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The USS PRINCETON (LPH-5), an Essex-class aircraft carrier, was commissioned on 18 NOV 1945, too late for action in world War II. At first with the Atlantic Fleet and then with the Pacific, PRINCETON steam on post-war deployments and then was decommissioned on 20 JUN 1948 and placed in reserve. Twenty six month later, in August 1959, PRINCE was recommissioned and off Korea by December. She made three combat deployments to Korean waters. In the 1950s she was successively classified as CV-37 - CVA-37 - CVS-37 and then LPH-5, a helicopter landing platform ship in March 1959. She first appeared in Vietnam in 1962, and returned for combat deployments through the 1960s. As her twilight approached, PRINCETON recovered Apollo 10 in 1969. USS PRINCETON served her country as LPH-5 for for more than 10 years until decommissioned on 30 JAN 1970.

The USS PRINCETON (LPH-5) deployment history and significant events of her service career follow:

LPH-5 Deployments - Major Events

Add a LPH-5 Shellback Initiation Add a LPH-5 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
SEP 1943 - Keel Date: 14 SEP 1943
at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
JUL 1945 - Launch Date: 8 JUL 1945
NOV 1945 - Commissioned: 18 NOV 1945
MAR 1959 - MAR 1959 Reclassified LPH-5
JAN 1960 - APR 1964 West Pac
JAN 1960 - APR 1964 West Pac
AUG 1960 - JAN 1964 I came aboard
JAN 1961 - JAN 1962 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1961 - JAN 1962 West Pac
MAY 1961 - DEC 1961 West Pac-Viet Nam
AUG 1961 - AUG 1964 West Pac-Viet Nam
SEP 1961 - MAY 1962 Virtnam Jan. 1962 & April 1962 I was with Marine Detachment
SEP 1961 - MAY 1962 West Pac
SEP 1961 - MAY 1962 West Pac-Viet Nam
DEC 1961 - JAN 1962 West Pac-Viet Nam
DEC 1961 - JAN 1962 MARINE B.L.T. DEC. 12 1961 SAIGON VIETNAM ?
JAN 1962 - JAN 1963 West Pac-Viet Nam
FEB 1962 - AUG 1962 Correction: Navy Yard Long Beach CA
FEB 1962 - DEC 1964 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAR 1962 - JUN 1962 West Pac-Viet Nam
APR 1962 - APR 1962 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAY 1962 - AUG 1962 Johnson Island Operation Dominic Spring and Summer of 1962
JUN 1962 - DEC 1963 West Pac-Viet Nam
SEP 1962 - NOV 1962 Flagship - Operation Dominic.
SEP 1962 - NOV 1962 Oct 2 '62 to Nov 3 '62 Johnston isle Last 2 hydrogen & 7 nuke's
FEB 1963 - APR 1963 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAR 1963 - APR 1963 West Pac-Viet Nam
APR 1963 - MAY 1963 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAY 1963 - JUN 1963 West Pac-Viet Nam
AUG 1963 - SEP 1963 West Pac-Viet Nam
AUG 1964 - DEC 1964 West Pac-Viet Nam
SEP 1964 - JUN 1965 West Pac
SEP 1964 - JUN 1965 West Pac-Viet Nam
OCT 1964 - DEC 1964 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAR 1965 - FEB 1966 West Pac-Viet Nam
FEB 1966 - SEP 1966 West Pac-Viet Nam
NOV 1966 - Shellback Initiation - 11 NOV 1966 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1967 - Shellback Initiation - 1 JAN 1967 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1967 - JUL 1967 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1967 - JAN 1968 West Pac
JAN 1967 - JUN 1967 Sailed up and river in south viet nam 17 miles
SEP 1967 - Shellback Initiation - 16 SEP 1967 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1968 - JAN 1969 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAY 1968 - DEC 1968 West Pac-Viet Nam
JUL 1968 - Shellback Initiation - 31 JUL 1968 - Pacific Ocean
AUG 1968 - DEC 1968 WESPAC
AUG 1968 - DEC 1968 DMZ Vietnam
AUG 1968 - DEC 1968 Wespac Vietnam
SEP 1968 - Shellback Initiation - 27 SEP 1968 - Pacific Ocean
SEP 1968 - Shellback Initiation - 16 SEP 1968 - Pacific Ocean
SEP 1968 - Shellback Initiation - 10 SEP 1968 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1969 - JAN 1969 Alaska
MAY 1969 - Shellback Initiation - 20 MAY 1969 - Pacific Ocean
SEP 1969 - NOV 1969 operation milrow/ uss princeton lph5 nuclear tests
OCT 1969 - DEC 1969 Alaska
JAN 1970 - Decommissioned: 30 JAN 1970

LPH-5 General Specifications

Class: Essex-class aircraft carrier

Named for: Battle of Princeton

Complement: 3448 Officers and Enlisted

Length: 888 feet

Draft: 28 feet 7 inches

Flank Speed: 33 knots


CV-37 was laid down as Valley Forge at the Philadelphia Navy Yard 14 September 1943 renamed Princeton 21 November 1944; launched 8 July 1945 sponsored by Mrs. Harold Dodds; and commissioned 18 November 1945 Capt. John M. Hoskin s in command.

Following shakedown off Cuba Princeton with Air Group 81 embarked remained in the Atlantic and operated with the 8th Fleet until June 1946. Then transferred to the Pacific Fleet she arrived at San Diego on the 31st and departed again 3 July to carry the body of Philippine President Manuel Queson back to Luzon for burial. From Manila Princeton joined the 7th Fleet in the Marianas becoming flagship of TF 77. During September and October she operated in Japanese and Chinese waters t hen returned t o the Marianas where she remained until February 1947. Maneuvers in Hawaiian waters preceded her return to San Diego until 15 March. She cruised the west coast Hawaiian waters and the western Pacific (1 October-23 December) during 1948. She then prepared for inactivation and on 20 June decommissioned and joined other capital ships in the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Reactivated with the outbreak of hostilities in Korea fifteen months later Princeton recommissioned 28 August 1950. Intensive training refreshed her reservist crew and on 5 December she joined TF 77 off the Korean coast her planes and pilots (A ir Group 19) making possible the reinstitution of jet combat air patrols over the battle zone. She launched 248 sorties against targets in the Hagaru area to announce her arrival and for the next six days continued the pace to support marines fighting t heir way down the long cold road from the Chosin Reservoir to Hungnam. By the 11th all units had reached the staging area on the coast. Princeton's planes with other Navy Marine and Air Force squadrons then covered the evacuation from Hungn am through its completion on the 24th.

Interdiction missions followed and by 4 April Princeton's planes had rendered 54 rail and 37 highway bridges inoperable and damaged 44 more. In May they flew against the railroad bridges connecting Pyongyang with Sunchon Sinanju Kachon and th e trans peninsula line. Next they combined close air support with raids on power sources in the Hwachon Reservoir area and with the stabilization of the front there resumed interdiction. For much of the summer they pounded supply arteries concentrat ing on highways and in August Princeton got underway for the United States arriving at San Diego on the 21st.

Eight months later on 30 April 1952 Princeton rejoined TF 77 in the combat zone. For 138 days her planes flew against the enemy. They sank small craft to prevent the recapture of offshore islands; blasted concentrations of supplies facilities and equipment behind enemy lines participated in air-gun strikes on coastal cities pounded the enemy's hydroelectric complex at Suiho on the Yalu to turn off power on both sides of that river destroyed gun positions and supply areas in Pyongyan; and closed mineral processing plants and munitions factories at Sindok Musan Aoji and Najin.

Reclassified CVA-37 (1 October 1952) Princeton returned to California 3 November for a two month respite from the western Pacific. In February 1953 she was back off the Korean coast and until the end of the conflict launched planes for close ai r support "Cherokee" strikes against supply artillery and troop concentrations in enemy territory and against road traffic. She remained in the area after the truce 27 July and on 7 September got underway for San Diego.

In January 1954 Princeton was reclassified CVS-37 and after conversion at Bremerton took up antisubmarine/ Hunter-Killer (HUK) training operations in the eastern Pacific. For the next five years she alternated HUK exercises off the west coast with similar operations in the western Pacific and in late 1957-early 1958 in the Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf area. Reclassified again 2 March 1959 she emerged from conversion as an amphibious assault carrier LPH-5. Capable of transporting a battalio n landing team and carrying helicopters in place of planes Princeton's mission became that of vertical envelopment--the landing of Marines behind enemy beach fortifications and providing logistics and medical support as they attack from the rear t o seize critic al points cut enemy supplies sever communications and link up with assault forces landed on the beaches.

From May until January 1960 Princeton trained with Marine units from Camp Pendleton then deployed to WestPac to train in Okinawan waters. For the next three years she followed a similar schedule gaining experience in her primary mission. Inte rruptions came in October 1961 when she rescued survivors of merchantmen Pioneer Muse and Sheik grounded on Daito Shima and in April 1962 when she delivered Marine Corps advisors and helicopters to Soc Trang in the Mekong Delta area of the Republic of South Viet Nam.

In October 1964 Princeton exchanged WestPac training for the real thing as she returned to Viet Nam and joined the Pacific Fleet's Ready Group in operations against North Viet-Namese and Viet Cong forces. Combat operations interrupted in Novemb er for flood relief work continued into the new year 1965 and culminated in May off Chu Lai as she carried out her primary mission vertical envelopment for the first time in combat.

Returning to her homeport Long Beach after that operation she transported Marine Air Group 36 to Viet Nam in August and in February 1966 got underway for another tour in the combat zone. Relieving Okinawa (LPH-3) as flagship for the Amphibiou s Ready Group she engaged the enemy in operations "Jackstay" 26 March- 6 April to clear the Rung Sat Special Zone of Viet Cong guerrillas and "Osage" 27 April-4 May to protect Viet-Namese in the Phu Loc area from Viet Cong "harassment."

Search and destroy missions against Viet Cong and North Viet-Namese Army units followed as Princeton provided transportation medical evacuation logistics and communication support for the amphibious operation "Deckhouse I" 18-27 June in the So ng Cau district and the Song Cai river valley then supported 1st Air Cavalry and 101st Airborne units engaged in "Nathan Hale" to the south of the "Deckhouse I" area. "Deckhouse II" and support for "Hastings" followed as Navy Marine and Army units aga in combined this time to impede enemy infiltration from the DMZ.

After "Hastings" Princeton sailed for home arriving 2 September. She deployed again to Viet Nam 30 January-19 June 1967 and again ranged along that long embattled highly indented coast. In March she assisted in countering an enemy threat t o the Marine artillery base at Gio Ling and evacuated wounded from Con Thien mountain. In April she participated in "Beacon Star" in the Khe Sanh area and supported search and destroy operations in conjunction with "Shawnee". In May her helicopters lifted Marines to the DMZ to block enemy forces withdrawing across the Ben Hai river.

A much needed overhaul followed Princeton's return to the west coast and in May 1968 she again sailed west to Viet Nam. There as flagship for Amphibious Ready Group Alpha she provided amphibious assault carrier services for operations "Fortress Attack" III and IV "Proud Hunter" "Swift Pursuit" and "Eager Hunter." In December she returned to the United States and in April 1969 she was designated the prime recovery ship for Apollo 10 the lunar mission which paved the way for Apollo 11 and t he firs t landing on the moon. Completing that mission successfully Princeton resumed exercises off the west coast.

Princeton received 8 battle stars for service during the Korean Conflict.

[Note: The above USS PRINCETON (LPH-5) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS PRINCETON (LPH-5) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]