USS VALLEY FORGE CV-45
The USS VALLEY FORGE CV-45 was named to commemorate the Winter Encampment of General George Washington's Continental Army during the winters of (1777-78). This encampment is now a U.S. National Park located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
The USS Valley Forge was built in The Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, in Dry Dock #5, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The ship builder's first arc was struck for the keel laying on 7 September 1944. On 18 November 1945 the ship was christened in a "sister act" in which the USS Princeton was commissioned. Mrs. A. A. Vandergrift, wife of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, sponsored the USS VALLEY FORGE CV-45 on that day. The citizens of the Philadelphia Area in 1945 bought over $76,000,000 worth of E Bonds during the Seventh War Loan Drive to pay for the ship. School children of Philadelphia sold $7,769,351 of these bonds.
USS VALLEY FORGE CV-45 was commissioned on 3 November 1946. "Attention" was ordered and the ship's band played the National Anthem, then the Commission Pennant, the Union Jack, and the National Ensign were smartly hoisted together. Command of the ship was given to Captain J. W. Harris USN Commanding Officer, as he read his orders. Then he ordered the Admiral's flag be broken and gave the order to set the first watch. On 10 December 1946 the Valley had her maiden cruise down the Delaware River to the Bay at Cape May New Jersey and then returned to the Navy Yard in Philadelphia.
Classified as an attack aircraft carrier of the Essex (CV-9) class, She had an overall length of 888 feet and a beam of 93 feet at Her extreme. She displaced 36,380 tons when fully loaded with a maximum draft of 28 feet 7 inches. The flight deck was 60 feet above the water with an 870 feet length and 129 foot beam. She was powered by eight Babcock Wilcox 600 psig boilers and four Westinghouse direct drive steam turbines with reduction and delivering a total of 150,000 shaft horse power to the four 14 feet 7 inch diameter propellers and could obtain speeds above 32.7 knots. Her rudder was 429 square feet having a weight of 70,700 pounds. She was designed to carry an air group with a compliment of 80-plus aircraft. The officers and crew had a total of 3,045 berths. Besides the protection by her own aircraft, she had her own fire power with twelve 5-inch 38-caliber dual-purpose guns in four twin mounts and four single mounts, eleven quadruple 40-millimeter antiaircraft mounts, with additional ten to fifteen 20-millimeter single gun mounts.
The USS Valley Forge received the finest State Silver Service ever presented to the Navy. The service was designed and made by Philadelphia silversmiths in 1904 and was originally placed aboard the USS Pennsylvania by the Commonwealth. The elaborate service was decorated in tradition with Neptune, sea horses and dolphins as well as historic scenes and personalities and a State seal. The service consisted of a huge centerpiece for flowers and candle; a punch bowl and cups; two large candelabra; a tea service; a coffee service; trays; candle sticks; compotes; covered dishes, gravy boats, dessert and salad dishes, a soup tureen, a loving cup, and a smoking set.