USS Langley (CVL-27)

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USS Langley (CVL-27) underway off Cape Henry on 6 October 1943 (80-G-87113).jpg
USS Langley
United States
Builder: New York Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: 11 April 1942
Launched: 22 May 1943
Commissioned: 31 August 1943
Decommissioned: 11 February 1947
Fate: Transferred to French Navy
Name: La Fayette
Commissioned: 1951
Decommissioned: 1963
Identification: R96
Fate: Sold for scrapping
General characteristics
Class and type: Independence-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 11,000 tons
Length: 622.5 ft (189.7 m)
  • 71.5 ft (21.8 m) (waterline)
  • 109 ft 2 in (33.27 m) (overall)
Draft: 26 ft (7.9 m)
Speed: 31 knots (57 km/h; 36 mph)
Complement: 1,569 officers and enlisted
Armament: 26 × 40 mm guns
Aircraft carried: 45 aircraft

USS Langley (CVL-27) was an 11,000-ton Independence-class light aircraft carrier that served the United States Navy from 1943 to 1947, and French Navy as La Fayette from 1951 to 1963. Named for Samuel Pierpont Langley, American scientist and aviation pioneer, Langley received nine battle stars for World War II service. CVL-27 carried on the name and tradition of USS Langley (CV-1), the first US Navy aircraft carrier, which had been sunk on 27 February 1942.


Langley leads Task Group 38.3 into Ulithi anchorage.

Langley was built at Camden, New Jersey. She was originally ordered as the light cruiser Fargo, but by the time her keel was laid in April 1942, she had been redesigned as an aircraft carrier, using the original cruiser hull and machinery. Commissioned in August 1943, Langley went to the Pacific late in the year and entered combat in World War II during the Marshall Islands operation in January–February 1944. During the next four months, her planes attacked Japanese positions in the central Pacific and western New Guinea. In June 1944, she took part in the assault on the Marianas and in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

Langley continued her war role through the rest of 1944, participating in the Palaus Operation, raids on the Philippines, Formosa and the Ryukyus, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf. In January–February 1945, she was part of the Third Fleet's foray into the South China Sea, the first massed carrier attacks on the Japanese Home Islands and the invasion of Iwo Jima. More combat activity followed in March–May, as Langley's planes again hit targets in Japan and supported the Okinawa operation. Overhauled in the U.S. in June and July, she was en route back to the Pacific war zone when the war ended in August.

Following service transporting Pacific veterans home, Langley went to the Atlantic Ocean, where she carried out similar missions in November 1945 – January 1946. Inactive at Philadelphia during the remainder of 1946, the carrier was decommissioned there in February 1947.

Later career[edit]

Langley was taken out of "mothballs" early in 1951, refurbished and transferred to France under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program. After more than a decade of French Navy service as La Fayette, she was returned to the United States in March 1963 and was sold for scrap a year later.[1]


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