February 25, 1933 - USS Ranger (CV-4) (right) is launched. The US Navy's first purpose-built aircraft carrier, Ranger entered service in 1934. Serving primarily on the West Coast, it shifted to the Atlantic in 1939 and became a stalwart of the Neutrality Patrol after World War II began in Europe. With the US entry into the conflict, it was decided to retain Ranger in the Atlantic as it was smaller and slower than many of its contemporaries. In November 1943, it supported the Operation Torch landings in Morocco and its aircraft struck a variety of Vichy-French targets. The following year saw Ranger operate with the British Home Fleet against German shipping in Norway. Returning to the US in late 1943, the carrier fulfilled training duties in both the Atlantic and Pacific for the remainder of the war. Ranger was the only one of the US Navy's prewar carriers not to see combat operations against the Japanese.
World War II - US Navy Carriers:
Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Command