Current USS Lake Champlain
USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) was laid down March 3rd, 1986 at Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagula, Mississipi and commissioned a little over two years later on 12 August 1988 at Intrepid Pier at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City with Captain Ralph K. Martin as the commanding officer.
In 1997 Lake Champlain participated in Exercise Kernel Blitz '97 and was part of Operation Southern Watch.
Guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) participated in exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2004.
In October 2005 USS Lake Champlain was part of Commander, Carrier Strike Group 7 and got her composite unit training with the aircraft carrier USS Reagan.
In April 2007 USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), assigned to Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, was deployed in support of operations in the western Pacific.
In June 2008 USS Lake Champlain participated in Portland Fleet Week and the Rose Festival.
The USS Lake Champlain won the 2009 Battle E award.
The guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) returned to its homeport of San Diego May 6 2011, after completing a seven-month independent deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. She also participated in Portland Fleet Week and the Rose Festival.
In May 2012 USS Lake Champlain was awarded 2012 Safety Excellence Award. She also returned to San Diego May 6, after an independent seven-month deployment to the Atlantic and U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility (AOR).
In September 2012 USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) successfully completed Combat Systems Ship Qualifications Trials (CSSQT) after three weeks at sea.
Always a West Coast Ship, she sailed soon after her commissioning ceremony for San Diego. Lake Champlain has deployed to the Western Pacific ten times, including operations in support of Desert Shield, Desert Storm, enforcing the no-fly zone over Iraq, and recently in support of the global war on terror. Armed with Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, Standard SM-2 Surface to Air Missiles, two 5 inch Dual Purpose Guns, and two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, Lake Champlain is a truly modern battle machine - but is little more than welded steel and microchips without her crew of over 350.
1st USS Lake Champlain
The first USS Lake Champlain was launched by Superior Shipbuilding Co. on 31 July 1917 under USSB contract and was acquired by the US Navy on 19 January 1918. She was commissioned USS Lake Champlain on 24 January of that same year by Lt. Comdr. Richard R. Roberts, USNRF, in command. Assigned to the NOTS, USS Lake Champlain carried coal from Norfolk to Boston and New York until February of 1918. She then departed Hampton Roads 12 March for Clyde, Scotland to provide provisions to Britain. She made three round trips to Europe, carrying various supplies such as coal, ammunitions, provisions and soldiers before returning to Norfolk in 7 January 1919. On 1 February 1919, USS Lake Champlain departed Norfolk with a cargo of mines and coal for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and returned on 10 March. This was to be her final voyage in the service of the Navy. She was decommissioned on 20 March 1919 and returned to the USSB the same day. She was sold in 1920 to Lloyd Royal Belge Society in Brussels, Belgium and turned into a cruise liner. She was then renamed Nipponier.
2nd USS Lake Champlain
The second USS Lake Champlain (CV-39) was laid down in drydock by the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth Va., 15 March 1943, launched by float 2 November 1944 and commissioned 3 June 1945 with Capt. Logan C. Ramsey as the commanding officer.
Lake Champlain was assigned to “Magic Carpet” duty in October 1945 as she embarked veterans and returned them to New York. She set a speed record for crossing the Atlantic in November 1945 when she arrived at Hampton Roads, Va., having completed a run from Cape Spartel, Africa, in 4 days, 8 hours, 51 minutes.
Lake Champlain retired to the “Mothball Fleet” at Norfolk, Va., 17 February 1947. After the Korean conflict started, Lake Champlain was reactivated and modernized at Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. Then she was recommissioned 19 September 1952 with Capt. G. T. Mundroff as the commanding officer.
The carrier departed Mayport, Fla. for Korea on 26 April 1953. As flagship of Carrier Task Force 77, she launched sorties, cratered runways, assaulted enemy troops; attacked trenches, bunkers, gun positions; and gave close air support to ground forces. Her planes also escorted B-50 bombers on their way to enemy targets. Lake Champlain toward home arriving at Mayport, Fla., 4 December 1953.
In the years that followed, Lake Champlain made several cruises to the Mediterranean, participating with NATO forces. On 25 April 1957 she went to the Middle East, returning 27 July. Lake Champlain was converted to an antisubmarine carrier and reclassified (CVS-39) on 1 August. She departed Bayonne, N.J., 8 February 1958 for a Mediterranean cruise returning 30 October to Mayport, Fla.
The carrier operated out of Quonset Point, R.I., until 29 June 1960 when she made a midshipmen cruise to Halifax, returning 12 August. Beginning 7 February 1961 she made a cruise to the Caribbean, returning 2 March. Lake Champlain was selected as the prime recovery ship for the first manned space flight. She sailed for the recovery area 1 May and was on station on the 5th when Comdr. Alan Sheppard splashed down in spacecraft Freedom 7, some 300 miles down range from Cape Kennedy. Helicopters from the carrier visually followed the descent of the capsule and were over the astronaut 2 minutes after the impact. They recovered Astronaut Sheppard and Freedom 7 and carried them safely to Lake Champlain’s flight deck.
For the next year the ship operated along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean. In June 1962 she embarked Naval Academy midshipmen for a summer cruise. On 24 October Lake Champlain joined in a classic exercise of seapower—the quarantine of Cuba where the Soviet Union was constructing bases for offensive missiles. Lake Champlain sailed for home 23 November 1962.
In September 1963 her training schedule was interrupted when she was ordered to Haiti to relieve distress caused by Hurricane “Jane.” Her helicopters located homeless victims and flew them food and medical supplies. Lake Champlain returned to Quonset Point 9 November for operations in New England waters. She visited Bermuda briefly in the spring of 1964. The first half of 1965, found the Lake Champlain performing training duties and conducting exercises up and down the East Coast. The last major duty of her career occurred on 5 August 1965 when she served as the primary recovery ship for Gemini 5. Soon after this duty was completed, she sailed to Philadelphia, where she commenced inactivation. She was decommissioned 2 May 1966.
For a more detailed history of the second USS Lake Champlain see http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/l2/lake_champlain-ii.htm.