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NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive


Contributed by Mike Smolinski

USS BENNINGTON   (CV-20)
(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.

Specifications
(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

NS022028
127k

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
NS022051
536k

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

NS022008
90k Plank owner certificate for George Humber Sr. George Humber Jr.
CV-20 Bennington
NS022007
185k Underway off Long Island, September 25, 1944. She is painted in camouflage Measure 32, Design 17A (#1). USN
CV-20 Bennington
NS022029
71k Port view, as above. Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
NS022030
101k Doing workups with her air group, October 1944. Note her lightly colored, unstained flight deck. Steve Whitby

NS022009
65k

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

NS022023
102k

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
NS022031
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
NS022001
127k USS Bennington (CV-20) ferrying aircraft to Pearl Harbor on her maiden voyage to fight in WW2, January 1945. USN

NS022010
110k

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

NS022058
164k

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

NS022024
95k

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

Steve Whitby

NS022013
128k

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

Steve Whitby

NS022014
124k

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

Steve Whitby

NS022015
123k

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

Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
NS022032
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
NS022033
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
NS022040
117k F4U Corsair, deck launch. Photo by Lowell Love. Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
NS022041
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
NS022042
114k TBM with a damaged port wing tip. Photo by Lowell Love. Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
NS022049
152k

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
NS0557517
52k

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

NS022062
131k

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

NS022011
96k

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

NS022025
79k

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

NS022026
10k

NS022027
24k

NS022012
103k

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

Steve Whitby
CV-20 Bennington
NS022043
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
NS022052
148k

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
NS1016073701
1.46M

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

NS022018
90k

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

NS022020
45k

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

Louis Hodgson

NS022021
101k

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

NS022019
252k

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

Louis Hodgson

NS022034
40k

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

NS022045
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17k

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

Phyllis Rich Carpenter
CVA-20 Bennington
NS022035
168k

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).

NHC
After SCB-125 Modernization
CVA-20 Bennington
NS022055
128k

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
NS013926b
86k

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).

NHC
CVA-20 Bennington
NS022060
62k

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
NS022063
111k

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
NS022061
121k

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
NS022056
331k

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
NS022053
138k

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
NS022054
180k

Bennington photographers after hours, January 1961.

Charles Hansen collection
CV-20 Bennington
NS022003
136k

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).

USN
CV-20 Bennington
NS091910517
162k

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
NS0584592
225k

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
NS0572529
208k

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
NS091906309
201k

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
NS091906310
223k
CV-20 Bennington
NS022002
154k

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

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

USN
CVS-20 Bennington
NS022036
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
NS022047
238k

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
NS022037
40k

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.

NASA
CV-20 Bennington
NS022004
80k

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).

NHC
CVS-20 Bennington
NS022057
41k

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
NS022057a
25k

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
NS022057b
38k
CVS-20 Bennington
NS022006
208k

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, circa 17 May 1968.

© Richard Leonhardt
CVS-20 Bennington
NS022005
147k

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, circa 18 May 1968.

© Richard Leonhardt
CVS-20 Bennington
NS022046
144k

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

© Richard Leonhardt
CVS-20 Bennington
NS022048
169k

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
NS022064
142k

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
NS022050
152k

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
Miscellany

NS022038
127k

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

Joseph Pires,
USS Bennington Association & Web Site Historian

NS022039
128k

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
NS022022
36k Ship's Plaque, located at the USS Turner Joy (DD-951) Memorial, Bremerton, Washington (2004). Robert Hall

NS022059
101k

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

NS022059a
102k

NS022059b
97k

NS022059c
96k

NS022059d
92k

NS022059e
101k

NS022059f
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NS022059g
108k

NS022059h
117k
CVA-20 Bennington
NS022016a
23k

USS Bennington (CVA-20).

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CVS-20 Bennington
NS022044
93k Welcome On Board. U.S.S. Bennington. CVS-20. Richard Miller, BMCS, USNR (Ret.)

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

USS BENNINGTON CV-20 History
View This Vessels DANFS History Entry
(Located on the Naval Historical Center website)

Crew Contact and Reunion Information
Date:  
Place:  
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
E-mail: jkpires@atmc.net
Web site: http://www.uss-bennington.org
Remarks:  

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

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Last update: 11 October 2014