This HD Action Shot Aboard the Carrier Shangri-La Takes Us Back to a Colorful Time
The Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La (CVA-38) was launched on 24 February 1944 and commissioned later that same year on 15 September. Named for the fictional setting of the James Hilton novel ‘Lost Horizon’ the “Shang” earned two Battle Stars fighting her way across the Pacific during World War II. She was decommissioned and laid up from 1947 until 1951, when she was brought back into service for the Korean War. Shangri-La deployed with the Seventh Fleet to the Western Pacific (WestPac) five times and to the Mediterranean (Med) with the 6th Fleet seven times before her final deployment to the Tonkin Gulf in 1970. This gorgeous HD footage from film, uploaded to YouTube by SuperCanopus, was shot aboard the Shangri-La during her 1962 Med deployment.
Shang’s Second Med Cruise
Shangri-La’s 1962 Med deployment was her second deployment to that region and her second with Carrier Air Group TEN (CVG-10) embarked. The carrier departed Naval Station Mayport in Florida bound for the Med on 7 February 1962 and returned 28 August 1962. CVG/CVW-10 would deploy aboard the Shang three more times before CVW-8 took over.
Bird Farm Birds
During their 1962 Med deployment aboard Shangri-La, CVG-10 consisted of VF-13 Night Cappers flying the Douglas F4D-1 Skyray, VMF-251 Thunderbolts flying the Vought F8U-1E Crusader, VA-46 Clansmen and VA-106 Gladiators flying the Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawk, VA-176 Thunderbolts flying the Douglas AD-5 and AD-6 Skyraider, a Detachment from VFP-62 Fighting Photos flying the F8U-1P Crusader, a Detachment from VAW-12 Bats flying the Grumman WF-2 Tracer, and a Detachment from HU-2 Fleet Angels flying the Piasecki HUP-2 Retriever and Sikorsky HUS-1 Seahorse.
VMF-251 became the first Marine Corps F8U Crusader-equipped squadron to deploy aboard the boat. The Thunderbolts set a record for Sixth-Fleet F8U squadrons clocking more than 500 flight hours. VMF-251 and Shangri-La port calls during the 1962 Med deployment included Cannes in France, Palermo in Italy, Rhodes and Athens in Greece, Istanbul in Turkey, Malta, and Genoa, Livorno, Naples, and Rapallo in Italy. The footage in the video was shot for the German film ‘Mediterranean Holiday’ (AKA ‘Flying Clipper’), which was apparently a real stinker- even when released in the United States in the early 1960s with Burl Ives doing some narration for the film. But we’re glad the footage is out there because it’s some of the best you’ll see.