a historic moment. After 1937, the Langley lost the forward 40 percent of her flight deck as part of a conversion to seaplane tender, a mobile base for squadrons of patrol bombers.

On December 8, 1941, the Langley was part of the Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked. She immediately set sail for Australia, arriving on New Year’s Day, 1942. On February 22, commanded by Robert P. McConnell, the Langley, carrying 32 Warhawk fighters, left as part of a convoy to aid the Allies in their battle against the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies.

On February 27, the Langley parted company from the convoy and headed straight for the port at Tjilatjap, Java. About 74 miles south of Java, the carrier met up with two U.S. escort destroyers when nine Japanese twin-engine bombers attacked. Although the Langley had requested a fighter escort from Java for cover, none could be spared. The first two Japanese bomber runs missed their target, as they were flying too high, but the Langley's luck ran out the third time around and it was hit three times, setting the planes on her flight deck aflame. The carrier began to list. Commander McConnell lost his ability to navigate the ship. McConnell ordered the Langley abandoned, and the escort destroyers were able to take his crew to safety. Of the 300 crewmen, only 16 were lost. The destroyers then sank the Langley before the Japanese were able to capture it.


Langley was named for Samuel Pierpont Langley, American scientist and aviation pioneer. She carried on the name and tradition of USS Langley (CV-1) , the first U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, which had been sunk on 27 February 1942. The ship was originally ordered as a Cleveland-class light cruiser and named Fargo (CL‑85). She was laid down as USS Crown Point (CV‑27) by New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey United States on 11 April 1942 and renamed Langley on 13 November 1942.

1943 Edit

Langley was launched on 22 May 1943 and commissioned on 31 August 1943, Captain W.M. Dillon in command. After shakedown in the Caribbean Sea, Langley departed Philadelphia on 6 December 1943 for Pearl Harbor, where she participated in training operations.

1944 Edit

On 19 January 1944, she sailed with Task Force 58 (TF 58) for the attack on the Marshall Islands. From 29 January to 6 February, Langley ' s Carrier Air Group 32 (CVG-32) conducted raids on Wotje and Taroa Island to support the landings at Kwajalein, and from 10 through 28 February at Eniwetok. After a brief respite at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, Langley ' s aircraft hit Japanese positions on Palau, Yap, and Woleai, Caroline Islands, from 30 March to 1 April. She next proceeded to New Guinea to take part in the capture of Hollandia on 25 April. A mere 4 days later, the carrier engaged in the 2‑day strike against the Japanese bastion Truk. During the raid, Langley and her aircraft accounted for some 35 enemy planes destroyed or damaged, while losing only one aircraft herself.

Langley next departed Majuro on 7 June 1944 for the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign. On 11 June, TF 58 launched a strike of 208 fighters and eight torpedo bombers against enemy bases and airfields on Saipan and Tinian. From 11 June to 8 August, Langley operated with TF 58 and also took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, 19 to 20 June 1944.

The carrier departed Eniwetok on 29 August and sortied with TF 38, under the command of Adm. William F. Halsey for air assaults on Peleliu and airfields in the Philippines as the preliminary steps in the invasion of the Palaus from 15 to 20 September 1944. During October, she operated off Formosa and the Pescadores Islands. Later in the month, TF 38 supported the landings on Leyte. The Japanese efforts to stop the U.S. advance included the counterattack by most available major fleet units ("Operation Sho-Go"). On 24 October, Langley ' s planes took part in the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea. Aircraft of TF 38 attacked the Japanese Center Force, as it steamed toward the San Bernardino Strait and the American beachhead at Tacloban. The Japanese units temporarily retired. The following day, upon word of Japanese aircraft carriers north of Leyte, TF 38 raced to intercept. In the ensuing Battle off Cape Engaño, the Japanese lost four carriers, two battleships, four heavy cruisers, one light cruiser, and five destroyers. Langley ' s aircraft assisted in the destruction of the carriers Zuihō and Zuikaku, the latter being the only remaining carrier of the six that had participated in the Pearl Harbor attack.

During November 1944, Langley supported the Philippine landings and strikes the Manila Bay area. Aircraft of Langley ' s CVG-44 attacked Japanese reinforcement convoys, and airfields on Luzon and in the Cape Engaño area. On 1 December, the carrier withdrew to Ulithi for reprovisioning.

1945 Edit

During January 1945, Langley participated in the South China Sea raid supporting Invasion of Lingayen Gulf. Raids were made against Formosa, French Indochina, and the China coast from 30 December 1944 to 25 January 1945. Langley ' s task group was attacked by two dive bombers on 21 January. One 50 kg (110 lb) bomb stuck the center of Langley ' s flight deck forward and penetrated to the gallery deck to explode among the officers' staterooms just aft of the forecastle. The fire was quickly extinguished, and the flight deck repaired to continue flight operations. The second bomber inflicted greater damage on USS Ticonderoga. [1]

Langley next joined in the sweeps against Tokyo and Nansei Shoto in support of the landings on Iwo Jima between 10 February and 18 March 1945. She next raided airfields on the Japanese homeland, and arrived off Okinawa on 23 March. Until 11 May, the ship operated either off Okinawa or took part in strikes on Kyushu, Japan, in an effort to destroy kamikaze bases in southern Japan which were launching desperate and deadly attacks.

After touching Ulithi and Pearl Harbor, she steamed to San Francisco, arriving on 3 June for repairs and modernization at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. She departed 1 August and reached Pearl Harbor on 8 August 1945. While there, word arrived that hostilities had ended. She completed two "Magic Carpet" voyages to the Pacific, transporting soldiers back to the United States, and got underway on 1 October for Philadelphia.

1946 Edit

She departed from that port 15 November for the first of two trips to Europe transporting U.S. Army troops returning home from that theater. She returned to Philadelphia on 6 January 1946 and was assigned to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Philadelphia Group, on 31 May 1946. Langley was decommissioned on 11 February 1947.

Langley was taken out of "mothballs", refurbished and transferred to France under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program on 8 January 1951. After more than a decade of French Navy service as La Fayette, she was returned to the United States on 20 March 1963 and sold to the Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, Maryland, for scrapping. [2]


How the U.S. Navy's First Aircraft Was Sunk by the. U.S. Navy

While not the first aircraft carrier in the world, the USS Langley (CV-1/AV-3) has the distinction of being the United States Navy's first aircraft carrier.

While not the first aircraft carrier in the world, the USS Langley (CV-1/AV-3) has the distinction of being the United States Navy's first aircraft carrier.

Converted in 1920 from the collier (coal transport ship) USS Jupiter (Navy Fleet Collier No. 3), she was also the Navy's first turbo-electric-powered vessel.

History of the Langley

Following tests in the Atlantic, Langley – named after American aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpont Langley – was used as a test platform for developing carrier operating techniques and tactics while serving in the Pacific Ocean. She had been given the hull number CV-1, but contrary to popular belief it didn't actually stand for "carrier vessel," but rather derived from the cruiser designation.

On October 17, 1922, Lt. Virgil C. Griffin piloted the first plane, a VE-7-SF, launched from the USS Langley's decks. While not the first aircraft to take off from a flight deck, it was a notable moment for U.S. naval aviation. Commander Kenneth Whiting soon became the first aviator to take off from a carrier using a catapult system during the carrier's early tests.

In October 1936, the warship was converted again – from carrier to seaplane tender and was reclassified AV-3. During that conversion, the warship's flight deck was reduced by some forty percent to allow it to operate as a mobile base for squadrons of patrol bombers. She was assigned to Aircraft Scouting Force and had been assigned to the Asiatic Fleet prior to the outbreak of World War II. When the war started, she was off the Philippine Islands, yet was able to make her way to Australia.

In the early stages of the war, Langley assisted the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in running anti-submarine patrols out of the northern port of Darwin.

In late February 1942, commanded by Robert P. McConnell, Langley was carrying thirty-two Warhawk fighters as part of a convoy to aid Allied efforts against the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies. On the 27th of that month, while being escorted by a pair of U.S. Navy destroyers Whipple (DD-217) and Edsall (DD-219), the former carrier was attacked by nine twin-engine Japanese bombers.

Hit three times, the Langley's flight deck was engulfed in flames and the ship took a 10 percent list to port. Sixteen sailors had been killed in the attack. Unable to negotiate the narrow mouth of the Tjilatjap Harbor, Langley lost all power. At 1332 hours the order to abandon ship was passed. Commander McConnell remained on the bridge and manned an anti-aircraft gun while the crew was evacuated.

The escorting destroyers fired nine four-inch shells and two torpedoes into the former coal tender to insure her sinking. Tragically, many of Langley's crew, who had been transferred to the oiler USS Pecos, were lost at sea when the oiler was sunk en route to Australia on March 1. Additionally, thirty-one of the thirty-three pilots assigned to the United States Army Air Force's 13th Pursuit Squadron (Provisional), who transferred to the Edsall were also lost the same day when the destroyer was sunk while responding to the distress call from the Pecos.


List of sunken aircraft carriers

With the advent of heavier-than-air flight, the aircraft carrier has become a decisive weapon at sea. [1] In 1911 aircraft began to be successfully launched and landed on ships with the successful flight of a Curtiss Pusher aboard USS Pennsylvania. [2] The British Royal Navy pioneered the first aircraft carrier with floatplanes, as flying boats under performed compared to traditional land based aircraft. [3] The first true aircraft carrier was HMS Argus, [2] [4] launched in late 1917 with a complement of 20 aircraft and a flight deck 550 ft (170 m) long and 68 ft (21 m) wide. [4] The last aircraft carrier sunk in wartime was the Japanese aircraft carrier Amagi, in Kure Harbour in July 1945. The greatest loss of life was the 2,046 killed on Akitsu Maru—a converted passenger liner with a small flight deck, carrying the Imperial Japanese Army's 64th Infantry Regiment. As a result, the carrier proved successful in interdicting logistical movements of the enemy.


USS Langley: How the Navy’s First Aircraft Carrier Was Lost

While not the first aircraft carrier in the world, the USS Langley (CV-1/AV-3) has the distinction of being the United States Navy’s first aircraft carrier.

Converted in 1920 from the collier (coal transport ship) USS Jupiter (Navy Fleet Collier No. 3), she was also the Navy’s first turbo-electric-powered vessel.

History of the Langley

Following tests in the Atlantic, Langley – named after American aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpont Langley – was used as a test platform for developing carrier operating techniques and tactics while serving in the Pacific Ocean. She had been given the hull number CV-1, but contrary to popular belief it didn’t actually stand for “carrier vessel,” but rather derived from the cruiser designation.

On October 17, 1922, Lt. Virgil C. Griffin piloted the first plane, a VE-7-SF, launched from the USS Langley‘s decks. While not the first aircraft to take off from a flight deck, it was a notable moment for U.S. naval aviation. Commander Kenneth Whiting soon became the first aviator to take off from a carrier using a catapult system during the carrier’s early tests.

In October 1936, the warship was converted again – from carrier to seaplane tender and was reclassified AV-3. During that conversion, the warship’s flight deck was reduced by some forty percent to allow it to operate as a mobile base for squadrons of patrol bombers. She was assigned to Aircraft Scouting Force and had been assigned to the Asiatic Fleet prior to the outbreak of World War II. When the war started, she was off the Philippine Islands, yet was able to make her way to Australia.

In the early stages of the war, Langley assisted the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in running anti-submarine patrols out of the northern port of Darwin.

In late February 1942, commanded by Robert P. McConnell, Langley was carrying thirty-two Warhawk fighters as part of a convoy to aid Allied efforts against the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies. On the 27th of that month, while being escorted by a pair of U.S. Navy destroyers Whipple (DD-217) and Edsall (DD-219), the former carrier was attacked by nine twin-engine Japanese bombers.

Hit three times, the Langley’s flight deck was engulfed in flames and the ship took a 10 percent list to port. Sixteen sailors had been killed in the attack. Unable to negotiate the narrow mouth of the Tjilatjap Harbor, Langley lost all power. At 1332 hours the order to abandon ship was passed. Commander McConnell remained on the bridge and manned an anti-aircraft gun while the crew was evacuated.

The escorting destroyers fired nine four-inch shells and two torpedoes into the former coal tender to insure her sinking. Tragically, many of Langley’s crew, who had been transferred to the oiler USS Pecos, were lost at sea when the oiler was sunk en route to Australia on March 1. Additionally, thirty-one of the thirty-three pilots assigned to the United States Army Air Force’s 13th Pursuit Squadron (Provisional), who transferred to the Edsall were also lost the same day when the destroyer was sunk while responding to the distress call from the Pecos.


This Day in WWII History: Feb 27, 1942: U.S. aircraft carrier Langley is sunk

On this day, the U.S. Navy's first aircraft carrier, the Langley, is sunk by Japanese warplanes (with a little help from U.S. destroyers), and all of its 32 aircraft are lost.

The Langley was launched in 1912 as the naval collier (coal transport ship) Jupiter. After World War I, the Jupiter was converted into the Navy's first aircraft carrier and rechristened the Langley, after aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpoint Langley. It was also the Navy's first electrically propelled ship, capable of speeds of 15 knots.

On October 17, 1922, Lt. Virgil C. Griffin piloted the first plane, a VE-7-SF, launched from the Langley's decks. Although planes had taken off from ships before, it was nevertheless a historic moment.

After 1937, the Langley lost the forward 40 percent of her flight deck as part of a conversion to seaplane tender, a mobile base for squadrons of patrol bombers.

On December 8, 1941, the Langley was part of the Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked. She immediately set sail for Australia, arriving on New Year's Day, 1942.

On February 22, commanded by Robert P. McConnell, the Langley, carrying 32 Warhawk fighters, left as part of a convoy to aid the Allies in their battle against the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies.

On February 27, the Langley parted company from the convoy and headed straight for the port at Tjilatjap, Java. About 74 miles south of Java, the carrier met up with two U.S. escort destroyers when nine Japanese twin-engine bombers attacked. Although the Langley had requested a fighter escort from Java for cover, none could be spared.

The first two Japanese bomber runs missed their target, as they were flying too high, but the Langley's luck ran out the third time around and it was hit three times, setting the planes on her flight deck aflame. The carrier began to list. Commander McConnell lost his ability to navigate the ship.


Contents

During World War II, the United States Navy purchased two Great Lakes side-wheel paddle steamers and converted them into freshwater aircraft carrier training ships. Both vessels were designated with the hull classification symbol IX (Unclassified Miscellaneous) and lacked hangar decks, elevators or armaments. The role of these ships was for the training of pilots for carrier take-offs and landings. [86] Together the Sable and Wolverine trained 17,820 pilots in 116,000 carrier landings. Of these, 51,000 landings were on Sable. [87]


U.S. aircraft carrier Langley is sunk - Feb 27, 1942 - HISTORY.com

TSgt Joe C.

On this day, the U.S. Navy’s first aircraft carrier, the Langley, is sunk by Japanese warplanes (with a little help from U.S. destroyers), and all of its 32 aircraft are lost.

The Langley was launched in 1912 as the naval collier (coal transport ship) Jupiter. After World War I, the Jupiter was converted into the Navy’s first aircraft carrier and rechristened the Langley, after aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpoint Langley. It was also the Navy’s first electrically propelled ship, capable of speeds of 15 knots. On October 17, 1922, Lt. Virgil C. Griffin piloted the first plane, a VE-7-SF, launched from the Langley‘s decks. Although planes had taken off from ships before, it was nevertheless a historic moment. After 1937, the Langley lost the forward 40 percent of her flight deck as part of a conversion to seaplane tender, a mobile base for squadrons of patrol bombers.

On December 8, 1941, the Langley was part of the Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked. She immediately set sail for Australia, arriving on New Year’s Day, 1942. On February 22, commanded by Robert P. McConnell, the Langley, carrying 32 Warhawk fighters, left as part of a convoy to aid the Allies in their battle against the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies.

On February 27, the Langley parted company from the convoy and headed straight for the port at Tjilatjap, Java. About 74 miles south of Java, the carrier met up with two U.S. escort destroyers when nine Japanese twin-engine bombers attacked. Although the Langley had requested a fighter escort from Java for cover, none could be spared. The first two Japanese bomber runs missed their target, as they were flying too high, but the Langley‘s luck ran out the third time around and it was hit three times, setting the planes on her flight deck aflame. The carrier began to list. Commander McConnell lost his ability to navigate the ship. McConnell ordered the Langley abandoned, and the escort destroyers were able to take his crew to safety. Of the 300 crewmen, only 16 were lost. The destroyers then to sank the Langley before the Japanese were able to capture it.

U.S. aircraft carrier Langley is sunk - Feb 27, 1942 - HISTORY.com

Thanks for reminding us that in 1942 the USS Langley aircraft carrier was attacked by nine Japanese twin-engine bombers attacked after the carrier parted company with the convoy and it headed straight for the port at Tjilatjap, Java.
Additional background:
The USS Langley was assigned to the Aircraft Scouting Force in the Pacific, where she assisted the Royal Australian Air Force on anti-submarine patrols. On Feb. 27, 1942, the Langley was rendezvousing with destroyers USS Whipple and USS Edsall off the coast of Indonesia as part of the American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDACOM) Command. At about noon she was attacked by nine Japanese dive bombers. Although the destroyers did all they could to protect her, Langley’s speed didn’t exceed 10 knots, slowing down her escape. She survived the first two strikes owing to Cmdr. R. P. McConnell, her skipper, and his skill at hard rudder turns, and avoided two bomb waves. But on the third, she took five hits, and her engine room quickly flooded. At about 1:30 p.m., Cmdr. McConnell gave the order to abandon ship. Langley’s crew then watched from the decks of Whipple and Edsall as the destroyers fired shells and torpedoes into the former collier and aircraft carrier so she wouldn’t fall into enemy hands.

Images: USS Langley CV1 1920s Planes in USS Langley’s Hangar During The 1920s 1942-02-27 USS Langley Being Abandoned 1942-02-27 USS_Langley_(AV-3)_is_hit_by_torpedo
https://www.navalhistory.org/2014/03/20/americas-first-aircraft-carrier-uss-langley-cv-1-warfighting-first-platforms-people
"By Naval History and Heritage Command
The aircraft carrier. Without a doubt, one of the most impressive ships to sail the sea, a floating city loaded with aircraft that can be launched to attack ships or shore, from nearly anywhere in the world.
As with many great things, the origins of the aircraft carrier came from a more humble beginning. When the keel was laid for the Proteus-class collier named Jupiter, she was already more than just a bulk cargo ship used to carry coal to keep other ships in fuel. She was designed to be the first turbo electrically-propelled ship, an experiment to improve safety on ships where fire from coal dust could quickly turn deadly. The interest in this experiment had President William Taft attend the keel-laying ceremony Oct. 18, 1911 at Mare Island Shipyard in California. While USS Jupiter (AC 3) was commissioned April 7, 1913, it was her rebirth March 20, 1920, as the nation’s first aircraft carrier, for which this ship will be remembered.
Serving the fleet in two wars
After USS Jupiter (AC 3) was commissioned, she saw active service in the Pacific Fleet at Mazatlan, Mexico during the Veracruz crisis in 1914. She was then the first vessel to transit the Panama Canal from west to east on Columbus Day, 1914. During World War I, Jupiter provided coal to ships in France from 1917-18. A hint of her future may have been revealed as Jupiter transported the first U.S. naval aviation detachment to arrive in Europe. The detachment consisted of seven officers and 122 men commanded by Lt. Kenneth Whiting.

After World War I, in which USS Jupiter earned the World War I Victory Medal, the ship that was already the first electrically-powered, would be transformed into another first: the nation’s first aircraft carrier. After sailing into Norfolk, USS Jupiter was decommissioned March 24, 1920. Work began to transform the collier into the nation’s first designed aircraft carrier, renamed USS Langley (AC 1) on April 11, 1920.

Lofty goals for naval aviation
It was only fitting that Langley be named in honor of Samuel Pierpont Langley, a former assistant professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and later Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute. Like other aviation pioneers, Langley was obsessed with creating a working “heavier-than-air-aircraft” for the Navy. He ended up spending the rest of his life competing against those other titans of aviation, Orville and Wilbur Wright, who won the patent. Langley didn’t win the patent for his “aerodrome”. Also, Langley’s repeated attempts at launching aircraft from a ship never succeeded. The famous English poet, Rudyard Kipling, wrote accolades of him for his persistence and commented:

“Through [President Theodore] Roosevelt I met Professor Langley of the Smithsonian, an old man who had designed a model aeroplane…it flew on trial over two hundred yards, and drowned itself in the waters of the Potomac, which was cause of great mirth and humour to the Press of his country. Langley took it coolly enough and said to me that, though he would never live till then, I should see the aeroplane established.”

Langley died in 1906 without having successfully flown his “aerodrome,” but he succeeded igniting the Navy’s desire to launch and land aircraft from ships at sea. The Navy took up where Langley left off.

As a collier, Jupiter had seven 50-foot tall A-frame towers mounted on the upper deck to load and unload coal. The A-frame bases were used to support another deck and a platform elevator to carry aircraft from the hanger to the flight deck. Since the ship was built primarily for testing and experimentation for “seaborne aviation,” there was no control tower or what, on more modern carriers is called the “island.” Her flight deck, supported by heavy steel girders, covered the entire ship from bow to stern, earning her the nickname “Covered Wagon,” because the deck resembled a giant canopy. Langley’s insignia even conveyed the image of a ship with a loop canopy cover, invoking the American pioneer days when settlers moved west in Conestoga wagons, known as “prairie schooners.”

She was recommissioned March 20, 1922. Her first executive officer felt right at home on the new ship: Cmdr. Kenneth Whiting, a former submarine commander turned aviator who had been transported to England by the collier Jupiter. Whiting, who earned the title “Father of the Aircraft Carrier,” was the last naval aviator to take training personally from Orville Wright.

On Oct. 17, 1922, Lt. Virgil C. Griffin, launched Langley’s first airplane from her deck, a Vought VE-7. Nine days later, Lt. Cmdr. Godfrey D. Chevalier made the first landing on Langley’s deck near Norfolk, Va., on Oct. 26, 1922. Once those wheels skidded on the flight deck, the Navy had finally gained the capability of launching aircraft from and safely returning them and their pilots safely to a ship. A month later, on Nov. 18, 1922, Cmdr. Whiting became the first aviator to be catapulted from a carrier’s deck.

Langley served as an unarmed test bed for flight deck and flight operations throughout the 1920s. During this time, the Navy would learn from its experiences on Langley how better to park and launch aircraft more quickly, which set the stage for the fleet aircraft carriers that followed, such as Ranger, Lexington and Saratoga, all ships built with flight decks that were wider, longer and sturdier.
Not everything to do with flight managed to make it successfully onto the new aircraft carrier. Since carrier pigeons had been used for communications during World War I, a carrier pigeon house was planned for the transformed aircraft carrier. Apparently carrier pigeon training was lacking at Naval Station Norfolk. While the pigeons would return to the ship if only a few were released, once the whole flock was released, the birds flew back to the shipyard rather than to the ship to roost. So the pigeons were fired and the pigeon coop became the executive officer’s office.

With newer aircraft carriers being built based on lessons learned from USS Langley, the ship was decommissioned Feb. 26, 1937. She was reclassified and converted into a seaplane tender with the hull number AV-3.

Post-carrier career
During World War II, Langley was assigned to the Aircraft Scouting Force in the Pacific, where she assisted the Royal Australian Air Force on anti-submarine patrols. On Feb. 27, 1942, Langley was rendezvousing with destroyers USS Whipple and USS Edsall off the coast of Indonesia as part of the American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDACOM) Command. At about noon she was attacked by nine Japanese dive bombers. Although the destroyers did all they could to protect her, Langley’s speed didn’t exceed 10 knots, slowing down her escape. She survived the first two strikes owing to Cmdr. R. P. McConnell, her skipper, and his skill at hard rudder turns, and avoided two bomb waves. But on the third, she took five hits, and her engine room quickly flooded. At about 1:30 p.m., Cmdr. McConnell gave the order to abandon ship. Langley’s crew then watched from the decks of Whipple and Edsall as the destroyers fired shells and torpedoes into the former collier and aircraft carrier so she wouldn’t fall into enemy hands.

Langley helped train the Navy’s first aircraft carrier pilots, and they proved invaluable for the Navy on Lexington (CV 2) at the Battle of Coral Sea and on Saratoga (CV 3) at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons during the Guadalcanal Campaign. There Navy airmen successfully helped damage and sink enemy aircraft carriers. Of those navy aviators who served aboard Langley, five became rear admirals, four became vice admirals and four became four-star admirals. "
LTC Stephen C. LTC Greg Henning Capt Seid Waddell Capt Tom Brown SFC (Join to see) SFC William Farrell SSgt Robert Marx SFC James J. Palmer IV aka "JP4" SSgt (Join to see) SGT John " Mac " McConnell SP5 Mark Kuzinski SrA Christopher Wright SP5 Robert RuckCPT (Join to see)
SCPO Morris RamseyCPL Eric EscasioPO2 Tom Belcher
SGT Digno De JesusCPT Joshua Dumont

By Naval History and Heritage Command The aircraft carrier. Without a doubt, one of the most impressive ships to sail the sea, a floating city loaded with aircraft that can be launched to attack ships or shore, from nearly anywhere in the world. As with many great things, the origins of the.


U.S. aircraft carrier Langley is sunk - HISTORY

The Jupiter (AC 3) was laid down October 18, 1911 by Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Calif. launched August 14, 1912 sponsored by Mrs. Thomas F. Ruhm and commissioned April 7, 1913, Comdr. Joseph M. Reeves in command.

After successfully passing her trials, Jupiter, the first electrically-propelled ship of the U.S. Navy, embarked a Marine detachment at San Francisco and reported to the Pacific Fleet at Mazatlan, Mexico, April 27, 1914, bolstering U.S. naval strength on the Mexican Pacific coast during the tense days of the Vera Cruz crisis. She remained on the Pacific coast until she departed for Philadelphia, October 10. En route the collier steamed through the Panama canal on Columbus Day, the first vessel to transit it from west to east.

Prior to America's entry into World War I, she cruised the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico attached to the Atlantic Fleet Auxiliary Division. The ship arrived Norfolk April 6, 1917, and, assigned to Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS), interrupted her coaling operations by two cargo voyages to France in June 1917 and November 1918. She was back in Norfolk January 23, 1919 whence she sailed for Brest, France, March 8, for coaling duty in European waters to expedite the return of victorious veterans to the United States. Upon reaching Norfolk August 17, 1919 the ship was transferred to the west coast. Her conversion to an aircraft carrier was authorized July 11, 1919 and she sailed to Hampton Roads, Va., December 12, where she was decommissioned March 24, 1920.

Jupiter was converted into the first U.S. aircraft carrier at the Navy Yard, Norfolk, Va., for the purpose of conducting experiments in the new idea of seaborne aviation, a field of unlimited possibilities. Her name was changed to USS Langley April 11, 1920 she was reclassified CV 1 and recommissioned March 20, 1922, Cmdr. Kenneth Whiting in command.

As the first Navy carrier, USS Langley was the scene of numerous momentous events. On October 17, 1922 Lt. Cmdr. Virgil C. Griffin piloted the first plane, a VE7-SF, launched from her decks. Though this was not the first time an airplane had taken off from a ship, and though Langley was not the first ship with an installed flight-deck, this one launching was of monumental importance to the modern U.S. Navy. The era of the aircraft carrier was born introducing into the Navy what was to become the vanguard of its forces in the future. With Langley underway 9 days later, Lt. Cmdr. G. DeC. Chevalier made the first landing in an Aeromarine. On November 18, Commander Whiting, at the controls of a PT, was the first aviator to be catapulted from a carrier's deck.

By January 15, 1923 USS Langley (CV 1) had begun flight operations and tests in the Caribbean for carrier landings. In June she steamed to Washington, D.C., to give a demonstration at a flying exhibition before civil and military dignitaries. She arrived in Norfolk June 13, and commenced training along the Atlantic coast and Caribbean which carried her through the end of the gear. In 1924 Langley participated in more maneuvers and exhibitions, and spent the summer at Norfolk for repairs and alterations, she departed for the west coast late in the year and arrived in San Diego November 29 to join the Pacific Battle Fleet.

For the next 12 years USS Langley operated off the California coast and Hawaii engaged in training fleet units, experimentation, pilot training, and tactical-fleet problems. On October 25, 1936 she put into Mare Island Navy Yard, Calif., for overhaul and conversion to a seaplane tender. Though her career as a carrier had ended, her well-trained pilots proved invaluable to the next two carriers, USS Lexington and USS Saratoga.

Langley completed conversion February 26, 1937 and was reclassified AV 3 on April 11 she was assigned to Aircraft Scouting Force and commenced her tending operations out of Seattle, Sitka, Pearl Harbor, and San Diego. She departed for a brief deployment with the Atlantic Fleet from February 1st to July 10, 1939, and then steamed to assume her duties with the Pacific fleet at Manila arriving September 24th.

At the outbreak of World War II, USS Langley was anchored off Cavite, Philippine Islands. She departed December 8 and proceeded to Balikpapan, Borneo, and Darwin, Australia, where she arrived January 1, 1942. Until 11th, Langley assisted the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in running antisubmarine patrols out of Darwin. She was then assigned to American-British-Dutch-Australian forces assembling in Indonesia to challenge the Japanese thrust in that direction. She departed Fremantle, Australia, February 22 in convoy, and left the convoy 5 days later to deliver 32 P-40s to Tjilatjap, Java.

Early in the morning February 27, 1942, USS Langley rendezvoused with her antisubmarine screen, destroyers USS Whipple and USS Edsall. At 1140 nine twin-engine enemy bombers attacked her. The first and second Japanese strikes were unsuccessful but during the third Langley took five hits. Aircraft topside burst into flames, steering was impaired, and the ship took a 10 degree list to port. Unable to negotiate the narrow mouth of Tjilatjap Harbor, the seaplane tender went dead in the water as in-rushing water flooded her main motors. At 1332 the order to abandon ship was passed. The escorting destroyers fired nine 4-inch shells and two torpedoes into the old tender to insure her sinking. She went down about 75 miles south of Tjilatjap with a loss of 16.


With the advent of heavier-than-air flight, the aircraft carrier has become a decisive weapon at sea. The effectiveness of large aircraft carriers was demonstrated early in the war, when dozens of Japanese fighters and bombers, launched from aircraft carriers, decimated the U.S Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in late 1941. In May of 1942, aircraft from Japanese and U.S carriers battled at the Coral Sea, the first naval conflict where the opposing ships did not make contact. This battle resulted in the sinking of the Lexington. The Japanese Navy also took heavy losses, most notably at the Battle of Midway in June 1942. There they lost four carriers and hundreds of airplanes&mdashits naval power declined steadily after that. By contrast, ship production in the U.S accelerated dramatically in 1944 and 1945, when dozens of aircraft carriers (and other ships) were completed. Most came too late to make a major difference in the war, and many ships on order were cancelled at the end of the war in mid-1945.

USS LANGLEY (CV-1) - Sunk on February 22, 1942. It seems almost fitting that the first U.S. Navy carrier was the first to be sunk in World War II. LANGLEY had originally been a collier but was converted to a carrier in March of 1922. She was the test carrier from which all U.S. Navy carriers came. She was sunk 75 miles off of Tjilapjap, Java. Three waves of nine Aichi D3A1 "Val" dive bombers of the Japanese 21st and 23rd Naval Air Flotillas attacked her. She was struck by 5 bomb hits, she was badly damaged, and took a 10 degree list. She was abandoned due to her desparate situation and she had to be scuttled by her US destroyers escorts with nine 4 in (100 mm) shells and two torpedoes. She was just one of the many victims of the Battle of the Java Sea. 16 of her men went to the bottom with her.

The U.S. seaplane tender USS Langley (AV-3) is torpedoed following fatal bomb damage from Japanese dive bombers, south of Java, 27 February 1942. The photo was taken from the destroyer USS Whipple (DD-217) [Via Wikipedia]

USS LEXINGTON (CV-2) - Sunk May 8, 1942. She was torpedoed by Japanese B5Ns and hit by Japanese D3As during the Battle of the Coral Sea. The great aircraft carrier seemed to stay steady after being struck by two torpedoes and two bombs. The crew managed to get the fires under control and all seemed to be well. Suddenly, a series of explosions ripped through the ship when the vapers of her fuel supply ignited. The ship was abandoned in late afternoon, and the USS Destroyer Phelps was ordered to sink the ship and fired a total of five torpedoes. Immediately after the last torpedo hit, Lexington, down by the bow but nearly on an even keel finally sank. Some 216 crewmen were killed and 2,735 were evacuated. Thus ended the career of one of the most remarkable aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy. She was nicknamed "Lady Lex".

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2), burning and sinking after her crew abandoned ship during the Battle of Coral Sea, 8 May 1942. Note planes parked aft, where fires have not yet reached [Via Wikipedia]

USS YORKTOWN (CV-5) - Sunk June 8, 1942. Bombed and torpedoed during the Battle of Midway. On June 4, the Yorktown was bombarded twice by Japanese "Vals" and torpedoed by Japanese "Kates" operating off of the Japanese aircraft carrier Hiryu. (the only surviving Japanese carrier of four, but it was also sunk that day) During the first attack she was struck by 5 bombs. During the second attack, however, two torpedoes found their mark, seriously damaging the carrier. The crew was evacuated by order of Captain Buckmaster but the carrier did not go down. She began to drift and a recovery team was able to board her on June 5, but she was not to be saved. They had a carefully predetermined plan of action to be carried out by men from each department&mdashdamage control, gunnery air engineering, navigation, communication, supply and medical. To assist in the work, USS Hammann was brought alongside to starboard, aft, furnishing pumps and electric power. Unknown to Yorktown and the six nearby destroyers, Japanese submarine I-168 had achieved a favorable firing position. The Yorktown was finished off on June 8 when struck by 3 of 4 torpedoes fired by the Japanese submarine. The destroyer USS Hammann, which was providing power to the crippled carrier, was struck by the 4th torpedo and was lost with virtually all hands.

USS Yorktown (CV-5) is hit on the port side, amidships, by a Japanese Type 91 aerial torpedo during the mid-afternoon attack by planes from the carrier Hiryu, in the Battle of Midway, on 4 June, 1942. Yorktown is heeling to port and is seen at a different aspect than in other views taken by USS Pensacola (CA-24), indicating that this is the second of the two torpedo hits she received. Note very heavy anti-aircraft fire [Via Wikipedia]

USS WASP (CV-7) - Sunk September 15, 1942. Torpedoed during the Battle of Guadalcanal. A spread of six Type 95 torpedoes were fired at Wasp from the tubes of the B1 Type submarine I-19. Wasp put over her rudder hard to starboard to avoid the salvo, but it was too late.The carrier was hit by 2 torpedoes fired from the Japanese submarine. The fire spread quickly and got out of control. After little more than an hour she had to be abandoned. She continued to burn for 3 hours and was eventually sunk by U.S. destroyer Lansdowne. 193 men had died and 366 were wounded during the attack. All but one of her 26 airborne aircraft made a safe trip to carrier Hornet nearby before Wasp sank, but 45 aircraft went down with the ship. Other US destroyers kept I-19 busy avoiding 80 depth charges, but I-19 escaped safely.

The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-7) burning after receiving three torpedo hits from the Japanese submarine I-19 east of the Solomons, 15 September 1942 [Via Wikipedia]

USS HORNET (CV-8) - Sunk October 26, 1942. Torpedoed during the Battle of Santa Cruz in the Solomon Islands. She was struck by 2 torpedoes launched by Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo planes, which seriously damaged the electrical systems and engines. At almost the same moment a pilot of a crippled Aichi D3A "Val" dive bomber became one of the first Kamikaze of the war when the pilot deliberately crashed into Hornet's port side near the bow. With power knocked out to her engines, Hornet was unable to launch or land aircraft forcing its aviators to either land on Enterprise or ditch in the ocean. Her fires were under control and repair crews were on the verge of restoring power, but there was an new attack by nine Japanese Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo planes from the carrier Junyo. Eight of these aircraft were either shot down or failed to score hits but the ninth planted a torpedo into Hornet's starboard side which proved to be the fatal blow. The torpedo hit destroyed the repairs to the electrical system and caused a 14 degree list. She was damaged her beyond repair. After being informed that Japanese surface forces were approaching and that further towing efforts were futile, Vice Admiral William Halsey ordered Hornet sunk, and an order of "abandon ship" was issued. In the afternoon the crew was taken off. But the final "coup de grace" was administered later in the day by The Japanese destroyers, Makigumo and Akigumo, which finally finished off Hornet with four 24-inch (610 mm) Long Lance torpedoes. On 27 October, Hornet was finally sunk with the loss of 140 of her sailors.

Hornet, severely listing, is abandoned by her crew at about 17:00 on October 26, 1942 [Via Wikipedia]

USS PRINCETON (CVL-23) - Sunk October 23, 1944. Bombed during the Battle of Leyte Gulf near the Philippines. A highly skilled, lone Japanese pilot placed a bomb squarely between 6 armed torpedo bombers being readied for takeoff on the flight deck. The Yokosuka D4Y 'Judy' dive bomber dropped a single bomb, which struck the carrier between the elevators, punching through the flight deck and hangar before exploding. Although structural damage was minor, a fire broke out as a result of the hit it quickly spread due to burning gasoline and caused further explosions. Cruisers and destroyers came alongside to provide assistance. USS Irwin (DD-794) approached and attempted to fight the fire in the forward section of the hangar deck. The cruiser USS Birmingham (CL-62), being the largest ship (and sharing the same light cruiser hull as the Princeton) took the lead role in fire fighting. The rough seas caused the Princeton to collide with and damage the assisting ships. PRINCETON crews fought to save the ship, but by mid-afternoon, fires reached the torpedo storage areas and a second and larger explosion shook the Princeton. The Birmingham suffered extensive damage and the carrier had to be abandoned. Irwin was also damaged, but stayed close and launched boats to rescue survivors from the sea. Irwin rescued .Princeton.Three minutes later an even larger explosion occurred on Princeton, destroying the entire forward section and sending flames and debris up to 1000&ndash2000 feet into the air.

USS Birmingham (CL-62) comes alongside the burning USS Princeton (CVL-23) to assist with fire fighting, 24 October 1944 [Via Wikipedia]

USS LISCOMB BAY (CVE-56) - Sunk November 24, 1943. Torpedoed off of the Gilbert Islands during Operation Galvanic. At 5 A.M. two torpedoes launched from the Japanese submarine I-175 struck almost simultaneously. At least one struck abaft the after engine room, near the bomb stowage compartment and this meant that every bomb there exploded simultaneously. Men, planes and fragments of steel from the ship went high in the air. So high that the USS NEW MEXICO, which was traveling nearly a mile behind her, was showered with everything from plating to pieces of bodies and clothing. The whole after portion of the ship vanished. Immediately the ship was aflame from bow to stern, and one blast followed another as some bit of explosive or gasoline was found by the fires. All together 217 men were rescued. 591 enlisted men and 53 officers went down with the ship. Third Class Dorie Miller, the first black sailor to win the Navy Cross for his actions during the Pearl Harbor attack was killed aboard this ship. Of the 916 crewmen, only 272 were rescued by Morris, Hughes and Hull. The culprit, Japanese submarine I-175, escaped.

Burial at sea aboard the Leonard Wood of twoLiscome Bay sailors, victims of the submarine attack by I-175. Foreground facing ceremony are survivors ofLiscome Bay. Ship in background is Neville carrying remainder of the survivors [Via Wikipedia]

USS BLOCK ISLAND (CVE-21) - Sunk May 29, 1944. Torpedoed off the Canary Islands at 20:13 on 29 May 1944. U-549 had slipped undetected through her screen. The submarine put three torpedoes into the carrier before being sunk herself by Eugene E. Elmore and Ahrens of the screen. The carrier lost 6 men in the attack the remaining 951 were picked up by the escort screen.

USS Block Island (CVE-21) shortly after leaving Norfolk, October 15, 1943, on her first anti-submarine cruise, with aircraft from Composite Squadron 1 (VC-1) on deck&mdash9 FM-1 Wildcats (forward) and 12 TBF-1C Avengers [Via Wikipedia]

USS GAMBIER BAY (CVE-73) - Sunk October 25, 1944. Sunk by naval gunfire off of the Philippines during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. A small band of "jeep carriers" of "Taffy 3" came up against a much larger task force of Japanese ships, the still dangerous Center Force&mdashconsisting of four battleships, six heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and 11 destroyers. Leyte was hardly a carrier battle, but the stand of the "jeep carriers" off of Samar showed how much punishment the little ships could take. Their air groups were armed for softening up beach obstacles and strongpoints, not battleships and heavy cruisers, but their pilots made dummy runs at the Japanese ships. Gambier Bay was fired on and hit by multiple Japanese ships. Gambier Bay&primes lone 5 in (130 mm) gun fired at an enemy cruiser that was shelling her, and the destroyers Heermann and Johnston made an unsuccessful effort to save her. Gambier Bay on fire. Around 08:20, Gambier Bay was severely damaged by an 8 in (200 mm) shell from the Japanese Heavy Cruiser Chikuma which flooded her forward engine room, cutting her speed in half. Gambier Bay was soon dead in the water. Gambier Bay and other ships of "Taffy 3"&mdashaided by planes of "Taffy 2"&mdashhad stopped the powerful Japanese Center Force and inflicted significant losses. Two enemy cruisers were sunk, and much damage was inflicted on the other ships. Overall, the overwhelmingly powerful Japanese surface fleet had been turned back by the escort carriers and their screen of destroyers and destroyer escorts.

Gambier Bay (CVE-73) under Japanese fire during the Battle of Samar. The smudge in the upper right corner is a Japanese heavy cruiser [Via Wikipedia]

USS ST LO (CVE-63) - Sunk October 25, 1944. Bombed during the Battle of Leyte Gulf off of Samar Island, Philippines. St. Lo was sunk the same day as the Gambier Bay. At 10:47, the task unit came under a concentrated air attack by the Shikishima Special Attack Unit. During the 40&ndashminute engagement with enemy kamikazes, all the escort carriers except Fanshaw Bay were damaged. One Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero&mdashperhaps flown by Lieutenant Yukio Seki&mdashcrashed into the flight deck of St. Lo at 10:51. Its bomb penetrated the flight deck and exploded on the port side of the hangar deck, where aircraft were in the process of being refueled and rearmed. A gasoline fire erupted, followed by six secondary explosions, including detonations of the ship's torpedo and bomb magazine. St. Lo was engulfed in flame and sank 30 minutes later. Of the 889 men aboard, 113 were killed or missing and approximately 30 others died of their wounds. The survivors were rescued from the water by Heermann, John C. Butler, Raymond, and Dennis. It was a terrible day for the U.S. Navy.

The first major explosion following the impact of the Kamikaze aircraft has created a fireball that has risen to about 300 feet above the flight deck. The largest object above that fireball is the aft aircraft elevator, which was hurled to a height of about 1,000 feet by this first explosion. In this photo it is about 800 feet high [Via Wikipedia]

USS OMMANEY BAY (CVE-79) - Sunk January 4, 1945. Sunk by a Kamikaze off of Mindoro, Philippines. A twin-engine Japanese suicide plane penetrated the screen undetected and made for Ommaney Bay. The plane nicked her island then crashed into her starboard side. Two bombs were released one of them penetrated the flight deck and detonated below, setting off a series of explosions among the fully gassed planes on the forward third of the hangar deck. The second bomb passed through the hangar deck, ruptured the fire main on the second deck, and exploded near the starboard side. Men struggling with the terrific blazes on the hangar deck soon had to abandon it because of the heavy black smoke from the burning planes and exploding .50 caliber ammunition. By 17:50 the entire topside area had become untenable, and the stored torpedo warheads threatened to go off at any time. The order to abandon ship was given. At 19:45 the carrier was sunk by a torpedo from the destroyer Burns. A total of 95 Navy men were lost, including two killed on an assisting destroyer when torpedo warheads on the carrier's hangar deck finally went off.

USS Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) (right) under attack [Via Wikipedia]

USS BISMARK SEA (CVE-95) - Sunk February 21, 1945. On 16 February, she arrived off Iwo Jima to support the invasion. Struck by two Kamikazes off of Iwo Jima. The planes set off uncontrollable fires and exploding ammunition. Two Japanese kamikazes hit the Bismarck Sea, first on the starboard side under the first 40 mm gun (aft), crashing through the hangar deck and striking the ship's magazines. The fire was nearly under control when the second plane struck the aft elevator shaft, exploding on impact and destroying the fire fighting salt water distribution system, thus preventing any further damage control. Due to the great explosions the ship was abandoned and sank beneath the waves in 90 minutes. The USS Bismarck Sea sank with the loss of 318 men, and was the last US Navy aircraft carrier to be lost during World War II. Three destroyers and three destroyer escorts rescued survivors over the next 12 hours, between them saving a total of 605 officers and men from her crew of 923. Survivors were then transferred to Dickens and Highlands.

Large explosion on board USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) during the night of February 21, 1945. She was struck by two Kamikazes within two minutes of each other, while she was taking part in the Iwo Jima operation. She sank as a result of her damage. Photographed from USS Saginaw Bay (CVE-82) [Via Wikipedia]


World War II

During the first half of January 1942, Langley aided the Royal Australian Air Force in conducting anti-submarine patrols out of Darwin. Receiving new orders, the ship sailed north later that month to deliver 32 P-40 Warhawks to Allied forces at Tjilatjap, Java and to join American‑British‑Dutch‑Australian forces gathering to block the Japanese advance into Indonesia. On February 27, shortly after meeting with its antisubmarine screen, the destroyers USS Whipple and USS Edsall, Langley was attacked by a flight of nine Japanese G4M "Betty" bombers.

Successfully evading the first two Japanese bombing runs, the ship was hit five times on the third, causing the topsides to burst in to flames and the ship to develop a 10-degree list to port. Limping towards Tjilatjap Harbor, Langley lost power and was unable to negotiate the mouth of the harbor. At 1:32 PM, the ship was abandoned and the escorts moved into sink the hulk to prevent its capture by the Japanese. Sixteen of Langley's crew were killed in the attack.