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CV 31 Bon Homme Richard

The second Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) was launched April 29, 1944 by the New York Navy Yard and was sponsored by Mrs. J. S. McCain, wife of Vice Adm. McCain. USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) was commissioned November 26, 1944 with Captain A. O. Rule, Jr., in command.

Bon Homme Richard departed Norfolk 19 March 1945 to join the Pacific Fleet and arrived at Pearl Harbor April 5, 1945. Following additional training in Hawaiian waters, the carrier joined TF 38 off Okinawa on June 6, 1945.

From June 7-10, she joined in the attacks on Okino Daito Jima and then served with the 3rd Fleet during air strikes against Japan (July 2 - August 15). She remained off Japan until September 16 and after a short training period off Guam, proceeded to San Francisco, arriving October 20. She left San Francisco October 29, 1945 and steamed to Pearl Harbor to undergo conversion for troop transport duty.

From November 8, 1945 to January 16, 1946 she made trans-Pacific voyages, returning servicemen to the United States. Bon Homme Richard then reported to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for inactivation and was placed out of commission in reserve on January 9, 1947.

Bon Homme Richard was recommissioned January 15, 1951 and on May 10, departed San Diego for the Far East. She joined TF 77 off Korea on May 29 and launched her first air strikes May 31. Bon Homme Richard continued operations with TF 77 until November 20, 1951. The carrier reached San Diego in mid-December and on May 20, 1952 was off again to the Far East. She joined TF 77 once more on June 23, 1952 and took part in the heavy strikes against a North Korean power complex from June 24 -25 and the amphibious feint at Kojo from October 12 - 16. She continued operations against North Korean targets until December 18, 1952 and then steamed to San Francisco where she arrived January 8, 1953.

Her classification was changed from CV-31 to CVA-31 on October 1, 1952. Bon Homme Richard went out of commission May 15, 1953 preparatory to modernization. When recommissioned September 6, 1955, she had an angled and strengthened flight deck, enclosed bow, enlarged elevators, and steam catapults. She completed her conversion period October 31, 1955 and commenced sea trials in the Alameda-San Diego area.

Recommissioned in September 1955, she began the first of a long series of Seventh Fleet deployments. The initial west coast deployment of a squadron equipped with the new Sidewinder missile was with Fighter Squadron 211, equipped with FJ-3s, aboard Bon Homme Richard in September 1956. On June 6, 1957, two F8U Crusaders and two A3D Skywarriors flew non-stop from Bon Homme Richard off the California coast to USS Saratoga (CVA 60) of the east coast of Florida. This, the first carrier-to-carrier transcontinental flight, was completed by the F8Us in 3 hours 28 minutes and by the A3Ds in 4 hours 1 minute.

Bon Homme Richard made additional western Pacific cruises in 1957, 1958-1959, 1959-60, 1961, 1962-63, and 1964, with the last including a voyage into the Indian Ocean. The ship entered the Indian Ocean on April 4, 1964 with the "Concord Squadron," composed of Bon Homme Richard, USS Shelton (DD 790), USS Blue (DD 744), USS Frank Knox (DD 742), and the fleet oiler USS Hassayampa (AO 145). The cruise lasted six weeks and went near Iran, the Arabian peninsula, down the African coast and into many ports along the way for goodwill visits.

The Vietnam war escalation in early 1965 brought Bon Homme Richard into a third armed conflict, and she deployed on five Southeast Asia combat tours over the next six years. Her aircraft battled North Vietnamese MiGs on many occasions, downing several, as well as striking transportation and infrastructure targets. Occasional excursions to other Asian areas provided some variety to her operations.

Bon Homme Richard was ordered inactivated at the end of her 1970 deployment. She decommissioned in July 1971, becoming part of the Reserve Fleet at Bremerton, Washington. The ship was stricken from the Navy List in 1989 and was sold for scrapping February 4, 1992.

Bon Homme Richard received one battle star for her World War II service and five battle stars for participation in the Korean conflict.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:47:31 ZULU