Sunday, November 17, 2019


OK the video was shamelessly stolen from the good CDR, I didn't even bother to ask, but what's he gonna do huh, with 5,000 kloms of Atlantic between us?

Anyway, watch this marvellous video in Technicolor of take offs and landings on the USS Shangri-La (CV 38), somewhere in the Med in 1962.

My personal favorite is the Skyhawk. For some reason I have always liked this tough little delta-winged attack plane. I had a model as a kid - although I almost always built my models myself, that one was a diecast. And of course, the Skyhawk featured prominently in the middle batch of my numerous Buck Danny cartoons:

Yes, there once was a USS Shangri-La (CV/CVA/CVS-38), prolly the carrier with the most incongruous name ever. One of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers commissioned during or right after WWII for the United States Navy, the inspiration for her name came from President Roosevelt himself. You may or may not know that on the heels of Pearl Harbor, a Lt Col by the name of James H. Doolittle took off with sixteen B25 Mitchell bombers from the deck of the carrier Hornet and bombed Tokyo, a feat that caused little structural damage but of which the psychological impact was enormous (both for the Japanese and the Americans). When shortly after the raid a reporter asked the President whence the raid had been carried out, the President, apparently choosing to let the enemy in the dark about US carriers being able to launch twin engined bombers, replied that it had been from Shangri-La, which is a fictional, mystical land in the novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton. Two years later, when it came time to name a long hull Essex carrier, someone remembered the anecdote and voilà.

USS Shangri-La, commissioned in 1944, took part in several campaigns in the Pacific, earning two battle stars. Decommissioned shortly after war's end, she was modernized and recommissioned in the early 50s, and redesignated a CVA, an attack carrier. Operating in both the Pacific and Atlantic/Mediterranean, she was refitted with an angled deck and towards the end of her career took part in the Vietnam War, where she added another three battle stars to her combat record. Shangri-La was decommissioned in 1971, and sold for scrap in 1988. Here she is on her last deployment in 1970:


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