USS Randolph (CV-15)
Randolph was commissioned in October of 1944 and was built at Newport News, Virginia. The ship was a 27,000-ton aircraft carrier in the Ticonderoga class. The ship began combat in February of 1945. The mission supported the invasion of Iwo Jima and was to attack targets in Japanese islands and the Bonins.
On March 11, 1944, the ship was hit by a suicide plane and lost 25 crewmembers. The ship was repaired and back on duty by April, and remained active until May of 1945 during the Okinawa campaign. During this time, it served as the Task Force 58 flagship.
During the rest of that summer and the Pacific War, Randolph was responsible for launching attacks against enemy islands. In September, the ship returned and became part of the Atlantic Fleet. For the rest of 1945, she was responsible for two trips to bring servicemen home from the Mediterranean.
During 1946 and 1947, the ship was used for training purposes and was decommissioned in February of 1948. The ship was modernized in 1955-56 and put back into commission for anti-submarine support, training, space shuttle support, and for the Cuban missile crisis. The ship was again decommissioned in 1969, removed from the Naval Vessel Register in 1973, and then sold for scrapping in May of 1975.
USS RANDOLPH (CV-15)
The second Randolph (CV-15) was laid down 10 May 1943 by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.
Va.; launched 28 June 1944
sponsored by Mrs. Guy M. Gillette
and commissioned 9 October 1944
Capt. Felix Baker in command.
Following shakedown off Trinidad
Randolph got underway for the Panama Canal and the Pacific. On 31 December she reached San Francisco where Air Group 87 was detached and Air Group 12 reported on board for 4 months duty.
On 20 January Randolph departed San Francisco
for Ulithi whence she sortied
with TF 58. She launched attacks 16 and 17 February against Tokyo airfields and the Tachikawa engine plant. The following day she made a strike on the isl
and of Chichi Jima. On 20 February
she launched three aerial sweeps in support of ground forces invading Iwo Jima and two against Haha Jima. During the next 4 days further strikes hit Iwo Jima and combat air patrols were flown almost continuously. Three
sweeps against airfields in the Tokyo area and one against Hachijo Jima followed on 25 February before the carrier returned to Ulithi.
Riding at anchor at Ulithi 11 March
a kamikaze "Frances
" a twin-engine bomber
hit Randolph on the starboard side aft just below the flight deck
killing 25 men and wounding 106. Repaired at Ulithi
Randolph joined the Okinawa Task Forc
e 7 April. Combat air patrols were flown daily until 14 April
when strikes were sent against Okinawa
and Kakeroma Island. The following day
an air support mission of fighters
and torpedo planes hit Okinawa and a fighter sweep struck
an airfield in southern Kyushu. Under daily air attack from 17 April on
Randolph continued to send her aircraft on CAP and support missions throughout the month.
During May planes from the carriers hit the Ryukyus and southern Japan
Kikai-Amami Island naval base and airfields and Kyushu airfields. Becoming flagship TF 58 on 15 May Randolph continued her support of the occupation of Okinawa Shima until 2
when she retired via Guam to the Philippines.
On her next war cruise
as a part of Admiral Halsey's famed 3d Fleet
Randolph made a series of strikes up and down the Japanese home islands. With Air Group 16 replacing Air Group 12
the ship launched eight raids on 10 July against airfields i
n the Tokyo area
principally those on the peninsula east of Tokyo Bay. On the 14th
her planes struck the air-fields and shipping in and near Tsugaru Strait. In this attack two of the important Honshu-Hokkaido train ferries were sunk and three were damag
ed. Attacks on the Japanese home islands continued for the next few days
on 18 July
Nagato lying camouflaged alongside a pier at the Yokosuka Naval Base
was bombed. 
Randolph and other carriers were off the coast of Shikoku
for an antishipping sweep of the Inland Sea
during which the carrier-battleship Hyuga was heavily damaged and airfields and industrial installations on
and Shikoku were hit hard. Randolph's pilots estimated that
from 10 to 25 July they had destroyed 25 to 30 ships
ranging in size from small luggers to a 6
and had damaged 35 to 40 others. Randolph's stri
kes continued right up to the morning of the 15 August surrender
when her planes hit Kisarazu Airfield and surrounding installations.
Following the end of the war
Randolph headed home. Transiting the Panama Canal in late September
she arrived at Norfolk
where she was rigged for the "Magic Carpet" service. Before the end of the year
she completed two trips to th
e Mediterranean area to return American servicemen. Then
she became a training ship for reservists and midshipmen
and made a Mediterranean cruise in the latter half of the year. After another voyage to the Caribbean
she embarked midshipmen in
the early summer of 1947 for a cruise to northern European waters. Randolph was placed out of commission
25 February 1948
and berthed at Philadelphia.
Reclassified CVA-15 on 1 October 1952
Randolph recommissioned 1 July 1953. After shakedown off Guantanamo Bay with Carrier Air Group 10
she took on Carrier Air Group 14
departed Norfolk for the Mediterranean
and joined the 6th Fleet on 3 Feb
ruary 1954. Deployed to the Mediterranean for 6 months of Fleet and NATO exercises during 1954 and 1955
Randolph entered the Norfolk Navy Yard 18 June 1955 for installation of an angled deck and other modernization.
Leaving the yard in January 1956
Randolph conducted air operations off the east coast for the next 6 months
and was the first Atlantic-Fleet carrier to launch a Regulus guided missile from her flight deck.
On 14 July 1956
Randolph again steamed east for a 7-month tour of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. When Israel
and France invaded the United Arab Republic in October of that year
Randolph stood ready. Operating ne
ar the Suez Canal
her aircraft provided air cover and surface and air reconnaissance for the evacuation of U.S. nationals from Alexandria. She returned to the United States 19 February 1957.
After a few months operating off the east coast
Randolph deployed to the Mediterranean again 1 July 1957. Between August and December
as political turmoil in Syria threatened to further disturb the already turbulent Mideast
she patrolled the
eastern Mediterranean. Back in the United States on 24 February 1958
the flattop made her 5th Mediterranean deployment 2 September 1958 to 12 March 1959.
Randolph was reclassified CVS-15 on 31 March 1959
and conducted ASW operations off the east coast throughout that year and the next
receiving her fourth Battle Efficiency "E" m a row in September 1960. After overhaul at Norfolk Randolph
sailed for operations in the Caribbean and served as the recovery ship for Astronaut Virgil Grissom on America's second manned space flight
a suborbital shot. In February 1962
Randolph was the primary recovery ship for Astronaut John Glenn on hi
the first American orbital voyage in space. After his historic three-orbit flight
he landed safely near destroyer Noa from which he was transferred
In the summer of 1962
Randolph again steamed to the Mediterranean. Returning to the western Atlantic as the Cuban missile crisis broke
she operated in the Caribbean from the end of October through November. After a Norfolk overhaul
h resumed her station in the Atlantic. During the next 5 years she made two Mediterranean cruises and a northern European cruise
while spending most of her time off the east coast and in the Caribbean.
On 7 August 1968
the Defense Department announced that it would inactivate Randolph and 49 other ships to reduce fiscal expenditures in 1969. Randolph was placed out of commission
berthed at Philadelphia
13 February 1969
here she remained until 1 June 1973 when she was stricken from the Navy list.
Randolph earned three battle stars for World War II service.
[Note: The above USS RANDOLPH (CV-15) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS RANDOLPH (CV-15) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]