Franklin D.
Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

USS Roosevelt
(DDG 80)

The USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB/CVA-42)*

(Photo: Christening of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt , April 29, 1945).

Photo of the christening of the USS Franklin RooseveltThe USS Roosevelt (DDG-80) was not the first naval ship named for Franklin Roosevelt. On April 29, 1945, seventeen days after President Roosevelt's death, Eleanor Roosevelt attended the christening of the new Midway -class aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt (CVB/CVA-42). Originally named the USS Coral Sea , the ship was renamed the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt as a memorial to the fallen Commander-in-Chief; it was a fitting tribute because President Roosevelt had been personally involved in the design of the new class of carriers and had a lifelong affection for the Navy. At the ceremony, Eleanor Roosevelt said, "I know that my husband would have felt very keenly and appreciated the thought of having this super-carrier given his name. It's no secret that he loved the Navy and would have liked always to be associated with it. He would watch this ship with great pride. So today I hope this ship will always do its duty in winning the war. I pray God to bless this ship and its personnel and keep them safe, and bring them home victorious" ( NY Times , April 30, 1945).

Photo of the USS Franklin
RooseveltAt the time of her completion, the USS Roosevelt was one of the largest naval ships ever built. She was more than 900 feet long, weighed 45,000 tons, and could carry over 80 aircraft; it took over 17 months to build the Roosevelt , at an expense of $90,000,000.

The new carrier was not finished before the end of World War II, but she was an integral part of the Fleet during the Cold War and helped enforce American containment policy against Communism. During the Greek Civil War the USS Roosevelt was on hand to aid the Greek government and participated in various other NATO operations. She assisted in the evacuation of American citizens from Cuba during the 1958 revolution and was prepared to do the same in the Middle East during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The only combat the Roosevelt saw was in Vietnam where she was deployed between June 1966 and February 1967; over 7,000 sorties were carried out off her deck during that time.

The USS Roosevelt was decommissioned on September 30, 1977.

*The USS Roosevelt was initially designated as a "Battle" aircraft carrier (CVB) but during the Korean War (around 1952) carriers took on an attack role and the Roosevelt was designated as an "Attack" aircraft carrier (CVA). When the Roosevelt was decommissioned, she carried the designation "CV," signifying her ability to handle a variety of missions.