USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31)

Bon Homme Richard after recommissioning in 1951. Aside from a new radar, her appearance is unchanged from World War II. US Navy photo.

Nation
Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down
1943
Launched
1944
Commissioned
1944
Decommissioned
1971
AD/BC
AD
History

The fourth ship to be assigned the name, and the second to actually carry it, USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) was an Essex class aircraft carrier, laid down 1 February, 1943. Commissioned 26 November, 1944, she did not begin her combat deployment until June, when she arrived off Okinawa. Bon Homme Richard participated in strikes on Japan through the end of the War, and made transport runs as part of Operation Magic Carpet from November, 1945, through January, 1946. Bon Homme Richard decommissioned in 1947, but was reactivated after the outbreak of the Korean War. Recommissioned in January, 1951, she went through the Korean War with only propeller-driven aircraft, earning five Battle Stars. Bon Homme Richard underwent modernization in 1953-55, giving her the ability to operate jets. Redesignated CVA-31, before the modernization, Bon Homme Richard spent the next decade on regular deployments to the western Pacific. She also made two deployments to the Indian Ocean, one in 1959-60, and one in 1964. During the Vietnam War, Bon Homme Richard conducted five combat tours, the last completing in 1970. She was decommissioned 2 July, 1971, and kept in reserve until 1991. Bon Homme Richard was scrapped the following year.

Bonus Photos

Bon Homme Richard during her 1958-59 deployment. She has undergone modernization at this point, the most noticeable part in this picture being the angled flight deck. US Navy photo.

Bonus Information

What Are the Odds?: The keynote speaker at Bon Homme Richard's decommissioning ceremony was her former commanding officer Rear Admiral George Morrison, father of the Doors' lead singer, Jim. Jim died of a drug overdose the following day.