Tag Archives: USS Independence (CVA-62)

165,000 tons of Rock & Roll, Ready for Their Close-up

30 Years Ago Today: A port beam view of Forrestal-class supercarriers, San Diego-homeported USS Ranger (CV-61) with Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) aboard, and her sister, the Japan-based USS Independence (CV-62) with CVW-5 embarked, underway in the Perian Gulf during Operation Southern Watch, a multinational effort establishing a no-fly zone for Iraqi aircraft south of the 32nd parallel in Saddam-era Iraq. Taken on 16 September 1992.

U.S. Navy photo DN-ST-93-00101by PH2 Andrew C. Heuer, via the National Archives.

Note the mix of F-14As (VF-154, VF-21), F-18Cs (VFA-192, VFA-195,), A-6Es (VA-115), SH-3Hs (HS-12), EA-6B Prowlers (VAQ-136), and S-3Bs (VS-21) aboard Indy and the similar complement of aircraft (sans Hornets) of VF-1, VF-2, VA-145, VA-155, VAQ-131, HS-14, and VS-38 on Ranger. These were some of the final deployments for the Tomcat, Intruder, Sea King, and Viking, who would be withdrawn within the next decade.

Indy, commissioned in 1959, had just finished filming Flight of the Intruder aboard prior to her deployment to the Gulf War and was decommissioned only six years after this image. Stricken in 2004, she has since been scrapped.

Ranger, commissioned in 1957, earned 13 battle stars for service during the Vietnam War, and like her sister, was a movie star, having been used to film scenes for Top Gun. She was decommissioned just a year after the above image was snapped, stricken the same day as Indy, and similarly scrapped.

CVW-5 endures, still based in Japan in association with the forward-deployed carrier named after a movie star– USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76).

Meanwhile, CVW-2 is attached to San Diego’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 and the flagship USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)– which due to her record of West Coast homeports has been a filming location for JAG, Crimson Tide, Behind Enemy Lines, and her own documentary series, 1995’s excellent Fortress at Sea.

One of these things is not like the Others

Two Forrestal-class supercarriers, (listed from bottom to top) USS Independence (CVA-62), and USS Saratoga (CVA-60), steaming alongside the Essex-class fleet carrier USS Intrepid (CVA-11). Underway in 1961, with crewmen paraded on deck in their whites to spell out commemorating the (then) 50th Birthday of Naval Aviation (8 May 1911).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Catalog #: NH 97716

While Indy and Sara were laid down in 1954 and 1952, respectively– making them just a couple years past shakedown when this image was snapped– the 80,000-ton, 1,070-foot leviathans were in a whole different league than the Fighting I who had joined the fleet just a decade prior to their keel laying.

Nonetheless, in a real sense of irony, the 40,000-ton, 872-foot Intrepid, who earned five battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation during World War II, and a further three battle stars for Vietnam service has outlived all of the Forrestals, berthed at Pier 86 on the Hudson River in New York City since 1982.

Further, she is still serving today in addition to her museum operations, hosting military events in the NYC area, and standing ready, as needed, for use as an Emergency Operations Center for the Big Apple, complete with a “secure space” installed in 2006 for FEMA and the like. It wouldn’t be the first time. Following Sept. 11th, she was home to the FBI’s response in the city for five weeks.

Interestingly, the Intrepid Museum recently announced the acquisition of a new aircraft to its collection, a Douglas F4D-1/F-6A Skyray. The exact aircraft, (BuNo 134836) acquired from the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Conn., previously flew from Intrepid in 1961– and is likely in the above image. The Skyray will be added to the Museum’s flight deck on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, becoming the 28th plane in the Museum’s aircraft collection.

Tapping in, 53 years ago today

(Abbreviated Warship Wednesday due to the holidays). 

USS Independence (CVA-62) (foreground) and USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) rendezvous in the Indian Ocean on 21 November 1965– OTD 53 years ago.

Photographed by PH3 E.R. Pomponio. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Catalog #: NH 97717

Independence was en route to Norfolk, Virginia, after six months on the line off Vietnam. Enterprise was headed for combat duty in Vietnamese waters.

Just two weeks later, on 2 December 1965, Enterprise became the first nuclear-powered warship to see combat when she launched air strikes at the Viet Cong near Biên Hòa, South Vietnam.