The USS Antietam is named for a major battle in the American Civil War fought along Antie-tam Creek near the town of Sharpsburg in northwestern Maryland. It was the climax to the first of General Robert E. Lee's two major attempts to bring the war home to the North. Fought on 17 September 1862, it is renowned as the bloodiest single day in American military history. Though the battle ended in a tactical draw, it was a northern victory strategically because Lee was forced to withdraw, give up the offense, and resume a defensive posture in northern Virginia.
Current USS Antietam
USS Antietam (CG 54) is the eighth of the Ticonderoga class guided missile cruisers, third with the Mark-41 vertical launch system variant. Commissioned on 6 June 1987, has performed her mission and served on deployments for over twenty five years. Mission: To conduct prompt, sustained combat operations at sea, in defense of our Nation's interests. In War, our Combat Mission will be our first priority-all else follows. We will fight this ship to the maximum extent of her capabilities at all times. In Peace, OUR SAFETY will be first priority, closely followed by our preparations for combat operations, sustainment of training and material readiness and then our peacetime tasking.
The first Antietam—a screw sloop of war begun in 1864 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard—was not finished by the end of the Civil War. Instead, she remained on the stocks, about two-thirds completed until 1869. At that time, it was decided to complete her as an equipment storeship. She served as a storeship and marine barracks at League Island, Pa., from 1876 to 1888.
2nd USS Antietam
The second Antietam (CV-36) was laid down on March 15, 1942. by the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on August 20, 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Milliard E.Tydings, the wife of Senator Tydings of Maryland; and commissioned on January 28, 1945 with Captain James R. Tague in command.
The aircraft carrier completed fitting out in Philadelphia until March 2nd when she got underway for her shakedown cruise. The ship arrived in Hampton Roads Va. on the 5th and conducted operations from Norfolk until March 22nd when she stood out of Chesapeake Bay bound for Trinidad in the British West Indies. At the conclusion of her shakedown cruise, the Antietam returned to Philadelphia on April 28th to begin post shakedown availability. She completed repairs on May 19th and departed Philadelphia that same day. After a three day stop at Norfolk the warship resumed her voyage to the Panama Canal in company with the Higbee (DD-806), the George W. Ingram (APD-43) and the Ira Jeffery (APD-44.) She arrived at Cristobal on May 31st, transited the canal the next day and continued her voyage up the coast to San Diego, Ca. She stopped at San Diego from June 10th to the 13th before beginning the first leg of her transpacific voyage. The Antietam arrived in Pearl Harbor on the 19th and remained in the Hawaiian Islands conducting training missions until August 12th. On that day she shaped a course for the western Pacific.
Three days out of Oahu she received word of the Japanese capitulation and the consequent cessation of hostilities. Thus by the time of her arrival in Eniwetok Atoll on the 19th her mission changed from combat to occupation support duty. On the 21st she exited in company with the Cabot (CVL-28) and a screen of destroyers bound for Japan. En route she suffered some internal damage which forced her into port at Apra Harbor, Guam for inspections. The inspection party deemed the damage minimal and the carrier remained operational. She resumed her course on the 27th. By that time her destination had been changed to the coast off the Asian mainland. She stopped at Okinawa between August 30th and September 1st and arrived in Chinese waters near Shanghai the following day.
The aircraft carrier remained in the Far East for little more than three years. The Yellow Sea constituted her primary theater of operations while her air group provided support for the Allied occupation of North China, Manchuria, and Korea. During the latter stages of that assignment her airmen conducted surveillance missions in that area as a result of the civil war in China. Throughout the period she departed the Yellow Sea on occasion for visits to Japan, the Philippines, Okinawa and the Marianas. Early in 1949 she finished her mission and headed back to the United States for deactivation.
The Antietam remained in reserve at Alameda, Ca. until communist forces from the north invaded South Korea in the summer of 1950. She began reactivation preparation on December 6th and went back into commission on January 17, 1951 with Captain George J. Dufek in command. Initially the carrier conducted shakedown training and carrier qualifications along the California coast, first out of Alameda and then out of San Diego. She made one voyage to Pearl Harbor and back to San Diego in July and August before departing the latter port on September 8th and heading for the Far East. The Antietam arrived in the Far East later that fall and by late November began the only combat deployment of her career. During that tour she made four cruises with Task Force 77 in the combat zone off the coast of Korea. In between fighting assignments she returned to Yokosuka, Japan. During each of those periods her air group carried out a variety of missions in support of United Nations forces combatting North Korean aggression. Those missions included combat air patrol, logistics interdiction (particularly against railroad and highway traffic,) reconnaissance antisubmarine patrols and night heckler missions. Between late November 1951 and mid March 1952 the Antietam's air group flew nearly 6,000 sorties of all types. She returned to Yokosuka on March 21, 1952 at the conclusion of her fourth cruise with TF 77 to begin preparations for her voyage back to the United States.
The aircraft carrier returned home in April and rejoined the Pacific Reserve Fleet briefly. She was reactivated later that summer and in August transited the Panama Canal to join the Atlantic Fleet for major alterations. In October she was re-designated an attack aircraft carrier, CVA-36. In December the Antietam emerged from the yard as America's first angled deck aircraft carrier. She operated out of Quonset Point, R.I. until the beginning of 1955. During the intervening years she participated in numerous fleet and independent ship's exercises. After August 1953, at which time she was re-designated an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) carrier, CVS-36 Antietam concentrated upon honing her hunter/killer skills. In January 1955 she embarked upon a voyage to the Mediterranean Sea where she served with the 6th Fleet until March. Resuming duty with the Atlantic Fleet ASW forces, she operated along the eastern seaboard until the fall of 1956. In October of that year she cruised to the waters of the eastern Atlantic for NATO ASW exercises and goodwill visits to pots in Allied countries. While the carrier was in Rotterdam, the Suez crisis broke out in the eastern Mediterranean. The Antietam cut short her visit to the Netherlands and headed for the "middle sea" to bolster the 6th fleet during the evacuation of American citizens from Alexandria, Egypt. At the end of that assignment she conducted ASW training exercises with Italian naval officers before returning to Quonset Point on December 22nd.
After resuming operations along the eastern seaboard early in 1957 the Antietam was assigned on April 23, 1957 to training duty with the Naval Air Training Station in Pensacola, Fl. However, Mayport served as her home port because ships of her draft could not then enter port at Pensacola. For almost two years the aircraft carrier operated out of Mayport training new Navy pilots and conducting tests on new aviation equipment (most noteworthy on the Bell automatic landing system) during August of 1957. She also participated in annual Naval Academy Midshipmen cruises each summer.
In January 1959 after the deepening of the channel into Pensacola had been completed the Antietam's home port was changed from Mayport to Pensacola. For the remainder of her active career the carrier operated out of Pensacola as an aviation training ship. On two occasions she provided humanitarian aid to victims of hurricane damage. The first time was September of 1961 when she rushed to the Texas coast to provide supplies and medical assistance to the victims of Hurricane Carla. The second came just over a month when she carried medical supplies and personnel to British Honduras to help the victims of Hurricane Hattie. Otherwise she spent the final four years of her naval career in routine naval aviation training duty out of Pensacola. On October 23, 1962 the Antietam relieved by the Lexington (CVS-16) as aviation training ship at Pensacola and was placed on reserve on January 7, 1963. She remained in that status until she was decommissioned on May 8, 1963. Berthed at Philadelphia, Pa. she remained in reserve until May of 1973 when her name was struck from the Navy list. On February 28, 1974 she ws sold to the Union Minerals & Alloys Corp. for scrapping.
The Antietam earned two battle stars for service in the Korean conflict.