BACK TO HISTORY-
With an inspiring "Good Luck and good hunting" to wish her well , the BON HOMME RICHARD, 27,000 tons of bad news for the Axis, slid down the ways at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn at 4 P.M. yesterday, the thirteenth aircraft carrier of the ESSEX Class built since America's entry into the war.
Work at the yard was halted for half an hour to permit the workers, who had labored for more then a year on the 850-foot, $60,000,000 vessel, to witness her first dip. As she broke water with a splash that sent great waves rolling in ever growing circles, a small fleet of tugs closed in on her with whistles and sirens blaring. Then the big ship dropped anchor and they sidled up, preparatory to taking her to the outfitting dock.
After CV-31 was launched on November, 26, 1944, she was a long way from being ready to take her place with the combat fleet. When she left the shipyards and was moored at the outfitting dock, she still needed all her electronic equipment, gun mounts, and luxury items. She had a length of 872 feet and her extreme width at or about the flight deck (including all projections) was 147 feet, 6 inches. Her extreme beam, at or below the waterline, was 93 feet; and she had a designed speed of 33 knots. Her original armament was twelve 5-inch .38 caliber guns in four single mounts and four twin mounts and seventeen quadruple 40-mm antiaircraft mounts. Her designed compliment was 360 officers and 3,088 men.
When recommissioned 6 September, 1955, she had an angled and strengthened flight deck, enclosed bow, enlarged elevators, and steam catapults. She completed her conversion period 31 October, 1955 and commenced sea trials in the Alameda-San Diego area.