Prepared by:   Public Information Office


Prepared by:   Public Information Office

On August 16, 1777, one of the most historic battles Of the Revolutionary War took place near Bennington, Vermont.

Nearly 170 years later, the keel of a huge aircraft Carrier was laid at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York. The Carrier was named in commemoration of the battle and Christened the USS BENNINGTON on February 26, 1944.

Immediately following commissioning ceremonies, the Ship started on her shakedown cruise bound for the Gulf of Paria.

One month later "Big Benn" was back at Norfolk, Virginia Where she underwent a final yard period prior to shoving Off for the war zone. The next several months saw BENNINGTON Operating at sea in the vicinity of the Canal Zone and on The first day of 1945 she went through the Panama Canal and Headed for the Pacific.

After joining the Pacific Fleet, BENNINGTON'S first Heavy encounter with the enemy came on February 19, 1945 When its air group flew continuous beach-head support strikes Over Iwo Jima, where invasion landings were in progress.

The next big strike to materialize took place at Okinawa where, on March 1st, she attacked several medium Sized ships along with Army ground installations. BENNINGTON'S air group up to this time had shot down 19 Japanese Planes and damaged 22 others. More than a dozen airfields Were bombed, hangers destroyed and gunnery emplacements Blasted.

Two days later, in an attack lasting three days, 57 Enemy planes were shot down or destroyed by strafing while Another 35 were counted as damaged by BENNINGTON aircraft.

On the morning of March 23, a small convoy of three Cargo ships and two destroyers was spotted heading for Okinawa. BENNINGTON'S planes were dispatched to the scene And succeeded in sinking the entire convoy.

April 1, 1945, Easter Sunday, marked the invasion of Okinawa. Big Benn, along with a huge amphibious force, Began an air support operation, which was to continue for 70 days. During that time BENNINGTON pilots alone accounted for 65 Japanese aircraft with the loss of only one of the air group planes.

The worst damage BENNINGTON suffered was at the hands Of nature. The ship had been steaming for 24 hours in Order to avoid a typhoon but at day break of June 5 she Was overtaken.

High winds and waves flooded the forward passageways And living spaces. The powerful seas buckled a 35-foot Section of the flight deck and both catapults were put out Of commission. Despite the damage, BENNINGTON launched A fighter sweep over a Japanese airfield on June 6. That Evening she headed into Leyte Gulf for storm repairs.

On the morning of July 1, BENNINGTON was again in Condition for fighting. With a new air group aboard she Joined a large convoy and conducted raids on three Tokyo Airfields. BENNINGTON planes were estimated to have damaged Or destroyed 98 enemy aircraft.

The weeks that followed saw BENNINGTON planes unleashing attack after attack on shipping, airfields and Other installations. Finally, the end of the war came But BENNINGTON remained in the forward area until she returned to Pearl Harbor October 29, 1945.

From Pearl Harbor the attack aircraft carrier made Its way back to San Francisco and continued light operations For several months.

In mid-April she passed through the Panama Canal and Arrived at Norfolk, Virginia on April 22. A short trip to Unload ammunition was the last for the Big Benn. She was added To the "mothball fleet" on November 8, 1946.

In 1950 her reconversion commenced at the Naval Ship Yard, Brooklyn, New York. Two years later she was recommissioned and after a shakedown cruise at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and a midshipman cruise to Halifax, Nova Scotia, BENNINGTON took part in a NATO maneuver off the British Isles along with 369 other vessels.

Five months duty with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean followed before the carrier returned to the States In February 1954.

On May 26, 1954 while steaming from Norfolk, Virginia To her home port, Quonset Point, Rhode Island, BENNINGTON Experienced one of the worst sea disasters of modern times.

A series of explosions rocked the ship killing 103 men And injuring 100 others. The officers and crew of BENNINGTON were commended and widely acclaimed for the outstanding manner in which they met this peacetime tragedy.

The ship then entered the New York Navy Shipyard for Damage repair and modernization. While in the yards she Was fitted with an angled flight deck which enables her to Launch and receive aircraft at the same time and with Greater safety. An enclosed or hurricane bow was also included in the modernization plans. This new type bow Affords the flight deck greater protection from heavy seas In addition to giving the ship a more sleek appearance.

Upon completion of the yard period, April 1, 1955, BENNINGTON left for a shakedown cruise in Cuba and returned To the New York area in July for a month's duration. Several Weeks were spent at sea before the carrier arrived at Mayport, Florida to make final preparations for joining the Pacific Fleet.

On September 9, BENNINGTON departed Mayport and began The long trip around South America, stopping at several Latin American ports before arriving in San Diego, October 20.

After a ten-day stopover at San Diego, her new home Port, she departed for the Far West to once more take her Place with the Pacific Fleet.


Length of the Flight Deck....... 871 Feet
Extreme width......... 150 Feet
Combat-Loaded Displacement....... 42,000 tons
Highest Point Above Water Line....... 195 Feet
Fuel Oil Capacity........ 1,513,000 Gallons
Fresh Water Capacity........ 148,000 Gallons
Speed........ Excess of 30 knots

Prepared by:   Public Information Office
             USS BENNINGTON (CVA-20)

The above information was scanned and forwarded;
But because it was difficult to read, it had to be retyped.
It has been retyped just as it was (in its original format).
It was sent in by James Brusa and retyped by Joe Pires - SK3
(nothing has been changed - all grammar errors, etc. remain just as they were)


Site Created By: