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NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive


Contributed by Mike Smolinski

USS SAIPAN   (CVL-48)
(later AVT-6; renamed Arlington (AGMR-2))



Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - India - Lima - Bravo
Tactical Voice Radio Call: "TRAINSHED"

CLASS - SAIPAN
Displacement 14,500 Tons, Dimensions, 683' 7" (oa) x 76' 8" x 28' (Max)
Armament 40 x 40mm, 32x 20mm, 48 Aircraft.
Armor, 4" Belt, 2 1/2" Deck.
Machinery, 120,000 SHP; G.E. Geared Turbines, 4 screws
Speed, 33 Knots, Crew 1721.

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Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024826
195k

[Sunday, ]14 July 1946. USS Saipan (CVL-48) is placed in commission at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Captain John Crommelin, USN Commanding. Note the fourth stack directly behind the island. It was removed in 1948 to reduce topside weight and help the rolls. It didn't.

Photo and text from Saipanorama, the newsletter of the USS Saipan CVL48 Assn., issue #92, February 2014.

Courtesy of Tom Pendergast, Secretary-Treasurer, and the USS Saipan CVL-48 Association.
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024801
57k

USS Saipan (CVL-48) as completed, November 2, 1946.

USN
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024804
151k

USS Saipan (CVL-48) underway at sea, with eight FH-1 Phantom jet fighters on her flight deck. The original print is dated June 1953, but the presence of FH-1s and the general rig of the ship indicate that the photograph was actually taken during the late 1940s.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 97612).

NHC
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024813
173k

USS Saipan (CVL-48), probably in the late 1940s. Note the mix of aircraft on her deck: early jet and a variety of prop types.

Bill Fessenden (Newmarket, NH) comments: "The photo was taken at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine (PNSY), during the ship's April (?) 1948 visit (DANFS). In the upper right background can be seen the US Route 1B bridge between New Castle, NH (on the left) and Portsmouth, NH. The large building on the horizon, to the left of the ship's island, is the locally famous Wentworth Hotel, on New Castle Island. The restored, late 19th century grand hotel, still stands, to this day. It should also be noted that PNSY was/is used primarily for submarine work, as evidenced by the submarine moored forward of the CVL, and the submarine components on the dock in the photo's foreground."

David Buell
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024814
117k

LT(JG) C.B. Griffin, USNR, made the 20,000th landing aboard USS Saipan (CVL-48).

David Buell
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024814a
110k
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024822
121k

Undated picture of the light aircraft carrier USS Saipan (CVL-48) underway, location unknown. Note the wartime aircraft types parked on her flight deck. U.S. Navy photo.

Photo and text from Aircraft Carriers, by Norman Polmar.

Robert Hurst
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024815
142k

Civilians watch operations from USS Saipan's island. From the 7th to the 24th of February 1948, Saipan transported the United States delegation to the Venezuelan President Rómulo Gallegos inauguration and back. This photo may have been taken during this diplomatic mission.

David Buell
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024816
181k

USS Saipan (CVL-48) underway, early in her career (1946–1948), with Light Carrier Air Group 1 (CVLG-1) aboard. CVLG-1 deployed with the ship for her diplomatic mission to Venezuela in February 1948 (see NS024815).

David Buell
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024817
Get Adobe Reader
13.3M

The Venezuelan Presidential Inauguration Cruise of the U.S.S. Saipan CVL-48. February 7–24, 1948.

Tom Pendergast,
Secretary-Treauser,
USS Saipan CVL-48 Association
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024818
98k

A McDonnell FH-1 Phantom fighter of Fighter Squadron VF-17A "Phantom Fighters" taxis to the catapult during carrier qualifications on the light aircraft carrier USS Saipan (CVL-48), in May 1948. USN photo scanned from The History of US Naval Air Power (Robert L. Lawson (ed.); The Military Press, New York (USA), 1985. ISBN 0-517-414813, p. 122.)

Robert Hurst
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024823
113k

USS Saipan (CVL-48) on 6 May 1948. Note the general similarity to the Independence class ships; the principal differences are the two 40mm AA gun tubs on the forecastle and the absence of a hull bulge. By this time one smokestack had been removed to improve stability. Photo USN (G Albrecht Collection).

Photo and text from Aircraft Carriers of the U.S. Navy, by Stefan Terzibaschitsch.

Robert Hurst
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024820
83k

U.S. Marine Corps Piasecki HRP-1 Rescuers are preparing to fly out to the light aircraft carrier Saipan (CVL-48) for shipboard duties [late December 1948?]. U.S. Marine Corps photo.

From Aircraft Carriers, by Norman Polmar.

Robert Hurst
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024805
93k

Crewmen wash snow and ice from the flight deck and superstructure, during Operation Icecap. Ice is visible on the island and mast. Date may be circa late December 1948, when Saipan was sent to Greenland waters on a rescue mission.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 97614).

NHC
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024829
132k

A series of photos of an F4U Corsair from VMF-211 that went into the water after a deck launch some time in the late 1940s.

Saipanorama #92, February 2014, page 9.

Courtesy of Tom Pendergast, Secretary-Treasurer, and the USS Saipan CVL-48 Association.
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024834
79k

This photo is labeled as "3rd and 4th Divisions 23 June 1950." This apparently was before the large drafts of men started coming aboard at the beginning of the Korean War. Tom Pendergast came aboard in November 1950 and there were two Deck Division at that time. The First and Second Divisions. The Third and Fourth Divisions were apparently merged into the First and Second Division. Does anyone remember why and when this was done?

From Saipanorama, the newsletter of the USS Saipan CVL48 Assn., issue #94, August 2014.

Courtesy of Tom Pendergast, Secretary-Treasurer, and the USS Saipan CVL-48 Association.
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024830
85k

A TBM Avenger from VS-31 that hit the last stack, broke up and went over the side sometime in 1950.

Saipanorama #92, February 2014, page 9.

Courtesy of Tom Pendergast, Secretary-Treasurer, and the USS Saipan CVL-48 Association.
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024824
76k

USS Saipan (CVL-48) at anchor on 26 April 1951, in an unknown Mediterranean port. There are two unidentified antennas on the radar mast, as well as SPS-6 and SP. The wide bow allowed two 40mm AA mounts to be fitted side by side. Of note Saipan was not placed in reserve after World War Two and continued in service without interruption until 1957. Photo Marius Barr.

Photo and text from Aircraft Carriers of the U.S. Navy, by Stefan Terzibaschitsch.

Robert Hurst
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024828
76k

"SXP897-5-21-NAGASAKI, JAPAN.: Crewmembers of the USS Saipan line up on the carrier's flight deck to spell out in Japanese characters, Minasan Konichiwa (hello everyone), as their ship enters the port here for open house on Armed Forces Day. U.S. NAVY PHOTO FROM UNITED PRESS TELEPHOTO" (21 May 1951).

Tom Pendergast
& Ron Reeves
Tommy Trampp
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024811
27k

USS Saipan (CVL-48) at anchor circa 1952, location unknown.

Robert Hurst
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024819
161k

In the summer of 1952, 26 Atlantic Fleet ships, including USS Saipan (CVL-48) took 3,600 Naval Academy and Naval Reserve "Middies" (midshipmen) on their training courses, to eight ports in Western Europe and then to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Saipan visited Torquay, England, and Dublin, Ireland.

Newspaper clip and two views of an UNREP with USS Salamonie (AO-26).

Tom Pendergast,
Secretary-Treauser,
USS Saipan CVL-48 Association
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024819a
109k
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024819b
311k
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024812
45k

USS Saipan (CVL-48) underway circa 1953, location unknown (USN photo.)

Robert Hurst
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024833
3.20M

USS Saipan CVL-48, VMA-324, HU-1, Far East and Around the World, 1953–1954.

Tom Pendergast, Secretary-Treauser, USS Saipan CVL-48 Association,
via Ron Reeves
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024827
422k

Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 324 "Vagabonds" celebrating the Marine Corps birthday on the hangar deck of USS Saipan (CVL-48) while in the Far East, November 1953.

Tom Pendergast, Secretary-Treauser, USS Saipan CVL-48 Association,
via Ron Reeves
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024806
93k

Lieutenant Colonel Julius W. Ireland, USMC, Commanding Officer of Marine Attack Squadron 324 (VMA-324) is greeted by a French Navy officer, after his squadron delivered AU-1 Corsair aircraft to the French at Tourane (Danang) airfield, Indo-China, on 18 April 1954. One of the AU-1s is behind them. The planes were transported to the area by USS Saipan (CVL-48).

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph (# NH 84042).

Note: COL Julius Wirth Ireland, USMC (Ret.), 93, died in Honolulu, HI, 28 July 2010.

NHC
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024807
115k

French Naval Aviator C.A. Libiot (left center) greets Second Lieutenant John F. Schrepferman, USMCR, of Marine Attack Squadron 324 (VMA-324) as VMA-324 pilots delivered AU-1 Corsair aircraft to the French at Tourane (Danang) airfield, Indo-China, on 18 April 1954. Libiot and other French aviators had trained at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, with some of VMA-324's pilots. Three of the AU-1s are behind them. The planes were transported to the area by USS Saipan (CVL-48).

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph (# NH 84051).

NHC
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024808
57k

USS Saipan (CVL-48) off Tourane (Danang), Indo-China, on 18 April 1954, just prior to launching twenty-five AU-1 Corsair aircraft, which were flown ashore for delivery to the French.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph (# NH 84043).

NHC
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024809
92k

USS Saipan (CVL-48) with HRS and HUP helicopters on her flight deck, circa the mid-1950s.

Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1969.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph (# NH 67747).

NHC
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024810
78k

USS Saipan (CVL-48) underway circa the mid-1950s, with eleven AD Skyraider attack planes (from Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 324 "Vagabonds") parked on her flight deck, aft. Note submarine approaching, in the right distance.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 97613).

NHC
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024825
111k

The light carrier Saipan (CVL-48), October 1956, at the end of her active carrier career. She was armed with three quadruple and ten twin 40-mm guns, controlled by six Mark 57 radar fire control systems (with Mark 28 radar) and eight Mark 51 mod 2s. Other major electronic equipment included an SPS-4 (surface/zenith search), SPS-6B, SPS-8, SR (after radar mast), SPN-2, SPN-12, TACAN (URN-3), YG (beacon), and HF/DF (after radar mast).

Drawing and text from U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History, by Norman Friedman.

Robert Hurst
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024802
76k

Artwork reproduction of an insignia received during the 1950s.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph (# NH 70134-KN).

NHC
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024821
518k

From Saipanorama, the newsletter of the USS Saipan CVL48 Assn., issue #74, October 2009:

  • Sea story: while under tow from Bayonne to Philadelphia, decommissioned Saipan almost rammed the tug.
  • Obituary for Admiral Ralph W. Cousins, who, as a Commander, served aboard Saipan in 1950–52.
USS Saipan Association,
via Ron Reeves
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024831
190k

From Saipanorama, the newsletter of the USS Saipan CVL48 Assn., issue #92, February 2014:

  • Black Ship Festival, fall 1954.
USS Saipan Association,
via Ron Reeves
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024831a
228k

From Saipanorama, the newsletter of the USS Saipan CVL48 Assn., issue #92, February 2014:

  • Commander Hal Buell Honored.
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024832
18k

"You all remember the two 50 man motor launches that Saipan had. It was the only way off the ship when we anchored out, which was most of the time. At liberty call everyone would line up by rate to be inspected by the OOD. Loading boats went by rank no matter how long you were in line. First Class, Second Class, Third Class, and then the non rated men. Chiefs went to the head of the line at any time. No matter how long you were in line if a higher rated man came up he went ahead of you. Remember the saying, 'Rank has it's privileges', it really was true. Remember having 500 men ready to go ashore with two boats and a half hour run to the fleet landing and back. When in Norfolk, the base used to lend us another motor launch. Remember the 'covered wagons?' Simply a motor launch with a canvas top. The OOD sent the boats off with the order 'Shove off cox'n, your boat's loaded. Make for the fleet landing and return immediately."

From Saipanorama, the newsletter of the USS Saipan CVL48 Assn., issue #93, May 2014.

USS Saipan Association,
via Ron Reeves
CVL-48 Saipan
NS024835
45k

"First Division men are marrying up the mooring lines and putting the rat guards on. What is the man on the anchor doing? Judging from this photo, Saipan is moored port side to. This was unusual because the Quarterdeck was on the starboard side and Saipan would always tie up starboard side to if possible."

From Saipanorama, the newsletter of the USS Saipan CVL48 Assn., issue #96, February 2015.

Courtesy of Tom Pendergast, Secretary-Treasurer, and the USS Saipan CVL-48 Association

View the USS Saipan (CVL-48 /AVT-6 / AGMR-2)
DANFS History entry located on the Naval History & Heritage Command Web Site.

Crew Contact and Reunion Information
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Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Official U.S. Navy Carrier Website
USS Saipan CVL48 Association

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Last update: 6 January 2015