History of USS Philippine Sea CVA-47

The following is a summary, prepared by Lawrence A. “Larry” Engels, from various sources including USS Philippine Sea CV-47 (published by Turner Publishing Company, 412 Broadway, PO Box 3101, Paducah, Kentucky 42002-3101, Tel: 270-443-0121) and internet sites. This summary was prepared to answer the inevitable question from former shipmates on the 1954 Cruise, “Whatever happened to the Phil Sea?”

It should also be noted that opening and dedication ceremonies were held on March 11, 2002, for the USS Philippine Sea CV-47 “Memory Room” on board the USS Hornet Naval Museum located at Pier 3 (former NAS Alameda) in Alameda, California.

Excerpts from USS Philippine Sea CV-47

Message from President of USS Philippine Sea Association:

The USS Philippine Sea as we served it was decommissioned on December 22, 1958, after twelve years of very active service. During these active 12 years, she logged in excess of 82,000 launches, including 33,575 catapult shots and a total of 82,813 landings.

In March 1971, Phil Sea was sold for scrap, and the ship was reduced to a “memory” for those who served on board.

The proud name of Philippine Sea was not forgotten, however. In April 1987, the proud name was bestowed on a new ship of the line at its launching - the Guided Missile Cruiser (CG-58). The CG-58 now carries on the proud tradition of the CV-57 - a different mission, a different concept, but with the same sense of accomplishment.

The veterans of the CV-47 are scattered throughout this great country - some doing what they did when they entered Naval Service - some have gone on to diverse fulfilling careers. We have farmers, doctors, lawyers, policemen, firemen, educators, and congressmen, just to name a few.

None of the very active Philippine Sea Association have ever said that they were not damn proud to have served on so great a ship and so great a team.

Both the Association and the Publisher than those contributors who have made this publication possible.

Chuck Davis
CPO, USN (Ret)

USS Philippine Sea History

On 19 August 1944, the Bethlehem Steel Company shipyard at Quincy, Massachusetts, laid the keel for CV-47, the next to last Essex-class aircraft carrier. On 5 September 1945, three days after Japan signed the surrender accords in Tokyo Bay, Philippine Sea was launched. Mrs. Albert B. “Happy” Chandler, wife of the Governor of Kentucky, christened the new carrier.

...Philippine Sea reclassified as an attack aircraft carrier, CVA-47, 1 October 1952....On 15 November 1955 she was reclassified CVA-47.

Only 12 years old, Philippine Sea was placed out of commission, in reserve 22 December 1958, and berthed at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. Inactivated without an overhaul, she was deemed to have no potential for operating high-performance aircraft without complete modernization. By the same token, because of her size, it was thought that she could only achieve restricted capability after modernization. She was accordingly designated as an auxiliary aircraft carrier transport AVT-11 effective 15 May 1959, along with three of her sisters, Franklin (AVT-8), Bunker Hill (AVT-9), and Leyte (AVT-10).

A decade later, the Navy again looked at Philippine Sea. By that point, however, she was an unimproved World War II axial deck aircraft carrier. To activate, repair, and modernize the ship to fulfill the mission of an antisubmarine warfare carrier would be an unprofitable venture of limited resources. Accordingly, the president of the Board of Inspection and Survey found Philippine Sea unfit for further Naval service, and recommended that she be stricken from the Naval Vessel Register. Deemed not essential to the defense of the United States, Philippine Sea was stricken 1 December 1969 and sold for scrap 23 March 1971 to Zidell Explorations, Inc., of Portland, Oregon.

The name Philippine Sea and the deeds of her men, however, have not been forgotten. On 9 June 1986, Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman, Jr., mindful of not only the significance of the 1944 battle but of the accomplishments of Phil Sea, assigned the name to a Ticonderoga-class (CG-47) guided missile cruiser that had been laid down at Bath Iron Works 8 May 1986. Launched 12 July 1987, the new Philippine Sea (CG-58) was delivered to the Navy early in 1989. The crew of this new warship should derive considerable pride from the accomplishments of her illustrious predecessor and crews who served their country so well.

The Deployments of the USS Philippine Sea (CV/CVA/CVS-47)

Shakedown 15 Oct-20 Nov 46/27 Mar-5 May 1947 CVG-20 (CVAG-9) Caribbean
(Included Antarctic cruise “Operation High Jump” 2 Jan-27 Feb 47)
1. 9 Feb-26 Jun 1948 CVAG-9 Mediterranean
2. 4 Jan-31 May 1949 CVG-7 Mediterranean
3. 24 Jul 50-26 Mar 1951 CVG-11 Korea
(3A) 28 Mar-9 Jun 1951 CVG-2 Korea
4. 31 Dec 51- 8 Aug 1952 CVG-11 Korea
5. 15 Dec 52-14 Aug 1953 CVG-9 Korea
6. 12 Mar-19 Nov 1954 CVG-5 WESTPAC
7. 1 Apr-23 Nov 1955 ATG-2 WESTPAC
8. 5 Jan-6 Aug 1957 WESTPAC
9. 13 Jan-15 Jul 1958 WESTPAC