(CV-4: dp. 14,500; 1. 769'; b. 81'8"; cw. 86'; dr. 19'8"; s.29.25 k.; cpl. 1,788; a. 8 5"; cl. Ranger)
The sixth Ranger (CV-4), the first ship of the Navy to be designed andbuilt from the keel up as an aircraft carrier, was laid down 26 September1931 bv Newport News Shipbuilding & DryDock Co., Newport News, Va.;launched 25 February 1933; sponsored by Mrs. Herbert Hoover; and commissionedat the Norfolk Navy Yard 4 June 1934, Capt. Arthur L. Bristol in command.
Ranger conducted her first air operations off Cape Henry 6 August 1934and departed Norfolk the 17th for a shakedown training cruise that tookher to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Montivideo. She returned to Norfolk4 October for operations off the Virginia Capes until 28 March 1935, whenshe sailed for the Pacific. Transiting the Panama Canal on 7 April, shearrived San Diego on the 15th. For nearly 4 years she participated in fleetproblems reaching to Hawaii, and in western seaboard operations that tookher as far south as Callao, Peru, and as far north as Seattle, Wash. On4 January 1939, she departed San Diego for winter fleet operations in theCaribbean out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She then steamed north to Norfolk,Va., arriving 18 April.
Ranger cruised along the eastern seaboard out of Norfolk and into theCaribbean Sea. In the fall of 1939, she commeneed Neutrality Patrol operations,operating out of Bermuda along the trade routes of the middle Atlantic andup the eastern seaboard up to Argentia, I\ewfoundland. She was returningto Norfolk from an ocean patrol extending to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, whenthe Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Arriving Norfolk 8 December, she sailedon the 21st for patrol in the South Atlantic. She then entered the NorfolkNavy Yard for repairs 22 March 1942.
Ranger served as flagship of Rear Adm. A. B. Cook, Commander, Carriers,Atlantic Fleet, until 6 April 1942, when he was relieved by Rear Adm. ErnestD. McWhorter, who also broke his flag in Ranger.
Steaming to Quonset Point, R.I., Ranger loaded 68 Army P-40 planes andmen of the Army's 33d Pursuit Squadron put to sea 22 April, and launchedthe Army squadron 10 May to land at Aeera, on the Gold Coast of Afriea.She returned to Quonset Point 28 May 1942, made a patrol to Argentia, thenstood out of Newport 1 July with 72 Army P-40 pursuit planes, which shelaunched off the coast of Africa for Aeera the 19th. After calling at Trinidad,she returned to Norfolk for local battle practice until 1 October, thenbased her training at Bermuda in company with four escort aircraft carriersthat had been newly converted from tankers to meet the need for naval airpower in the Atlantic.
The only large carrier in the Atlantic Fleet, Ranger led the task forcecomprising herself and four Sangomon-elass escort carriers that providedair superiority during the amphibious invasion of German dominated FrenehMoroceo which commenced the morning of 8 November 1942.
It was still dark at 0615 that day, when Ranger, stationed 30 miles northwestof Casablanea, began launching her aireraft to support the landings madeat three noints on the Atlantic coast of North Africa. Nine of her Wildcatsattacked the Rabat and Rabat-Sale airdromes, headquarters of the Frenehair forces in Moroceo. Without loss to themselves, they destroyed sevenplanes on one field, and 14 bombers on the other. Another flight destroyedseven planes on the Port Lyautey field. Some of Ranger's planes strafedfour Freneh destroyers in Casablanca Harbor while others strafed and bombednearby batteries.
The carrier launched 496 combat sorties in the 3-day operation. Her attackaircraft scored two direct bomh hits on the Freneh destroyer leader Albatros,eomplete]y wrecking her forward half and causing 300 casualties. They alsoattaeked French cruiser Primaugut as she sortied from Casablanca Harbor,dropped depth charges within lethal distance of two submarines, and knockedout coastal defense and antiaireraft batteries. They destroyed more than70 enemy planes on the ground and shot down 15 in aerial combat. But 16planes from Ranger were lost or damaged beyond repair. It was estimatedthat 21 light enemy tanks were immobilized and some 86 military vehiclesdestroyed-most of them troop carrying trucks.
Casablanca capitulated to the American invaders 11 November 1942 andRanger departed the Morocean coast 12 November, returning to Norfolk, Va.,on the 23d.
Following training in Chesapeake Bay, the carrier underwent overhaulin the Norfolk Navy Yard from 16 December 1942 to 7 February 1943. She nexttransported 75 P-40-L Army pursuit planes to Africa, arriving Casablancaon 23 February; then patrollod and trained T,ilots along the New Englandcoast steaming as far north as Halifax, Nova Seotia. Departing Halifax 11August, she joined the British Home Fleet at Seapa Flow, Scotland, 19 August,and patrolled the approaches to the British Isles.
Ranger departed Seapa Flow with the Home Fleet 2 October to attack Germanshipping in Norwegian waters. The objective of the force was the Norwegianport of Bodd. The tas} force reached launch position off Vestfjord beforedawn 4 October completely undetected. At 0618, Ranger launched 2tDauntlessdive bombers and an escort of eight Wildcat fighters. One division of divebombers attacked the 8,000-ton freighter LaRlata, while the rest continuednorth to attack a small German convoy. They severely damaged a 10,000-tontanker and a smaller troop transport. They also sank two of four small Germanmerchantmen in the Bodo roadstead.
A second Ranger attack group of 10 Avengers and six Wildcats destroyeda German freighter and a small coaster and bombed yet another troop-ladentransport. Three Ranger planes were lost to antiaircraft fire. On the afternoondf 4 October, Ranger was finally located by three German aircraft but hercombat air patrol shot down two of the enemy planes and chased off the third.
Ranger returned to Scapa Flow 6 October 1943. She patrolled with theBritish Seeond Battle Squadron in waters reaching to Ieeland, and then departedHvalfjord on 26 November, arriving Boston 4 December. On 3 January 1944,she became a training carrier out of Quonset Point, R.I. This duty was interrupted20 April when she arrived at Staten Island, N.Y., to load 76 P-38 fighterplanes together with Army, Navy, and Freneh Naval personnel for transportto Casablanea. Sailing 24 April, she arrived Casablanca 4 May. There sheunloaded Army aircraft destined for stateside repairs and embarked militarypassengers for the return to New York.
Touching at New York 16 May, Ranger then entered the Norfolk Navy Yardto have her flight deek strengthened and for installation of a new typecatapult, radar, and associated gear that provided her with a capacity fornight fighter intereeptor training. On 11 July 1944 she departed Norfolktransited the Panama Canal 5 days later, and embarked several hundred Armypassengers at Balboa for transportation to San Diego, arriving there 25Ju]y.
After embarking the men and aircraft of Night Fighting Squadron 102 andnearly a thousand marines, she sailed for Hawaiian waters 28 July, reachingPearl Harbor 3 August. During the next 3 months she conducted night carriertraining operations out of Pearl Harbor.
Ranger departed Pearl Harbor 18 October to train pilots for combat duty.Operating out of San Diego under Commander Fleet Air, Alameda, she continuedtraining air groups and squadrons along the California coast throughoutthe remainder of the war.
Departing San Diego 30 September 1945, she embarked civilian and militarypassengers at Balboa and then steamed for New Orleans, arriving 18 October.Following Navy Day celebrations there, she sailed 30 October for brief operationsat Pensscola. After calling at Norfolk, she entered the Philadelphia NavalShipyard 18 November for overhaul. She remained on the eastern seaboarduntil decommissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard 18 October 1946. Struckfrom the Navy list 29 October 1946, she was sold for scrap to Sun Shipbuilding& Drydock Co., Chester, Pa., 28 January 1947.
Ranger received two battle stars for World War II service.