Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024)
Naval Warfare

USS Kearsarge (CV-33)

Conventionally-Powered Aircraft Carrier [ 1946 ]

Part of the large World War 2-era Essex-class aircraft carrier force of the USN, USS Kearsarge managed a post-war career that included both the Korea and Vietnam conflicts.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/10/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Brought about during the heavy fighting in the Pacific Theater of World War 2 (1939-1945), USS Kearsarge (CV-33) was destined to not take part in that conflict due to its end arriving in August of 1945. However, this aircraft carrier became a major participant in the post-war actions concerning the Korean War (1950-1953) and the Vietnam War (1955-1975) that followed. She was part of the all-important Essex-class numbering twenty-four total ships that proved so critical to U.S. naval actions in the Pacific against the Japanese Empire. USS Kearsarge was laid down on March 1st, 1944 by the New York Naval Shipyard and launched on May 5th, 1945. She was formally commissioned for service on March 2nd, 1946.

USS Kearsarge followed the Essex-class design, featuring a stern-to-bow, full-length, straight-line flight deck. The island superstructure was offset to the starboard side in the typical way and dimensions included an overall length of 888 feet with a beam measuring 93 feet and a draught down to 28.6 feet. Displacement was 27,100 tons under standard load. Aboard was a crew of about 3,448 personnel including the air wing, which operated between 90 and 100 World War 2-era aircraft of various makes and models.

The warship was driven by a steam-based arrangement involving 8 x boiler units coupled to 4 x Westinghouse geared steam turbines developing 150,000 horsepower and driving 4 x shafts under stern. Maximum speed was 33 knots and range was out to 20,000 nautical miles.

Installed armament was purely defensive in nature, the warship relying on CAP (Combat Air Patrol) sorties and its accompanying fleet for ranged protection. The point-defense suite, however, was led by 4 x 5" (127mm) guns in twin-gunned emplacements, 4 x 5" guns in single-gunned emplacements and 8 x 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns in quadruple-gunned emplacements. The last-line-of-defense was 46 x 20mm Oerlikon autocannons in single-gunned installations.©MilitaryFactory.com
Armor protection included up to 4" at the belt and 2.5 inches at the hangar deck. The protection decks added 1.5 inches of coverage and the conning tower was secured by 1.5 inches of armor plate.

USS Kearsarge originally home-ported out of Norfolk, Virginia during her early career and managed several training actions in Caribbean waters throughout the latter part of 1946 before managing a trip to Britain the following year. Back in home waters, more exercises greeted the ship and her crews before a trip to the Mediterranean. On June 16th, 1950, she was decommissioned to undergo SCB-27A modification, the Essex-class program intended to bring the warship to a new fighting standard - namely supporting the operation of jet-powered aircraft about her deck.

On June 25th, 1950, elements of the North Korean Army invaded South Korea and pushed the United States back into war. USS Kearsarge was recommissioned for service on February 15th, 1952 and ended in Pacific Waters to begin her training, readiness phase and wartime tour. Once on station in the Far East, her warplanes were used in anger for nearly half of a year, recording some 6,000 total sorties that covered airspace denial and strike - all in support of ground forces. At about this time, her hull classification was revised to become "CVA-33".

With an uneasy armistice signed between North and South Korea to "end" the war, USS Kearsarge remained in Asian waters to serve as a deterrent from further Communist aggression (including protection for the island nation of Taiwan from Communist China). From 1956 until 1957, she underwent additional work which added improved seakeeping and an angled flight deck (running from aft-starboard to forward-portside). In 1958, she was given additional Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) equipment to better counter the threat of the growing Soviet undersea force and this ultimately led to another hull reclassification as "CVS-33". Her crews and aircraft then served in a humanitarian role following a devastating typhoon in Japan.

In August of 1962, she was used to recover the space capsule from Project Mercury and underwent various training exercises from then on. In the 1960s, she was stationed back in Asian waters as the Vietnam Conflict grew in its reach and attention. She began her tour by providing ASW service for the Navy fleet and had her warplanes engage enemy ground targets as they presented themselves. In 1965, she underwent an overhaul at Long Beach, California and remained in West Coast waters for the short-term before returning to the Far East once more. From October 1966 onward she took part in further actions surrounding the Vietnam War until, in December of that year, the warship was finally in home waters. By this time she was regularly operating jet-powered warplanes along her flight deck such as the classic Douglas A-4 "Skyhawk" fighter-bomber (detailed elsewhere on this site).

With the Vietnam War drawing down, the U.S. Navy began a purge of its aging fleet and USS Kearsarge fell victim. She was decommissioned on February 1970 and placed in reserve status for a period of three years before being struck from the Naval Register. In February of 1974, her stripped hulk was sold for scrap and her sailing days were officially over.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States



SHORT-HULL GROUP: USS Essex (CV-9); USS Yorktown (CV-10); USS Intrepid (CV-11); USS Hornet (CV-12); USS Franklin (CV-13); USS Lexington (CV-16); USS Bunker Hill (CV-17); USS Wasp (CV-18); USS Bennington (CV-20); Bon Homme Richard (CV-31); Oriskany (CV-34) LONG-HULL GROUP: Ticonderoga (CV-14); Randolph (CV-15); USS Hancock (CV-19); USS Boxer (CV-21); USS Leyte (CV-32); USS Kearsarge (CV-33); USS Reprisal (CV-35); USS Antietam (CV-36); USS Princeton (CV-37); USS Shangri-La (CV-38); USS Lake Champlain (CV-39); USS Tarawa (CV-40); USS Valley Forge (CV-45); USS Iwo Jima (CV-46); USS Philippine Sea (CV-47)

National flag of the United States United States (retired)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Flag Ship / Capital Ship
Serving in the fleet Flag Ship role or Capital Ship in older warship designs / terminology.

888.0 ft
270.66 m
93.0 ft
28.35 m
28.6 ft
8.72 m

Installed Power: 8 x Boilers feeding 4 x Westinghouse geared steam turbines developing 150,000 horsepower to 4 x Shafts.
Surface Speed
33.0 kts
(38.0 mph)
19,999 nm
(23,015 mi | 37,039 km)

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
4 x 5" (127mm) /38 caliber guns in twin-gunned turrets
4 x 5" (127mm) /38 caliber guns in single-gunned turrets
8 x 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns in quadruple-gunned turrets.
46 x 20mm Oerlikon AA guns in single-gunned emplacements.

Supported Types

Graphical image of an aircraft automatic cannon

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
Between 90 and 100 aircraft of various makes and models. Later support of jet-powered reduced this number some.

Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War period
Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.

Images Gallery

1 / 3
Image of the USS Kearsarge (CV-33)
Image from the Public Domain.
2 / 3
Image of the USS Kearsarge (CV-33)
Image from the Public Domain; USS Kearsarge circa April 1946.
3 / 3
Image of the USS Kearsarge (CV-33)
Image from the Public Domain; USS Kearsarge in Anti-Submarine Carrier guise, 1960s.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)