USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CV-39)
The second Lake Champlain (CV-39) was laid down in drydock by the Norfolk Navy Yard
15 March 1943; launched by float 2 November 1944; sponsored 3 June 1945 by Mrs. Warren Austin
wife of Senator Austin of Vermont
ned the same day
Capt. Logan C. Ramsey in command.
After shakedown and visits to New York and Philadelphia
Lake Champlain was assigned to "Magic Carpet" duty
departed Norfolk for England 14 October
and arrived Southampton the 19th where she embarked veterans and returned them to New York
She set a speed record for crossing the Atlantic 26 November 1945 when she arrived at Hampton Roads
having completed a run from Cape Spartel
in 4 days
51 minutes. This record stood until surpassed by SS United States in the summer of 1952.
Lake Champlain retired to the "Mothball Fleet" at Norfolk
17 February 1947. After the United States had allowed her active military strength to shrink to the danger point
the Communists struck in Korea. Fortunately
we had ships in reserv
though it took time to obtain and train crews and provide materiel. Lake Champlain was reactivated and modernized at Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. and recommissioned 19 September 1952
Capt. G. T. Mundroff in command.
After shakedown in Cuban and Haitian waters
25 November through 25 December
the carrier departed Mayport
for Korea 26 April 1953 via the Red Sea
and China Sea
becoming the largest ship to transit the Suez Canal. She moored at Yo
9 June 1953.
As flagship of Carrier Task Force 77
she sailed from Yokosuka 11 June and arrived off western Korea 14 June. The carrier's air group immediately launched sorties cratering runways; assaulting enemy troops; attacking trenches
gun positions; an
d giving close air support to hard pressed ground forces. Her planes also escorted B-29 bombers on their way to enemy targets. Lake Champlain continued to strike at the enemy until the truce was signed 27 July. Relieved by Kearsarge (CVA-
33) 11 October
Lake Champlain headed toward the South China Sea arriving Singapore 24 October. Bidding farewell to the Pacific Ocean 27 October
she steamed toward home touching at Columbo
and Lisbon before arriving Mayport
4 December 1953.
In the years that followed
Lake Champlain made several cruises to the Mediterranean
participating with NATO forces. On 25 April 1957 she joined elements of the fleet in a high-speed run to the scene of tension in the Middle East
cruising in t
he vicinity of Lebanon and backing Jordan's stand against the threat of Communism. The swift and firm reaction averted a near catastrophe in the Middle East. Tension eased and Lake Champlain returned to Mayport 27 July. Converted to an antisubma
rine carrier an d reclassified (CVS-39) on 1 August
Lake Champlain trained off the eastern seaboard to master her new role. She departed Bayonne
8 February 1958 for a Mediterranean cruise returning 30 October to Mayport
Fla. After yard o
she departed f or the Mediterranean 10 June and visited Spain
before returning to Mayport 9 August.
The carrier operated off Florida and in the Caribbean until 15 June 1958 when she sailed on another Mediterranean cruise returning to her newly assigned home port
The carrier operated out of Quonset Point
until 29 June 1960 when she made a midshipmen cruise to Halifax
returning 12 August. Beginning 7 February
she made a cruise to the Caribbean
returning 2 March.
Lake Champlain was selected as the prime recovery ship for the first manned space flight. She sailed for the recovery area 1 May
and was on station on the 5th when Comdr. Alan Sheppard splashed down in spacecraft Freedom 7
some 300 miles down r
ange from Cape Kennedy. Helicopters from the carrier visually followed the descent of the capsule and were over the astronaut 2 minutes after the impact. They skillfully recovered Astronaut Sheppard and Freedom 7 and carried them safely to Lake <
I>Champlain's flight deck.
For the next year the ship operated along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean. In June 1962
she embarked Naval Academy midshipmen for a summer cruise to Halifax
Nova Scotia and Kingston
where she represented the United States at the isla
nd's celebration of its independence
On 24 October
Lake Champlain joined in a classic exercise of seapower--the quarantine of Cuba
where the Soviet Union was constructing bases for offensive missiles. To block this grave threat
U.S. warships deployed throughout the western Atlant
choking off the flow of military supplies to Cuba and enforcing American demands for the withdrawal of the Russian offensive missiles.
After the American demands were substantially complied with
Lake Champlain sailed for home 23 November
via St. Thomas
and arrived Quonset Point
4 December 1962. For the next few months the carrier was in New England wat
ers for operations and overhaul. In September 1963
while she was on a cruise to Guantanamo Bay
her training schedule was interrupted when she was ordered to Haiti to relieve distress caused by Hurricane "Jane." Her helicopters located homeless victims
and flew them food and medical supplies.
Lake Champlain returned to Quonset Point 9 November for operations in New England waters. She visited Bermuda briefly in spring of 1964 and steamed to Spain in the fall for landings near Huelva. She sailed 6 November from Barcelona for the Unite
touched at Gibraltar and arrived at Quonset Point the 25th. The first half of 1965
found the Lake Champlain performing training duties and conducting exercises up and down the East Coast. The last major duty of her career occurr
ed on 5 August when s he served as the primary recovery ship for Gemini 5. Soon after this duty was completed
she sailed to Philadelphia
where she commenced inactivation. She was decommissioned 2 May 1966.
[Note: The above USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CV-39) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CV-39) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]