Please report any broken links or trouble you might come across to the Webmaster. Please take a moment to let us know so that we can correct any problems and make your visit as enjoyable and as informative as possible.

NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

(later CVA-20 and CVS-20)

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Uniform - Bravo - Romeo
Tactical Voice Radio Call: "BIG BOY"

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (2) / China Service Medal (Extended)
2nd Row: American Campaign Medal / Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (3 stars) / World War II Victory Medal
3rd Row: Navy Occupation Service Medal ("Asia" clasp) / National Defense Service Medal (2) / Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (2)
4th Row: Vietnam Service Medal (4 stars) / Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Medal with Palm) / Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
(More info)

Essex Class Aircraft Carrier
Ordered Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Stricken
15 Dec 1941 15 Dec 1942 26 Feb 1944 6 Aug 1944
13 Nov 1952
8 Nov 1946
15 Jan 1970

20 Sep 1989
Builder: New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, N.Y.

(As built, 1944)
Displacement: 27,100 tons standard; 36,380 tons full load
Dimensions (wl): 820' x 93' x 28.5' (full load)  /  249.9 x 28.3 x 8.7 (full load) meters
Dimensions (max.): 872' x 147.5'  /  265.8 x 45 meters
Armor: 4"-2.5" belt; 1.5" hangar & protective deck(s); 4" bulkheads; 1.5" STS (top, side of pilot house); 2.5" (top) steering gear
Power plant: 8 boilers (565 psi, 850°F); 4 steam turbines; 4 shafts; 150,000 shp (design)
Speed: 32.7 knots
Endurance (design): 20,000 nautical miles @ 15 knots
Armament: 4 twin & 4 single 5"/38 gun mounts; 10 quad 40-mm/56-cal gun mounts; 46+ single 20-mm/70-cal guns mounts
Aircraft: 102 (Air Group 82, March 1945)
Aviation facilities: 1 deck-edge, 2 centerline elevators; 2 hydraulic catapults (flight deck)
Crew: 2,600+ (ship's company + air wing, as designed)

(After SCB-27A, 1952)
Displacement: 28,200 tons standard; 40,600 tons full load
Dimensions (wl): 819.1' x 101.4' x 29.7' (full load)  /  249.7 x 30.9 x 9.1 (full load) meters
Dimensions (max.): 898.1' x 151.9'  /  273.7 x 46.3 meters
Armor: belt replaced by blister with 60-lb STS
Power plant: (as above)
Speed: 31.7 (max) / 30 (sust) knots
Endurance (design): n/a
Armament: 8 single 5"/38 gun mounts; 14 twin 3"/50 gun mounts
Aircraft: 70+
Aviation facilities: 1 deck-edge, 2 centerline elevators; 2 hydraulic catapults (H 8)
Crew: ~2,900 (ship's company + air wing)

(After SCB-125, 1955)
Displacement: 30,800 tons standard; 41,200 tons full load
Dimensions (wl): 824.5' x 101' x 30.1' (full load)  /  251.3 x 30.8 x 9.2 (full load) meters
Dimensions (max.): 890' x 196'  /  271.3 x 59.7 meters
Armor: (as above)
Power plant: (as above)
Speed: 32 (max) / 30.3 (sust) knots
Endurance (design): n/a
Armament: 7 single 5"/38 gun mounts; 4 twin 3"/50 gun mounts
Aircraft: ~70 (CVA role), ~50 (CVS role)
Aviation facilities: 2 deck-edge, 1 centerline elevators; 2 hydraulic catapults (H 8)
Crew: 2,300+ (ship's company + air wing)
Click On Image 
For Full Size Image
Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright


Bennington Battle Monument.

CV-20 was named for a city in Vermont, where one of the most historic battles of the Revolutionary War took place on 16 August 1777.

Joseph Pires,
USS Bennington Association & Web Site Historian
The Early Years — World War II
CV-20 Bennington

USS Bennington (CV-20), World War II.

Overhead plan and starboard profile meticulously drawn by John Robert Barrett. Available from Navy Yard Associates (if you decide to purchase artwork from them please indicate that you heard about their work from NavSource).

Navy Yard Associates

90k Plank owner certificate for George Humber Sr. George Humber Jr.
CV-20 Bennington
185k Underway off Long Island, September 25, 1944. She is painted in camouflage Measure 32, Design 17A (#1). USN
CV-20 Bennington
71k Port view, as above. Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
101k Doing workups with her air group, October 1944. Note her lightly colored, unstained flight deck. Steve Whitby


USS Bennington (CV-20) photographed from a plane that has just taken off from her flight deck, during the ship's shakedown period, 20 October 1944.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-289645).

Scott Dyben


Bennington painted in Design 17A (#2), 13 December 1944, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard before going into combat. Compare her new, three-color camouflage (Design 17A(#2)) to her previous six-color scheme Design 17A (#1)). Light conditions make colors appear to be lighter than they actually were (see below). Bennington was one of the Essex-class ships not fitted with additional AA 40-mm mounts on the starboard side, amidships. (Thanks to Robert Hurst, who provided additional info).

Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
78k As above. This photo does show her flight deck stained blue, with dull black numerals and dash lines. Note there are no elevator outlines. The inside screens of the lift shaft are painted black. Note that the 5"/38 single mounts and some of the 40-mm quads were at times surrounded by rails instead of splinter shields, in order to save weight, but this was a temporary measure. (Thanks to Robert Hurst, who provided additional info). Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
127k USS Bennington (CV-20) ferrying aircraft to Pearl Harbor on her maiden voyage to fight in WW2, January 1945. USN


Bennington tied up at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor Hawaii with her entire air group (CVG-82) on the flight deck, Jan. 1945. (National Archives photo).

Steve Whitby


Deck crewmen aboard USS Bennington (CV-20) maneuver an SB2C Helldiver of Bombing Squadron (VB) 82 into position on the carrier's flight deck. VB-82 operated from Bennington during the period February–June 1945.

Navy and Marine Corps Museum photo (# 1996.253.357), Robert L. Lawson collection.

Alex Tatchin


TBM-3 from VT-82 deck launching from Bennington in a rain squall, February 1945.

Steve Whitby


One of Bennington's VMF-123's F4U-1D's after flipping, the pilot had a back injury. Photo by Lowell Love.

Steve Whitby


One of VMF-112's F4U after hitting the island and burning. Photo by Lowell Love.

Steve Whitby


Another crash on the flight deck as seen from an aircraft. Photo by Lowell Love.

Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
122k An F4U Corsair from one of the Marine Squadrons serving on Bennington in April 1945 (VMF-112 and VMF-123). Looks like it had its wingtip shot up. Photo by Lowell Love. Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
122k An F4U Corsair (VMF-112 or VMF-123) that missed the arresting wires, April 1945. Photo by Lowell Love. Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
117k F4U Corsair, deck launch. Photo by Lowell Love. Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
114k Lowell Love crawled out on the forward antenna mast in the down position to get this picture of the forecastle, bow and 40mm gun tub. Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
114k TBM with a damaged port wing tip. Photo by Lowell Love. Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington

Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat fighters prepare for takeoff from the aircraft carrier USS Bennington (CV-20) circa May 1945.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-K-4946).

Robert Hurst
CV-20 Bennington

USS McKee (DD-575) operating at sea in the Ryukyus area with Task Force 58, 26 April 1945. USS Bennington (CV-20) is in the left background. Official U.S. Navy photograph, from the collections of the Naval History & Heritage Command (# NH 103701).

Tony Cowart


Kamikaze plane (upper right) explodes in mid-air near the aircraft carrier USS Bennington (CV-20) in a photo taken from the deck of her sister carrier USS Hornet (CV‑12) during battles off the coast of Okinawa, 14 May 1945.

Courtesy of LIFE magazine.

Pieter Bakels
Typhoon — June 5, 1945


Looking towards the bow from the bridge during the typhoon of June 1945. This storm smashed both the Hornet and Bennington's flight deck down around their bows. Photo by Lowell Love.

Steve Whitby


On 5 June 1945 USS Bennington was damaged by a typhoon off Okinawa and retired to Leyte for repairs, arriving 11 June. Her repairs completed, the carrier left Leyte 1 July 1945 and during 10 July-15 August took part in the final raids on the Japanese home islands.

Compare these photos to those of Hornet (CV-12) and Wasp (CV-18). They explain why the later "hurricane bows" made sense.

USS Bennington, her History and her Crew
web site




Bennington recovering SB2C-5's off the coast of Japan, late July 1945. Photo by Lowell Love.

Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
157k Lowell Love (standing, far left) and some of the Bennington's photographers getting briefed for a combat mission over Japan, July 1945. Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington

USS Bennington (CV-20), CINCPAC photo #496020, also BuAer photo with the same number. Taken at Pearl Harbor, released 23 January 1946.

David Buell
CVE-109 Cape Gloucester

Aerial view of Pearl Harbor, circa 16–23 January 1946. Ships present are: USS Bennington (CV-20) moored across the channel at NAS Ford Island; USS Cape Gloucester (CVE-109), opposite Bennington; USS Troilus (AKA-46), moored astern of Cape Gloucester; USS LST-1078, moored astern of USS LST-1070; USS Terror (CM-5); USS LST-459 with LCT-1015 secured to her main deck, astern of USS LST-863. Moored forward of LST-863 are two unidentified minesweepers and three larger, unidentified ships. The next pier has two unidentified ships, possibly AKs; the survey ship USS Sumner (AGS-5); and two unidentified minesweepers. USS LST-737 moored astern of USS LST-45, moored astern of numerous minesweepers. And possibly USS Shipley Bay (CVE-85).

Official US Navy photo, file number 496019, from CINCPAC, released 23 January 1946. Also stamped "BUAer, 496019".

David Buell
After SCB-27A Modernization


This photo was taken in the fall of 1952 in the North Atlantic during a hurricane with winds at 80 MPH that day. Shortly after this photo was taken the ship dipped back into the waves and lost several aircraft that were on deck to the sea.

Note: The picture was most likely taken, in fact, during Hurricane Barbara (August 1953). Bennington was recommissioned on 13 November 1952 but did not recover any plane until 16 February 1953. On 9 August 1953, Bennington departed Halifax, Nova Scotia, for Norfolk, VA, and en route had to ride out Hurricane Barbara.

Roy Stumpf


Skyraider on final approach. Taken from the hangar deck stern of the Bennington in Med. Sea, 1953.

Louis Hodgson


F2H-2P Banshee, assigned to VC-62, on flight deck, off La Spezia, Italy, Dec. 1953. The F2H-2P was an unarmed photo reconnaissance version of the F2H-2. It was fitted with six cameras in its enlarged nose (location of the three starboard ones is clearly visible).

Louis Hodgson


This is the Bennington at anchor in Gibraltar, mid-February 1954. I took this photo from the ship's liberty launch.

Louis Hodgson


At 0811, 26 May 1954, while cruising off Narragansett Bay, the fluid in the port catapult exploded, setting off a series of secondary explosions which killed 103 crewmen and injured 201 others. Bennington proceeded under her own power to Quonset Point, R.I.

"On 26 May 2004 at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island, we dedicated a Memorial to those fallen sailors. It was covered by the local media and we had approximately 900 former Bennington crewmembers, Air Group and Marine Detachment personnel come to 'remember' this day!"

Joseph Pires,
USS Bennington Association & Web Site Historian

.PDF file
Get Adobe Reader
Get FREE Adobe Reader

Fire aboard USS Bennington, May 26, 1954 as related by Jack Douglas Rich to Phyllis Rich Carpenter.

Phyllis Rich Carpenter
CVA-20 Bennington

Captain W.F. Raborn, Bennington's Commanding Officer, presents awards to members of her crew in recognition of their heroic actions during the catapult explosion and fire of 26 May 1954. Photographed on 7 August 1954.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 97583).

After SCB-125 Modernization
CVA-20 Bennington

USS Bennington off Point Loma, at the entrance to San Diego Bay, in a photo apparently taken in the late 1950s.

David Buell
CVA-20 Bennington

USS Bennington (CVA-20) passes the wreck of USS Arizona (BB-39) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Memorial Day, 31 May 1958. Bennington's crew is in formation on the flight deck, spelling out a tribute to the Arizona's crewmen who were lost in the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Note the outline of Arizona's hull and the flow of oil from her fuel tanks.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph (# USN 1036055).

CVA-20 Bennington

A "Sundowner" division of FJ-3M Furies over Oahu, Hawaii, mid-1958. Three aircraft bear ATG-1's "shooting star" emblem on the fuselage, while NA112 has yet to receive it. The squadron deployed aboard USS Bennington (CVA-20) in May–June 1958, as part of ATG-1 (tail code "NA"), and in August 1958–January 1959 as part of ATG-4 (tail code "ND")—this was the last deployment of Bennington as an attack carrier. Photo courtesy Henk van der Lugt.

Photo from VF-11/111 "Sundowners" 194295 (Aviation Elite Units #36), by Barrett Tillman.

Robert Hurst
CVA-20 Bennington

Four U.S. Navy Douglas AD-6 Skyraiders (BuNo 139731, 139751, 139753, 139783) from Attack Squadron (VA) 42 "Green Pawns" in flight, October 1956. VA‑42 was assigned to Air Task Group (ATG) 181 from 1956 to 1958 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bennington (CVA-20).

BuNo 139731 (by then redesignated A-1H) was later lost while in service with VA-152 "Friendlies," Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 16, USS Oriskany (CVA-34), on 14 October 1966. The aircraft was flown by ENS Darwin Joel Thomas on a night road reconnaissance mission 40 km southwest of Thanh Hoa, North Vietnam. When his section spotted trucks on a road, Thomas dove to attack the target with rockets. However, he failed to pull out of the dive and was killed when his aircraft struck the ground.

Photo courtesy of LCDR Joe Rao, USN Ret.

Robert Hurst
CVA-20 Bennington

Photo of USS Bennington (CVS-20) taken 7 September 1959, tied up to San Diego's Broadway pier for an open house at an event called "Fiesta Del Pacifico."

Robert M. Cieri
CVS-20 Bennington

USS Bennington (CVS-20) off Point Loma, at the entrance to San Diego Bay, circa 1960–62, with Antisubmarine Carrier Air Group (CVSG) 59 aboard.

Marine Photos and Publishing, Spring Valley, CA.

David Buell
CVS-20 Bennington

The starboard aft aircraft elevator framing a refueling shot of USS Harry E. Hubbard (DD-748) in the South China Sea, winter 1961.

Charles Hansen collection
CVS-20 Bennington

Bennington photographers after hours, January 1961.

Charles Hansen collection
CVS-20 Bennington

USS Bennington (CVS-20) underway after her 1962–1963 FRAM II modernization.

Joseph Pires,
USS Bennington Association & Web Site Historian
CV-20 Bennington

USS Bennington (CVS-20) arrives in Long Beach, California, her new homeport, May 1, 1963. Crew is manning the rail and a harbor tug shoots her fire hose in salute. Photo by PH3 G.W. Burgess.

(Thanks to Joseph Pires, USS Bennington Association & Web Site Historian).

CV-20 Bennington

USS Mispillion (AO-105) underway while refueling USS Bennington (CVS-20) at sea, 20 August 1963. USS Alfred A. Cunningham (DD-752) is taking on fuel from off the oiler's starboard side. Nine Grumman S-2E Tracker and four Sikorsky SH-3A Sea King helicopters of Carrier Anti-Submarine Air Group 59 (CVSG-59) are visible on Bennington's flight deck.

U.S. Navy History and Heritage Command photo # NH 97589, PH2 Hobbs.

Robert Hurst
CVS-20 Bennington

USS Bennington (CVS-20) and USS O'Brien (DD-725) receiving fuel from USS Chipola (AO-63) in WestPac, spring of 1964, as viewed from USS Eversole (DD-789). The destroyer on the extreme right is unknown. Photo by ETR2 Travis Moffat.

Larry Backus
CVS-20 Bennington

View from USS Eversole (DD-789), spring 1964, in WestPac. This image shows USS Bennington (CVS-20) refueling USS O'Brien (DD-725). The destroyer on the left is unidentified. Photo by ETR2 Travis Moffat.

Larry Backus
CVS-20 Bennington

USS Chipola (AO-63) delivers NSFO to USS Bennington (CVS-20) while underway in the Pacific Ocean in the spring of 1964. Photo by ETR2 Travis Moffat, USS Eversole (DD-789).

Larry Backus, USS Bausell (DD-845)
CVS-20 Bennington
CV-20 Bennington

Refueling from Chemung (AO-30), WestPac, mid-July 1964.

(Thanks to Joseph Pires, USS Bennington Association & Web Site Historian).

CVS-20 Bennington
244k On 18 May 1966, the XC-142A tri-service V/STOL transport made its first carrier takeoffs and landings during tests conducted aboard Bennington at sea off San Diego. The tests, including 44 short and six vertical takeoffs were made with wind over the deck varying from zero to 32 knots. Lt. Roger L. Rich Jr., and other pilots from the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army took turns at the controls. US Navy photo now in the National Archives (# NH 69968). USN
CVS-20 Bennington

This photo is in Bennington's 1966–67 Cruise Book, and shows her alongside USS Tolovana (AO-64), possibly in WestPac, November–December 1966.

Official U.S. Navy photo.

From the collection of CDR Thomas B. Ray (USS Essex CV-9),
via Chris Stanley
CVS-20 Bennington

USS Bennington (CVS-20) comes alongside the floating Apollo spacecraft 017 (Apollo 4) Command Module during recovery operations in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The Command Module splashed down at 3:37 p.m., November 9, 1967, 934 nautical miles northwest of Honolulu, Hawaii.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) photo # S67-49861.

CV-20 Bennington

USS Bennington (CVS-20) underway off the coast of California, 25 November 1967. Photographed by Dolenga.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 97582).

CVS-20 Bennington

Bennington's own mail C.O.D., 1965–1969, Grumman C-1A Trader, BuNo 146042.

Joseph Pires, USS Bennington Association & Web Site Historian
CVS-20 Bennington

Two Grumman E-1B Tracers assigned to VAW-111 Det. 20 "Hunters," which deployed to WestPac and Vietnam with Antisubmarine Carrier Air Group (CVSG) 59 aboard USS Bennington (CVS-20), 1 May–9 November 1968.

RR760 was BuNo 148920.

RR762 was BuNo 148130.

CVS-20 Bennington
CVS-20 Bennington

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, circa 17 May 1968.

© Richard Leonhardt
CVS-20 Bennington

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, circa 18 May 1968.

© Richard Leonhardt
CVS-20 Bennington

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, circa 18 May 1968. USS Ramsey (DEG-2) is in the foreground.

© Richard Leonhardt
CVS-20 Bennington

USS Bennington (CVS-20) leaving Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, May 1968. Official U.S. Navy photograph #KN-17012. Photographer: PH2 H.R. Vail. From the Naval Photographic Center, Naval District, Washington DC.

Robert M. Cieri
CVS-20 Bennington

USS Bennington (CVS-20) underway in the Pacific, 20 August 1968. Official US Navy photograph #KN-18433. From DAVA Still Media Depository, Bldg 168 NDW Washington DC.

Robert M. Cieri
CVS-20 Bennington

Official U.S. Navy photograph of USS Bennington (CVS-20) in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of California, by PHC H.D. Browning. The photo serial number is #K-74930 from the US Naval Photographic Center, Naval Station Washington DC.

The photo is dated 25 June 1969. On this date Bennington's 112,000th arrested landing was made by LCDR Lowe of VA-125. During these CarQuals, Bennington became the first ship to qualify the TA-4F aircraft for carrier landings.

Robert M. Cieri


Ship's Bell, Bennington Town Office Building (Bennington, Vt.)

Joseph Pires,
USS Bennington Association & Web Site Historian


Ship's Plaque, fixed to the rear of the marble structure behind the Ship's Bell in Bennington, Vt.

Joseph Pires,
USS Bennington Association & Web Site Historian
CV-20 Bennington
36k Ship's Plaque, located at the USS Turner Joy (DD-951) Memorial, Bremerton, Washington (2004). Robert Hall


Artifacts from USS Bennington's bridge, preserved at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington (2007).

NAS Whidbey Island, via Joseph Pires,
USS Bennington Association & Web Site Historian








CVA-20 Bennington

USS Bennington (CVA-20).

CVS-20 Bennington
93k Welcome On Board. U.S.S. Bennington. CVS-20. Richard Miller, BMCS, USNR (Ret.)

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Read the USS BENNINGTON (CV / CVA / CVS-20) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact and Reunion Information
Contact: Joseph L. Pires,
   USS Bennington Historian,
   Vietnam Veteran (1966–1968)
Lonnie Whittaker,
   USS Bennington Webmaster
Address: 694 Iredel Court
Calabash, NC 28467
Phone: 910-579-0923
Web site:

Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Official U.S. Navy Carrier Website
USS Bennington (CV-20/CVA-20/CVS-20), her History and her Crew

Photo Index
Aircraft Carrier
Photo Index Page

Comments, Suggestions or Image submissions, E-mail Carrier Information
Problems and site related matters, E-mail Webmaster

This page was created by Paul Yarnall and is maintained by Fabio Peña
All pages copyright NavSource Naval History

Last update: 19 April 2015