Built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. in Newport News, VA.
Laid down April 28, 1941. After the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on against Pearl Harbor and Oahu, construction was accelerated. Launched July 31, 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Artemus L. Gates, the wife of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air.
Commissioned December 31, 1942 in the United States Navy (USN) as USS Essex (CV-9). with with Captain Donald B. Duncan in command. After a shakedown cruise, Essex departed via the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean arriving at Pearl Harbor during May 1943.
During May 1943 departed Pearl Harbor with Task Force 16 (TF 16) on a strike against Marcus Island. On July 15, 1943 conducted training exercises with USS Independence CVL-22 and USS Yorktown
On August 31, 1943 Essex became flagship of Task Force 14 (TF 14) on a strike against Wake Island during October 5-6, 1943.
On November 11, 1943 participated in carrier strikes against Rabaul along with USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) and USS Princeton (CVL-23).
Afterwards, joined Task Group 50.3 (TG 50.3) for strikes against the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati) to support of the invasion of Tarawa (Betio). On November 18, 1943 Essex carrier aircraft conducted dive bombing missions against Tarawa (Betio). Lost was SBD Dauntless 28608 (MIA).
On December 4, 1943 while refueling at sea she became flagship of TG 50.3 for a strike against Kwajalein. On January 24, 1944 TG 58.2 arrived at the dawn launching point for air strikes against Roi. For two days, Essex, USS Intrepid (CV-11), and USS Cabot (CVL-28) conducted carrier aircraft attacks in support of the invasion of Kwajalein-Roi until February 2, 1944.
In February 1944, Lt. Commander David P. McCampbell became the Commanding Officer (C. O.) of Air Group 15 (AG-15) aboard USS Essex.
Essex in Task Group 50.3 (TG 50.3) joined with Task Group 58.1 (TG 58.1) and Task Group 58.2 (TG 58.2) to form Task Force 58 (TF-58) "Fast Carrier Task Force". During "Operation Hailstone" February 17-18, 1944 and her carrier aircraft attacked Japanese ships in Truk Lagoon and targets on Truk. On February 18, 1944 a TBF Avenger from Essex scored a single 500 pound bomb hit that sank San Francisco Maru (5,831 Tons).
On September 1, 1943
Fighting Squadron 15 (VF-15) “Fabled Fifteen" was formed with Lt. Commander David McCampbell as the first Commanding Officer (C. O.) of Air Group 15 (AG-15) aboard USS Essex CV-9.
Between April to November 1944, AG-15 engaged in six months of combat and participated in two major air-sea battles including the Battle of the Philippine Sea (Great Marianas Turkey Shoot) and the Battle of Leyte Gulf plus attacks on the Mariana Islands, Iwo Jima, Taiwan and Okinawa. In total, the group flew 20,000 hours of air combat operations. During this period, Air Group 15 claimed more enemy planes (315 airborne and 348 on the ground) and sank more enemy shipping than any other U. S. Navy Air Group in World War II.
On November 5, 1944 carrier aircraft from USS Essex CV-9 and USS Ticonderoga CV-14 attack Japanese shipping in Manila Bay. After landing with damage, TBM Avenger 45782 was pushed overboard with a ceremony on the stern for crew member Deed killed aboard the aircraft.
During 1969, decommissioned for the last time. In 1975 sold for scrap and scrapped.
NavySource - USS Essex (CV-9)
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October 23, 2019