Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Princeton's Panthers

Today's photo, an official U.S. Navy image which is dated May 23, 1951, leads off four weeks of Tuesday posts that will feature Navy aircraft carriers of the past. This image has the following caption stamped in purple ink on the back: "Two F9F's (Panther Jet Planes) making a pass over the USS Princeton (CV 37) in Korean waters. (Official Navy Photo, Released by Dept. of Defense)"

There have been six USS Princetons in U.S. Navy history, the first one a sloop which also was the first "steam screw" powered warship in the Navy, from 1843. The most recent is CG-59, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser, the first in its class to carry the AN/SPY-1B radar system.

Our Princeton was one of 24 Essex-class carriers built during the WWII era, and was launched in November 1945. She saw extensive action in the Korean war, with her crews earning eight battle stars. One of her last missions, before being sold off for scrap metal in 1971, was to serve as the recovery ship for Apollo 10. Unlike other Essex-class carriers, Princeton was never modernized with an angled flight deck.

During the time this photo was snapped, May 1951, Princeton and her Air Wing 19 were a part of Task Force 77, and were flying missions against the rail lines connecting Pyongyang with Sinanju and Kachon, among others. These two F9F Panthers belonged to squadron VF-191. Over 1,300 F9Fs were built by Grumman, and were the most widely used fighter and ground attack aircraft in Korea. The Panther was also the first jet used by the Navy's Blue Angels.

Note the fuel being dumped from the wing tanks prior to landing!

1 comment:

  1. This sure makes me think of the Bridges at Toko Ri. That film was made aboard the Oriskany, which was called the Savo Island in the film, but the Essex carrier and the F9F are just the same. Great film. Thanks again for your wonderful images.