USS Valley Forge LPH-8 – Plastic Backing
A squadron patch of the USS Valley Forge LPH-8 with plastic backing
USS Valley Forge (CV/CVA/CVS-45, LPH-8) was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during and shortly after World War II for the United States Navy. The ship was the first US Navy ship to bear the name, and was named after Valley Forge, the 1777–1778 winter encampment of General George Washington’s Continental Army. Valley Forge was commissioned in November 1946, too late to serve in World War II, but saw extensive service in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. She was reclassified in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA), then to an antisubmarine carrier (CVS), and finally to an amphibious assault ship (LPH), carrying helicopters and Marines. As a CVS she served in the Atlantic and Caribbean. She was the prime recovery vessel for an early unmanned Mercury space mission. After conversion to an LPH she served extensively in the Vietnam War. Valley Forge was awarded eight battle stars for Korean War service and nine for Vietnam War service, as well as three Navy Unit Commendations.
Although she was extensively modified internally as part of her conversion to an amphibious assault ship, external modifications were minor, so throughout her career Valley Forge retained the classic appearance of a World War II Essex-class ship. She was decommissioned in 1970, and sold for scrap in 1971.