La Fayette (R96)


La Fayette (R96)

The La Fayette (R96) was an 11,000-ton Sclass|Independence|aircraft carrier that served French Navy as the from 1951 to 1963. She was the first French vessel named after the 18th century general Marquis de Lafayette. She was previously the USS "Langley" (CVL-27), serving the United States Navy from 1943 to 1947.

History

Built at Camden, New Jersey, the "Langley" was originally ordered as the light cruiser USS "Fargo" (CL-85), but by the time her keel was laid in April 1942, she had been redesigned as an aircraft carrier, using the original cruiser hull and machinery. Commissioned in August 1943, "Langley" served in the Pacific theatre during World War 2. The carrier was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in February 1947.

"Langley" was taken out of "mothballs" early in 1951, refurbished and transferred to France under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program. Based in Toulon, "La Fayette" carried out many missions in the Far East until June 1953. During this action, her airgroup included F6F Hellcats and SB2C Helldivers. Modernized in 1953-1954, she served in the Mediterranean and on the African coasts. In early 1956 she returned to Indo-China which had been partitioned after the cease fire equipped with F4U Corsairs and TBF Avengers. She was invloved in the Suez Crisis air and landing operations along with Arromanches (R 95) and British carriers beginning in October 1956. In March 1960, "La Fayette" participated in the rescue operations in the Moroccan city of Agadir, damaged by an earthquake. It then took part in the repatriation of the first refugees from Algeria. After more than a decade of French Navy service, she was returned to the United States in March 1963 and was sold for scrap a year later. [ [http://www.netmarine.net/bat/porteavi/lafayett/index.htm Porte-avions La Fayette ] ]

In French service, "La Fayette" sailed nearly 350,000 nautical, its planes having carried out 19,805 landings. The "La Fayette" was awarded the Military Cross for its first missions in Indo-China. The name of "La Fayette" is now carried by the frigate "La Fayette" (F710).

References

* [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-l/cvl27.htm The original version of this article based on US Navy public domain text.]
*DANFS|http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/l3/langley-ii.htm

External links

* [http://www.netmarine.net/bat/porteavi/lafayett/index.htm PA. La Fayette R96 "(USS Langley in the French Navy)"]
* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/27.htm navsource.org: USS "Langley"]
* [http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/carriers/cvl27.htm hazegray.org: USS "Langley"]
* [http://wgordon.web.wesleyan.edu/kamikaze/books/ships/monsarrat/index.htm "Angel on the Yardarm: The Beginnings of Fleet Radar Defense and the Kamikaze Threat"] - Review of book by John Monsarrat, who served aboard "Langley" during major battles of the Pacific War from January 1944 to May 1945.
* [http://www.ninesisters.com/langley.htm USS Langley] at Nine Sisters Light Carrier Historical Documentary Project


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