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Shangri-La file photo [32545]

Shangri-La

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassEssex-class Aircraft Carrier
Hull NumberCV-38
BuilderNorfolk Navy Yard
Ordered7 Aug 1942
Laid Down15 Jan 1943
Launched24 Feb 1944
Commissioned15 Sep 1944
Decommissioned30 Jul 1971
Displacement27,100 tons standard
Length888 feet
Beam93 feet
Draft28 feet
MachineryEight boilers, four Westinghouse geared steam turbines, four shafts
Power Output150,000 shaft horsepower
Speed33 knots
Crew3,448
Armament4x2x5in/38cal guns, 4x5in/38cal anti-aircraft guns, 8x4x40mm Bofors guns, 46x20mm Oerlikon cannons
Armor4in belt, 2.5in hangar deck, 1.5in protective decks, 1.5in conning tower
Aircraft82

Contributor:

ww2dbaseThe Doolittle Raiders appeared over Japan in 1942. To avoid revealing their carrier-based launch, US President Franklin Roosevelt came up with the idea that the aircraft were launched from Shangri-La, a fictitious place originating in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon. This humor lived on, especially surprisingly as it was an extreme departure from the norm of using names of battles for carriers, as Shangri-La was chosen as the name of a carrier whose construction was ordered later in the same year. At her launching, Josephine Doolittle, wife of James Doolittle who had led the 1942 raid, christened the ship. USS Shangri-La was commissioned into service in Sep 1944.

ww2dbaseAfter a shakedown cruise to Trinidad, USS Shangri-La was sent to Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii via the Panama Canal, arriving in Feb 1945. At Pearl Harbor, she qualified pilots for carrier landings. In Apr 1945, she arrived at the US Navy anchorage at Ulithi Atoll in the Caroline Islands in the western Pacific Ocean and shortly after joined Task Group 58.4. She launched her first strike on 25 Apr 1945, with her aircraft attacking Japanese radar and communication stations on Okidaitojima of the Daito Islands 400 kilometers east of Okinawa Island. She then remained in the area to support ground troops fighting on Okinawa until 14 May 1945. On 18 May, she became the flagship of US Navy Carrier Task Force 2, under Vice Admiral John S. McCain, Sr.; as McCain was reassigned to Task Force 38 as its commanding officer, he kept USS Shangri-La as his flagship. Until mid-Jun 1945, she was mainly engaged in striking various targets in the Japanese home islands, particularly on Kyushu island, and supporting ground troops fighting on Okinawa. After two weeks of rest in the Philippines, she set sail toward Japanese waters, where she would conduct air strikes against positions in the Japanese home islands in preparation for a ground invasion.

ww2dbaseAfter the Japanese surrender, USS Shangri-La conducted operations to drop supplies to recently liberated Allied prisoners of war in the Japanese home islands. She returned to the United States in Oct 1945, primarily conducting carrier landing qualifications during this period. In May 1946, she departed California, United States for the central Pacific Ocean in support of the atomic bomb detonation tests at Bikini Atoll during Operation Crossroads, then operated out of Hawaii. After a tour that saw port calls at Pearl Harbor and Sydney, Australia, she was decommissioned from service in Nov 1945 and was placed in the Reserve Fleet at San Francisco, California. She was recommissioned during the Korean War in May 1951; she remained in American waters, serving mostly out of Boston in Massachusetts on the east coast. Returning to the west coast, she was decommissioned in Nov 1952 to receive a major modernization at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington. She returned to active service in Jan 1955, and was deployed to the western Pacific Ocean region in Jan 1956 as tensions rose in Vietnam, and she would make regular visits to the region until Mar 1960, when it was announced that her home port was being shifted to Mayport, Florida, United States. She would remain in Florida until 1970; during this time, she saw service in waters off Central America, in the Atlantic Ocean, and in the Mediterranean Sea. She was stationed in Subic Bay in the Philippines between Apr and Nov 1970, and then she returned to Mayport. She sailed to the South Annex of the Boston Navy Yard in Massachusetts, where she underwent inactivation overhaul. She was decommissioned for the final time on 30 Jul 1971 and placed in the Atlantic Reserved Fleet at Philadelphia Navy Shipyard in Pennsylvania, United States. She was struck from the US Naval Vessel Register in Jul 1982, and she offered various parts for repair and training use for USS Lexington. She was sold for scrap in Aug 1988, and ultimately was broken up in Taiwan, Republic of China.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Jul 2023

Aircraft Carrier Shangri-La (CV-38) Interactive Map

Photographs

Carrier Shangri-La launching ceremony, Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, United States, 24 Feb 1944Carrier Shangri-La shortly after launching, Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, United States, 24 Feb 1944; seen in the US Navy publication USS Shangri-La 1944-1945 cruise book
See all 55 photographs of Aircraft Carrier Shangri-La (CV-38)

Shangri-La Operational Timeline

7 Aug 1942 The order for the construction of carrier Shangri-La was issued.
15 Jan 1943 The keel of carrier Shangri-La was laid down at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia, United States.
24 Feb 1944 Carrier Shangri-La was launched at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia, United States, sponsored by sponsored by Josephine Doolittle, wife of famed aviator James Doolittle.
15 Sep 1944 USS Shangri-La was commissioned into service with Captain James D. Barner in command. She departed on her shakedown cruise to Trinidad later on the same date.
21 Dec 1944 USS Shangri-La arrived at Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, United States, completing her shakedown cruise.
17 Jan 1945 USS Shangri-La departed the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, United States alongside of USS Guam and USS Harry E. Hubbard.
23 Jan 1945 USS Shangri-La, USS Guam, and USS Harry E. Hubbard arrived Cristobal, Panama Canal Zone.
24 Jan 1945 USS Shangri-La, USS Guam, and USS Harry E. Hubbard transited the Panama Canal.
25 Jan 1945 USS Shangri-La departed Balboa, Panama Canal Zone.
4 Feb 1945 USS Shangri-La arrived at San Diego, California, United States.
7 Feb 1945 USS Shangri-La departed San Diego, California, United States.
15 Feb 1945 USS Shangri-La arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
10 Apr 1945 USS Shangri-La departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
20 Apr 1945 USS Shangri-La arrived at Ulithi Atoll, Caroline Islands.
21 Apr 1945 USS Shangri-La departed Ulithi Atoll, Caroline Islands.
24 Apr 1945 USS Shangri-La was assigned to US Navy Task Group 58.4.
25 Apr 1945 USS Shangri-La launched her first strike. Her aircraft attacked Okidaitojima of the Daito Islands 400 kilometers east of Okinawa Island, destroying radar and communications stations.
14 May 1945 USS Shangri-La arrived at Ulithi Atoll, Caroline Islands.
18 May 1945 Vice Admiral John S. McCain, Sr. of US Navy Carrier Task Force 2 broke his flag aboard USS Shangri-La at Ulithi Atoll, Caroline Islands.
24 May 1945 USS Ticonderoga, USS Yorktown, USS Shangri-La, and other ships of Task Froup 58.4 departed Ulithi, Caroline Islands.
28 May 1945 Vice Admiral John S. McCain, Sr. relieved Marc Mitscher as the commanding officer of US Navy Task Force 38; USS Shangri-La remained McCain's flagship.
2 Jun 1945 American carrier aircraft of Task Force 38 attacked airfields in southern Kyushu, Japan. Air Group 87 aircraft from USS Ticonderoga struck airfields on Kyushu, Japan in an attempt to stop special attack aircraft from taking off, while aircraft from USS Shangri-La also struck various military targets.
3 Jun 1945 American carrier aircraft of Task Force 38 attacked airfields in southern Kyushu, Japan for the second day in a row. From USS Ticonderoga, Air Group 87 aircraft struck airfields on Kyushu in an attempt to stop special attack aircraft from taking off. On the same day, 7 Japanese ships were sunk or damaged by naval mines in Japanese waters.
4 Jun 1945 USS Shangri-La sailed in a northwestward direction to avoid a typhoon.
6 Jun 1945 Essex-class carriers USS Yorktown and USS Shangri-La launched raids on Okinawa, Japan
8 Jun 1945 Aircraft from Essex-class carriers USS Ticonderoga (Air Group 87), USS Yorktown, and USS Shangri-La struck airfields on Kyushu, Japan in an attempt to stop special attack aircraft from taking off.
9 Jun 1945 Aircraft from USS Ticonderoga (Air Group 87) and USS Shangri-La struck Okinawa, Japan, while aircraft from USS Yorktown attacked Minamidaitojima 400 miles to the east.
10 Jun 1945 USS Shangri-La set sail toward Leyte island, Philippines.
13 Jun 1945 USS Shangri-La arrived at San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, Philippines.
1 Jul 1945 USS Shangri-La departed San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, Philippines.
2 Jul 1945 USS Shangri-La hosted the oath taking ceremony for the new Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air John L. Sullivan.
10 Jul 1945 The US Army Air Forces launched the first of several 1,000-bomber raids against the Japanese home islands. Meanwhile, US Navy aircraft from Essex-class carriers USS Yorktown and USS Shangri-La launched air strikes on the Tokyo area.
14 Jul 1945 American battleships USS South Dakota, USS Indiana, and USS Massachusetts and escorting destroyers bombarded Kamaishi, Honshu, Japan; the primary target was the Kamaishi Works of the Japan Iron Company, but several destroyers shells overshot the target and hit the town, killing many civilians; battleship shells were more accurate, destroying about 65% of the industrial complex, but they also killed many civilians; this was the first time the Japanese home islands were subjected to naval bombardment. To the north, the sinking of 6 warships and 37 steamers on the ferry route between Honshu and Hokkaido islands effectively cut off the latter from the rest of the home islands. At Kure in southern Japan, aircraft of US Navy TF 38 damaged carrier Amagi, carrier Katsuragi, and battleship Haruna; at Misawa in northern Japan, G4M bombers that were assigned to partake the planned Operation Ken, which sought to deliver 300 suicide commandos to the Mariana Islands, were destroyed (the American would not know of Operation Ken until after the war). The carriers were escorted by a large naval force that included battleship USS Missouri. Far to the south, the USAAF XXI Bomber Command canceled a long-range P-51 raid from Iwo Jima to attack Meiji and Kagamigahara near Nagoya due to poor weather.
15 Jul 1945 American battleships USS Iowa, USS Missouri, and USS Wisconsin bombarded industrial targets at Muroran, Hokkaido, Japan; the main targets were Wanishi Iron Works plants and the Muroran Works. From the air, American naval aircraft attacked northern Honshu and Hokkaido, destroying railways and coal ferries. 104 US Army P-51 fighters based in Iwo Jima Meiji, Kagamigahara, Kowa, Akenogahara, Nagoya, and Suzuko, Japan. B-24 bombers attacked Tomitaka, Usa, Kikaiga-shima, Amami Islands, Yaku-shima, Osumi Islands, and Tamega Island. After sun down, American B-29 bombers mined Japanese waters at Naoetsu and Niigata and Korean waters at Najin, Busan, and Wonsan, while other B-29 bombers attacked and seriously damaged the Nippon Oil Company facilities at Kudamatsu in southwestern Japan.
18 Jul 1945 American battleships USS North Carolina, USS Alabama, USS Iowa, USS Missouri, and USS Wisconsin and British battleship HMS King George V bombarded Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan with 2,000 shells; the Taga Works and Mito Works of Hitachi Manufacturing Company were moderately damaged, and the Yamate Plant and the copper refining plants of Hitachi Mine were lightly damaged; civilian housing areas were also attacked, causing many deaths. Japanese battleship Nagato was damaged in port at Yokosuka, Japan by aircraft from carrier USS Shangri-La; a Japanese destroyer, a submarine, and three smaller vessels were sunk during the attack on Yokosuka. Aircraft from USS Yorktown struck the Tokyo area. P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang aircraft of US Far East Air Forces attacked various targets on Kyushu and the Ryukyu Islands, Japan, focusing largely on communications lines, bridges, shipping, and population centers.
24 Jul 1945 British TF 37 launched 416 sorties, 261 of which were sent against the Japanese home islands and 155 were for defensive patrols; escort carrier Kaiyo was damaged by British carrier planes. On the same day, American TF 38 launched 600 aircraft against Kure, Nagoya, Osaka, and Miho, sinking battleship-carrier Hyuga, heavy cruiser Tone, and target ship Settsu, and damaging carrier Ryuho, carrier Amagi, battleship-carrier Ise, battleship Haruna, heavy cruiser Aoba, light cruiser Oyodo, transport Kiyokawa Maru; the Aichi aircraft factories at Nagoya were seriously damaged.
25 Jul 1945 US Task Force 58 aircraft from USS Yorktown and USS Shangri-La pounded shipping and installations around the Kure naval base in Japan. Meanwhile, other US carrier aircraft attacked Japanese shipping in the Inland Sea off Osaka and Nagoya, Japan.
28 Jul 1945 137 American P-47 aircraft based in Ie Shima, Okinawa, Japan attacked targest in Kyushu, Japan. On the same day, 471 B-29 bombers attacked smaller Japanese cities in the home islands with incendiary bombs. Finally, from the sea, US Navy carrier aircraft struck various Inland Sea ports between Nagoya and northern Kyushu, sinking battleship Haruna, battleship-carrier Ise, heavy cruiser Aoba (in shallow water), and light cruiser Oyodo, and damaging carrier Katsuragi, carrier Hosho, and already beached battleship Settsu.
30 Jul 1945 American battleships USS South Dakota, USS Indiana, and USS Massachusetts, joined by British battleship HMS King George V (this would be her final combat action of the war) ended a two-day bombardment of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Meanwhile, carrier fighters from USS Ticonderoga (Air Group 87), USS Shangri-La, and USS Yorktown attacked airfields, railroads, and tactical targets east and west of Hamamatsu, generally the larger Kyoto-Kobe-Osaka region and the Tokyo region. Destroyer Yukikaze suffered minor damage and one killed by carrier aircraft in Miyatsu Bay on the coast of the Sea of Japan.
9 Aug 1945 British (258 Avenger, Corsair, Hellcat, Firefly, and Seafire) and US carrier aircraft (USS Shangri-La, USS Yorktown, Air Group 87 from USS Ticonderoga) of Task Force 37 struck the Japanese home islands; the British aircraft alone expended more than 120 tons of bombs and cannon shells. Meanwhile, American battleships USS South Dakota, USS Indiana, and USS Massachusetts, plus their support ships, bombarded Kamaishi, Iwate, Japan; 850 16-inch shells from battleships, 1,440 8-inch shells from cruisers, and 2,500 5-inch shells from destroyers were fired.
10 Aug 1945 USS Yorktown (Essex-class) launched raids on Tokyo, Japan.
10 Aug 1945 70 US Army Air Forces B-29 bombers attacked the arsenal complex near Tokyo, Japan while US Navy carrier aircraft from USS Ticonderoga (Air Group 87), USS Shangri-La, and USS Yorktown struck targets on the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu.
13 Aug 1945 Carrier aircraft from USS Ticonderoga (Air Group 87), USS Yorktown, and USS Shangri-La struck Tokyo, Japan.
15 Aug 1945 Seafire aircraft of 887 and 894 Naval Air Squadrons of the British Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm downed seven A6M5 Zero fighters at the cost of one Seafire fighter. Meanwhile, carrier aircraft from USS Ticonderoga (Air Group 87) and USS Shangri-La were launched for a strike on Tokyo, Japan, but the mission was aborted while en route due to the Japanese willingness to capitulate. USS Yorktown (Essex-class) cancelled all strikes planned for this day.
23 Aug 1945 USS Shangri-La began conducting missions to drop supplies to Allied prisoners of war in the Japanese home islands.
16 Sep 1945 USS Shangri-La entered Tokyo Bay, Japan.
1 Oct 1945 Carriers USS Shangri-La, USS Hancock, USS Yorktown (Essex-class), USS Cowpens and cruisers USS Topeka, USS Duluth, and USS Oakland with a destroyer escort that included USS Nicholas departed Tokyo Bay, Japan bound for Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands.
1 Oct 1945 USS Shangri-La departed Tokyo Bay, Japan.
4 Oct 1945 Carriers USS Shangri-La, USS Hancock, USS Yorktown (Essex-class), USS Cowpens and cruisers USS Topeka, USS Duluth, and USS Oakland with a destroyer escort that included USS Nicholas arrived at Buckner Bay (now Nakagusuku Wan), Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands.
4 Oct 1945 USS Shangri-La arrived at Okinawa, Japan.
6 Oct 1945 USS Shangri-La departed Okinawa, Japan.
6 Oct 1945 Carriers USS Shangri-La, USS Hancock, USS Yorktown (Essex-class), USS Cowpens and cruisers USS Topeka, USS Duluth, and USS Oakland with a destroyer escort that included USS Nicholas departed Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands bound for the United States with thousands of US troops.
21 Oct 1945 USS Shangri-La arrived at San Pedro Bay, California, United States.
5 Nov 1945 USS Shangri-La arrived at San Diego, California, United States.
9 Dec 1945 USS Shangri-La arrived at Bremerton, Washington, United States.
7 Nov 1947 USS Shangri-La was decommissioned from service and was placed in the Reserve Fleet at San Francisco, California, United States.
10 May 1951 USS Shangri-La was recommissioned into service with Captain Francis L. Busey in command.
1 Oct 1952 USS Shangri-La was reclassified as an attack aircraft carrier, CVA.
14 Nov 1952 USS Shangri-La was decommissioned from service.
10 Jan 1955 USS Shangri-La was recommissioned into service with Captain Roscoe L. Newman in command.
5 Jan 1956 USS Shangri-La was deployed to the western Pacific Ocean.
16 Mar 1960 USS Shangri-La departed San Diego, California, United States.
25 Nov 1960 USS Shangri-La arrived at Mayport, Florida, United States.
7 Feb 1962 USS Shangri-La departed Mayport, Florida, United States.
28 Aug 1962 USS Shangri-La arrived at Mayport, Florida, United States.
1 Oct 1963 USS Shangri-La was assigned to the US Navy 6th Fleet.
15 Feb 1965 USS Shangri-La began a deployment in the Mediterranean Sea.
20 Sep 1965 USS Shangri-La completed deployment in the Mediterranean Sea.
30 Jun 1969 USS Shangri-La was reclassified as an antisubmarine warfare support aircraft carrier, CVS.
5 Mar 1970 USS Shangri-La departed Mayport, Florida, United States.
13 Mar 1970 USS Shangri-La arrived at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
16 Mar 1970 USS Shangri-La departed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
4 Apr 1970 USS Shangri-La arrived at Subic Bay, Philippines.
9 Nov 1970 USS Shangri-La departed Subic Bay, Philippines.
16 Dec 1970 USS Shangri-La arrived at Mayport, Florida, United States.
30 Jul 1971 USS Shangri-La was decommissioned from service for the final time and was placed in the Atlantic Reserved Fleet at Philadelphia Navy Yard in Pennsylvania, United States.
15 Jul 1982 USS Shangri-La was struck from the US Navy list.
9 Aug 1988 Carrier Shangri-La was sold for scrap.
6 Sep 2017 The bell from carrier Shangri-La was placed on display at the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Building in Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Florida, United States.




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Personnel:
» McCain, John

Event(s) Participated:
» Okinawa Campaign
» Preparations for Invasion of Japan

Aircraft Carrier Shangri-La (CV-38) Photo Gallery
Carrier Shangri-La launching ceremony, Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, United States, 24 Feb 1944Carrier Shangri-La shortly after launching, Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, United States, 24 Feb 1944; seen in the US Navy publication USS Shangri-La 1944-1945 cruise book
See all 55 photographs of Aircraft Carrier Shangri-La (CV-38)


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Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal


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