USS BOXER HISTORY

USS Boxer (CV-21, CVA-21, CVS-21 and LPH-4), 1945-1969

USS Boxer, a 27,100-ton Essex class aircraft carrier, was built at Newport News, Virginia. Commissioned on April 16, 1945, she did not complete initial training in time to participate in World War II operations, but was actively employed in the Pacific during the Post-War years, making ten deployments to the Western Pacific from September 1945 into 1957. Boxer had just returned to the U.S. from her third deployment when the Korean War broke out in late June 1950.  She carried badly-needed Air Force and Navy planes and personnel to the war zone in a record Pacific transit during July, then was quickly outfitted for combat service and spent September and October 1950 providing air support for United Nations' forces fighting ashore.

Boxer made three more Korean War cruises, in March-October 1951, March-September 1952 and May-November 1953. Her planes, along with those from other Task Force 77 carriers, hit transportation and infrastructure targets in North Korea and gave close air support to troops fighting on the front lines. On 5 August 1952, while engaged in combat operations, she suffered damage and casualties when a fire broke out in her hangar deck, but was able to return to duty off Korea after two weeks of repairs. Following her last Korean War deployment, which extended into the post-Armistice period, Boxer served as a Seventh Fleet attack carrier (CVA) on two more cruises, in 1954 and in 1955-56. Converted to an anti-submarine warfare aircraft carrier (CVS) in early 1956, she made a final Western Pacific tour in that role during 1956-57.

Later in 1957, Boxer operated briefly as an experimental assault helicopter aircraft carrier, an indication of things to come for her, the Navy and the Marine Corps. In 1958, she was flagship for Operation "Hardtack", a nuclear weapons test program in the Central Pacific. Late in that year, she was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet as an "interim amphibious assault ship" and was formally redesignated LPH-4 on 30 January 1959.

For the next decade, Boxer and her "main battery" of Marines and transport helicopters were vital components of the United States' amphibious warfare capabilities. She mainly operated in the Caribbean area, including participation in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the 1965 Dominican Republic intervention. She deployed to European waters in late 1964 to participate in Operation "Steel Pike". In mid-1965, Boxer served as an aircraft transport, carrying more than two-hundred Army helicopters and airplanes to Vietnam as part of the deployment of the First Cavalry Division (Air Mobile). After serving as a spacecraft recovery vessel in early 1966, she made a second trip to Vietnam, this time carrying Marine Corps aircraft. Boxer was decommissioned in December 1969 and was sold for scrap in February 1971.

The Boxer of the 21st Century

The sixth ship to carry the name BOXER would be the fourth ship of the new Wasp Class Multi-purpose Assault Ship (LHD). Fabrication work for LHD4 began at Litton-Ingalls in Pascagoula, Mississippi on July 9, 1990. The ship's keel was authenticated on April 08, 1991 and the ship was launched on August 13, 1993. The ship was official christened the USS Boxer (LHD 4) on August 28, 1993. After post-launch outfitting and testing, Ingalls delivered the ship to the U.S. Navy on November 21, 1994. On February 11, 1995, the USS Boxer (LHD-4) was officially commissioned into the United States Navy as its fourth Multipurpose Amphibious Assault Ship, almost four years after construction on her began. The Boxer began an extensive workup period which included the ships maiden voyage from Pascagoula, Mississippi to San Diego, California through the Panama Canal. Barely small enough to fit through the Canal, Boxer arrived in San Diego, CA on March 15, 1995 minus the bridge wing located on the superstructure just off the main bridge. The bridge wing along with several other minor pieces of the ship were sheared off during the narrow transit through the Canal. In October 1996, after minor repairs and complete system check-outs, Boxer began the workup cycle for its first Western Pacific (WESPAC) Deployment from March 24, 1997 to September 24, 1997. During the deployment USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) consisted of USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS Ogden (LPD 5), and USS Fort Fisher (LSD 40) with Commander Amphibious Squadron Seven (CPR-7) and 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked. Boxer ARG participated in several foreign relations exercises during the deployment with Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Jordan. The Boxer also showed the American flag abroad by visiting Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Eritrea, Indonesia and Australia. It had been the first time a ship named "Boxer" had been deployed overseas in 27 years. Returning to San Diego on September 24, 1997, Boxer began it first Planned Maintenance Availability (PMA) and training period. However, in June 1998, Boxer departed for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to take place in one of the U.S. Navy's largest joint naval exercises called RIMPAC. For over a month the Boxer's Marine assault forces use the ship as a springboard to carry out mock amphibious landings by using Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), conventional landing craft and helicopters to move troops onto the beaches. These landings were carried out for over a month while Boxer operated just off the coast of Hawaii, supporting Marines ashore and providing Harrier jets for close air support. Arriving in port San Diego on July 13, 1998, Boxer immediately began its second work-up cycle in preparation for a second WESPAC to begin in December 1998. Just 15 months after the first WESPAC, Boxer departed on its second overseas deployment on December 05, 1998. The CPR-7 continued to serve as USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group's (ARG) embarked staff, however, the 15th MEU was replaced by the 13th MEU. Boxer ARG's support ships consisted this time of the USS Cleveland (LPD 7), and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49). Boxer ARG again participated in several foreign relations exercises during the deployment with Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. However, just days after Boxer ARG departed San Diego, the U.S. Navy launched attacks into Iraq during "Operation Desert Fox." Boxer arrived in the Arabian Gulf Theater only after the hostilities subsided, however, Boxer ARG was dispatch to the Red Sea when the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia threatened to cause the evacuation of U.S. Citizens. After 58 days underway, hostilities between the two African countries calmed down and Boxer ARG was able to continue with its deployment. The Boxer also again showed the American flag abroad like its first deployment by visiting Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Kenya, Indonesia and Australia. Returning to San Diego on June 05, 1999, Boxer began it second Planned Maintenance Availability (PMA) and training period. Presently, Boxer is already beginning its third work-up cycle in preparation for its third WESPAC that will take place in March 2001; 21 months after its second deployment.

USS BOXER CV21/CVA21/CVS21/LPH4

COMMANDING OFFICERS

DONALD F. SMITH             CAPT. USN              APR 1945      JUN 1946

ROBERT H. HUNTER        CAPT. USN              JUN 1946      JUL 1947

S.C. RING                             CAPT. USN              JUL 1947      JUL 1948

STEADMAN TELLER        CAPT. USN              JUL 1948      JUL 1949

JOHN B. MOSS                   CAPT. USN              JUL 1949      JUL 1950

CAMERON BRIGGS           CAPT. USN              JUL 1950      AUG 1951

DENNIS J. SULLIVAN       CAPT. USN              AUG 1951     AUG 1952

MARSHALL B. GURNEY  CAPT. USN              AUG 1952     AUG 1953

B. E. MOORE                       CAPT. USN              AUG 1953     JUL 1954

JAMES R. MILLS, JR.        CAPT. USN              JUL 1954      AUG 1955

FRANK B. MILLER             CAPT. USN              AUG 1955     SEP 1956

WILLIAM P. WOODS          CAPT. USN              SEP 1956      OCT 1957

JAMES E. VOSE                 CAPT. USN              OCT 1957      DEC 1957

IRVIN L. DEW                      CAPT. USN              DEC 1957     DEC 1959

EDWIN B. PARKER           CAPT. USN              DEC 1959     DEC 1960

EDGAR E. STEBBINS       CAPT. USN              DEC 1960     FEB 1962

JAMES B. WALLACE        CAPT. USN              FEB 1962      JAN 1963

EDWARD T. DEACON       CAPT. USN              JAN 1963      JAN 1964

CHARLES S. WALLINE    CAPT. USN              JAN 1964      JAN 1965

WALTER M. SESSUMS     CAPT. USN              JAN 1965      DEC 1965

ALBERT O. MORTON        CAPT. USN              DEC 1965     JAN 1967

HENRY J. COOKE              CAPT. USN              JAN 1967      FEB 1968

R. F. HUNT                           CAPT. USN              FEB 1968      MAR 1969

LESTER B. LAMPMAN      CAPT. USN              MAR 1969     DEC 1969

EVENTS IN SERVICE

The following chronology covers the USS BOXER CV21/CVA21/CVS21/LPH4/LHD4.

This page is under construction.  As information is developed, updates will be made.  Webmaster www.ussboxer.org

1943
430913 Built at Newport News SB & DD Co. Date keel laid

1944
441214  Launch: Ruth D.Overton, daughter.- Sen. John H. Overton, LA
441214  Launching: Huge bow poster reads "HERE WE GO TO TOKYO"
441214  Named: Captured British ship in 1813 by USS ENTERPRISE

1945
450129  Geometric ship's aircraft ID, 2 chevrons pointing down
450416  Commissioned at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth
450416  Ship's patch insignia in color, HOOK Winter 84
450416  NXOP, Ship signal flag and radio call sign issued
450416  New CO: Smith, Donald F. 1st CO
450416  Nickname : BUSY BEE, (1st-SHOWBOAT)
450500 -- 450600 : est. Shakedown cruise to Guantanamo Bay 6/16
450500  CVG-93 attached to Aug 45, squadrons in file
450718 -- 450729 : Norfolk, Panama Canal (7/23), San Diego home
450723  Panama Canal transit, Atlantic to Pacific, enroute San Diego
450727  Carrier aircraft ship assignment code, ZZ
450729  Homeport : San Diego, to end of CVS service
450812  Open House held at Hunters Point, San Francisco NSY
450901 -- 460909 : 1st WestPac cruise. San Diego, Guam, Yellow Sea
450901  Air Group 93 / Air Group 80, Tail code ZZ
450911  Operates from Guam as flagship of Task Force 77
450929 --460510 : Navy Occupation Service Medal for 3 periods
451007  China Coast Service Medal dates; to 4 Jun 46

1946
460510  Navy Occupation Service Medal in Asiatic waters
460600  New CO: Hunter, Robert H.
460909  During cruise at Manila for Philippine Independence celebrations
460909  Port calls : Tsingtao, Japan, Hong Kong, Guam, Saipan, Okinawa, Manila
461107  Carrier aircraft ship assignment code, B

1947
470700  New CO : Ring, Stanhope C. Previously last CO of SARATOGA, CV-3

1948
480310  1st jet operates routinely from Essex class, off California, FJ-1, VF-5A
480400  Cruise to Pearl Harbor
480700 -- 480800 : Midshipmen cruise to Pearl Harbor
480700  New CO: Teller, Steadman
481027  Navy Day celebration at Santa Monica, CA

1949
490113 -- 490225 : Gulf of Alaska, Kodiak Island for cold weather ops / tests
490301  Cruise to Pearl Harbor via San Diego
490400 Overhaul period in Hunters Pt., San Francisco Naval Yard
490700 New CO: Moss, John B.
490720 Ship dinner/dance at Veterans Memorial Hall, Oakland,CA

1950
500111  -- 500613 : 2nd WestPac cruise. So. China Sea, ret.  Alameda
500111  CVG-19 embarked, Tail code B
500129 -- 500408 : Navy Occupation Service Medal for 2 periods
500129 -- 500205 & Apr 01 -05 : Navy Occupation Service Medal in Asiatic waters
500211 -- 500216 : & Apr 10-16, 1950 China Coast Service Medal
500407  Port call:  Inchon ,  Korea . To Apr 9
500408  Pres. Syngman Rhee of Korea visits ship at Inchon
500613  Port calls : Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines
500625  Korea War outbreak status: San Diego homeport
500708  Alameda. Readies to transport 1,012 men & planes to   Japan
500717 -- 500804 : 3rd WestPac.   Alameda  . Transports planes & troops to   Japan  .
500717  Urgent transports 145 F-51D, Mustang; 6 L-5; 19 Navy. Total 170 aircraft
500717  CVG-101, Tail code A
500723 -- 500728 :  Yokosuka ,  Japan for debarkation of men, aircraft, & supplies
500728   New CO : Briggs, Cameron. At sea by high-line. Estimate date in July
500728  Editor, Report from the Boxer. OUR NAVY Mid Sept 1950. Trip report
500824 -- 501111 : 1st  Korea war cruise. Inchon ,  Wonsan landing aid.  Alameda
500824  CVG-2 embarked, Tail code M
500828  F6F-5K drone aircraft flown into  Korea combat. Controlled by AD-2Q. File
500915  Supported landings at  Inchon . 8 Korea battle stars, part of TF 77
501009  Supports  Wonsan Harbor,  Korea capture with CVs-32,45,& 47
501111  Korea Service Medal (wartime duty off Korean coasts)
501111  Spellout as arrives at  San Francisco " BOXER "
501114 -- 501222 : Minor overhaul at San Francisco NSY after cruise

1951
510000  Movie `SUBMARINE COMMAND' sequences filmed aboard
510302--511024 : 2nd  Korea war cruise. China coast operations
510302  CVG-101 embarked, Tail code A (squadrons in file)
510408 -- 510415 : Patrols the Formosa Straits to counter Red China threats
510410 -- 510415 : China Service Medal for Formosa Straits operations
510800  New CO: Sullivan, Dennis J.
510901  Participates in biggest raid on N. Korea, 144 planes from 9, 21, 37
511024  Yokosuka, Japan used for several liberty calls, ship replenishment & repair
511024  Korea Service Medal (wartime duty off Korean coasts)
511223  Bob Hope aboard 12/15 & /23 for Christmas show, San Diego
511223  1st nationwide telecast live from a ship, Bob Hope, XMAS

1952
520208 -- 520926 : 3rd  Korea war cruise. Fatal fire aboard
520208  CVG-2 embarked, Tail code M (squadrons in file)
520623  Participates in Suiho,  Yalu  River power plants raid
520729  Port call:  Yokosuka . Boy Scouts tour ship, galley
520804  New CO: Gurney, Marshall B.
520806  Gas explodes in hangar while on station off Korea, 9 die, 2 critical injured
520828  Radio controlled F6F-5K launched to bomb Korean bridge
520828  1st carrier use of guided missile (F6F) into combat. HOOK Fa 90, p23
520926  Yokosuka, Japan used for several liberty calls, ship replenishment & repair
520926  ER Korea Service Medal (wartime duty off Korean coasts)
521001  AH Designated CVA-21, attack carrier

1953
530300  Editors. BATTLING BOXER FLINGS 1-2 PUNCH, POP.SCI. Mr53
530330 -- 531128 : 4th  Korea war cruise. South China Sea patrol
530330  ATG-1 embarked, Tail code Mixed
530727  8 battle stars awarded for Korea War actions
530727  Korea Service Medal, post-hostilities duty in Korean waters
530808   New CO : Moore, Benjamin E. Jr. USNA ' 27. Probably at  Sasebo,  Japan
531128  Cruise ends at  Alameda NAS
531128  Port calls: Hong Kong;  Sasebo,  Japan
531128  Korea Service Medal (wartime duty off Korean coasts)

1954
540303 -- 541011 : 8th WestPac.  Tonkin Gulf . French collapse
540303  CVG-12 embarked, Tail code D
540717   New CO : Mills, James R., USNA ' 29
541011 -- 550200 : Extensive overhaul at San Francisco NSY

1955
550603 - 560203 : 9th WestPac. Formosa Straits. HOOK, Summer 90 p30
550603  CVG-14 embarked, Tail code A. CDR A. W. Newhall
550704  July 4th spent at Yokosuka, Japan
560203  Port calls: Pearl Harbor, Yokosuka, Sasebo, Subic Bay, Hong Kong, Guam
550803  New CO: Miller, Frank B.. At  Subic Bay
551115  Designated CVS-21, anti-submarine warfare carrier
551119  Spell out: BOXER 75,000 LANDINGS. During WestPac

1956
560203   Yokosuka , Subic Bay 7/26,  Sasebo 8/22,  Hong Kong
560709 --570130 : 10th WestPac cruise. Logs 79,000th landing
560709  VS-23 and HS-4 embarked, Tail code Mixed
560813  Port call in Hong Kong ended due to   Suez  crisis.
560900  New CO: Woods, William P. USNA ' 31

1957
570315 -- 570715 : Extensive overhaul at Puget Sound NSY
571000  Participates with Marines in Helilex I, II, III
571000  New CO: Vose, James E. "Moe' Jr. USNA ' 34. WWII VB-17
571026 --571200 : Long Beach NSY. Preparations for Operation Hardtack

1958
580101  Boxer in Long Beach Naval Shipyard
580215  Departed for  Pearl Harbor
580215  HMR-361 aboard for atomic bomb test series support
580215--580828 : San Diego, CTG 7.3, Bikini atom bomb test area
580704  Rescues C-124 plane crew (4 souls) enroute Johnston Is. test area
580820  New CO: Dew, Irvin L. "Ike". USNA ' 33. Last CO as CVS 21
581014-- 581101 : San Diego, Panama Canal (10/24), Norfolk
581014  Final homeport : San Diego as CVS 21
581024  Last aircraft carrier to transit Panama Canal
581024  Panama Canal transit, Pacific to Atlantic, enroute Norfolk. Last CV transit

1959
590130  Designated LPH-4, amphibious assault ship
590131  No SCB modernizations (angled flight deck) during service as CV. FRAM as LPH
590811  New CO: Parker, Edwin B. USNA ' 35

1960
600919  New CO: Stebbins, Edgar E.

1961
620200  New CO: Wallace, James B.

1963
630100  New CO: Deacon, Edward T.

1964
640100  New CO: Walline, Charles S.

1965
650108  New CO: Sessums, William M. Capt
650200  Short periods at sea
650300  Short period at sea
650401  BOXER deploys for “Ready Squadron”
650425  BOXER ordered to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
650426  BOXER on station for possible evacuation of US citizens
650427  Conditions require the landing of embarked troops to restore order and safeguard American lives
650500  1,000 civilians, mostly women and children were brought aboard BOXER
650629  Norfolk
650810  BOXER underway for Mayport;
650811  Arrived Mayport
650800  Army First Cavalry Division (Air Mobile) loaded aboard; 205 helicopters, 6 OV-1 Mohawk fixed wing aircraft; 1,200 Army personnel
650909  Arrive Cam Rahn Bay, South Vietnam to off-load 6 OV-1s
650910  Arrive Qui Nhon to off-load Helos over the next 5 days
650915  Arrive Cam Rahn Bay to off-load additional materials
650900--651000  Subic Bay, PI; Hong Kong, BCC; Naples, Italy; Barcelona, Spain
651028  Norfolk, VA after steaming 26,000 miles
651200 CO New CO: Morton, Albert C.

1966
660100  Pier 12 Norfolk
660200  Pier 12 Norfolk; South Atlantic as prime recovery for the first Apollo unmanned space mission; Equator crossing and Shellback initiation
660226  BOXER hoists the spacecraft aboard
660300  Pier 7 Norfolk; off Bermuda as primary recovery ship for Gemini 8 manned space shot; technical difficulties required the splashdown off Okinawa
660426  BOXER enroute to Vietnam with Helos and HMM 265;  Rota, Spain
660500  Aden-refueling ; Nha Trang; Quy Nhon; Da Nang
660600  Hong Kong; Naples, Italy; Palma, Majorca; Rota, Spain
660713  Pier 12 Norfolk
660825  Maneuvered to Portsmouth by 7 tugs due to generator failure
660912  BOXER underway Carib 3-66
660900  MEBLEX 1-66 Vieques; St. Thomas, VI; Guantanamo Bay
661000  Area of Haiti/Dominican Republic hurricane aid/relief ; Roosevelt Roads; Cristobal, Panama
661100  Kingston, Jamaica, Vieques; Culebra;  Roosevelt Roads; St. Thomas

661200  Pier 7  Norfolk


1967
670131  CO New CO: Cooke, Henry J. H. Capt.
670100  Pier 7 Norfolk
670203  Pier 11 Boston Naval Shipyard
670000  New flight deck planking; re-tube all boilers; new refractory material; new data processing system
670629  Sea trials off Cape Cod; Pier 11 Boston NSY
670715  Overhaul complete; put to sea for Norfolk
670800  re-arm; Guantanamo Bay
670900  Montego Bay, Jamaica
670911  Put to sea to avoid Hurricane Beulah
670925  Pier 12 Norfolk
671000  Onslow Beach; Mayport, FL
671100  Pierside New Orleans, LA for OPEN HOUSE, 9,000+ visitors; Pier 7 Norfolk

1968
680131 CO New CO: Hunt Robert F.
680208  BOXER suffered moderate damage to the forecastle during a storm off  Onslow Beach .
680113  BOXER deploys for Carib 1-68.
680300  Vieques; Guantanamo Bay
680400  Kingston, Jamaica; St. Thomas; St. Croix; Roosevelt Roads
680500  St. Thomas; Vieques;  Cristobal ,  Panama ; Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
680600  Pier 7  Norfolk .
680700   NAMMIDLEX Midshipmem cruise
680800  Onslow Beach; Pier 12 Norfolk
680900  Onslow Beach, Pier 12 Norfolk
681000  BOXER deploys for Carib 3-68; Onslow Beach
681100  Culebra; Vieques; Roosevelt Roads; Guantanamo Bay; St. Thomas
681200  Vieques; Christmas in Roosevelt Roads

1969
690100  Panama jungle training for Landing Force and ship’s Landing Party
690100  Cartegena, Columbia; Colon, Panama; Laguaira/Caracas Venezuela
690200  St. Thomas; Vieques, Onslow Beach; pier 7 Norfolk
690327  Pier 88 New York City
690311 CO Last CO as LPH: Lester B Lampman to Dec 1, 1969
690327  Pier 88 New York City
690700  Yard Period Newport News; Nassau, Bahamas; Guantanamo Bay, 7/20 Neil Armstrong first step on the moon.  Rescue of three Cuban children from an inner tube after two days adrift. Moved children to Guantanamo Bay
690800   Port-Au-Prince,  Haiti ; landed twin-engine, fixed wing OV-10A Bronco without arresting gear. Captain Lampman served as LSO
690800  Crew party in Virginia Capes Operating Area; Pier 7 Norfolk; COMPHIBRON EIGHT moves command to Guam; SECNAV announces BOXER to be decommissioned effective 120101.
690900  Board of Inspection and Survey recommends BOXER be stricken from the Naval Register and disposed of, with minimum cost to the government.
691201 AL Stricken from Naval Register
691201 AO Final decommissioning as LPH-4, scrapped
691201 DA Navy Dept. HISTORY OF USS BOXER CVS-21, updated, 34 pp.

Partial history of Phibron Ten

Partial history provided by Rudy Muller

1958 - Official Naval historical records show. " Amphibious Squadron Ten was established on October 22, 1958 and consisted of USS Boxer CVS-21 (Flagship), Plymouth Rock LSD-29, Fort Snelling LSD-30, Speigal Grove LSD-32 and Hermitage LSD-34 . The formation of Phibron Ten marked the Navy's designation of a tactical unit of high speed ships as an amphibious assault force capable of transporting troops, boats and helicopters over long distances and launching an amphibious attack by sea and air. There slogan was " By sea, by air anytime, anywhere".

1959  onward -  January 30, 1959 the Boxer was redesignated LPH-4 remaining with Phibron Ten and playing a major role in the development of the vertical envelopment concept of amphibious warfare and maintaining an over-the-beach assault capability. Phibron Ten operated regularly throughout the Caribbean, called at Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Guantanamo Bay. On occasion the Uss Rankin AKA-130 and Desoto County LST 1171 operated with Phibron Ten.

1961 - with tensions rising with Cuba, Boxer along with ships of Phibron Ten operated in and around the waters off the coast of Cuba on constant standby for this she earned the Navy Expeditionary Medal.

1962 -  For the period June 25 to September 6, 1962, the Boxer LPH-4 participated with forces of Amphibious Squadron Ten in exercise PHIBULEX 2-62 in a disclosed location within the Caribbean, maintaining a by sea and air amphibious attack capability. During the Cuban Missile Crisis of October and November 1962 occasioned by the discovery of intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Cuba, Boxer operated in the force which was marshalled in waters, prepared for any eventuality, for this she earned the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

1963 - Phibron Ten and various components of the 2nd Marine Battalion departed Norfolk, In late February, the squadron visited the Dominican Republic, for the the inauguration of President Juan Bosch, the county's first elected president.