USS Shangri-La and Carrier Group 11 Far East Cruise - March-October 1958
Front Cover, Far East Cruise of USS Shangri-La and Carrier Air Group 11, March through October 1958. GGA Image ID # 16df356936
And it came to pass in the troubled early days of the Great War that Doolittle the Daring led his fearless men of the sky from the carrier HORNET and smote a terrible blow at the Japanese city of Tokyo. And there was much rejoicing among the American people for they had been sore afraid.
And when the scribes came before Franklin D., ruler of America for lo the many years, they sayeth unto him, “Master from whence did Doolittle the Daring’s brave band “comest ?” And Franklin D., wise from his many years in office replied, “Shangri-La”, meaning the utopia of Hilton the Writer’s book “Lost Horizon”.
In a later battle the HORNET was sunk and the people grieved, then sayeth unto one another, “Let us go forth and build another.” And they collected their offerings and lo there was much. And when the great ship was completed in the year of our Lord 1944 and the month of September, the people marveled at her size and beauty and sayeth, “Let us call her SHANGRI-LA in memory of the HORNET’S exploits”. And it was so.
With her gallant crew she sailed forth to meet the enemy and smote him blow after blow until she became feared and was called “the Tokyo Express”. And it came to pass that the Japanese were defeated, and SHANGRI-LA brought America’s brave soldiers home, for they had fought the good fight. Then just as a war horse who has done well in battle is put to pasture, so was the great carrier allowed to sleep in the Reserve Fleet.
But lo the war clouds gathered over Korea and there were great slaughters. And the people sayeth unto SHANGRI-LA, “Awaken, for thy country may needth thee.” And so in May 1951 she joined the Fleet called Atlantic then journeyed back to the familiar waters of the ocean called Pacific to become modernized in the Bremerton shipyard of the land of Washington.
And the workers labored day and night for two years and when they were done the whole world marveled at the greatest Naval war machine ever built. For she possessed a flight deck that was angled, her bow was made to withstand the mightiest storm, catapults which were powered with steam to fling her war birds aloft, strengthened arresting gear to trap the returning air warriors, and a host of other features. It was the first time all such features were put into one ship.
So outfitted she sailed forth to etch her name on the Navy’s honor rolls. In October 1955 she was host to the multitude of wives of the crew who manned her. And CNO, who rules over yea all these many ships and installations, was pleased and spoke thusly to all of his ships’ captains saying, “Verily I say unto you, go ye forth and do likewise”. And it was so.
As time passed she and her crew were molded into a team and ComNavAirPac, son of CNO and lord of all the planes and carriers of the Pacific Fleet, bade them sail to the Far East. And when they returned home in June 1956 there was great rejoicing in San Diego. But alas the time before the hearths was short and she sailed away in November on an ocean of tears shed by the loved ones in the mythical land called Stateside.
And it came to pass that the crew proved themselves the best carrier in the Pacific by setting refueling records, replenishment records, outstanding air operations, and a host of other feats. And lo after six months in the lands beyond the seas, yea even beyond the place where time begins, the great ship sailed home, arriving in May 1957.
And again ComNavAirPac, son of CNO, was pleased and bestowed upon her the coveted Battle Efficiency Plague and sayeth unto All Hands, “Ye have done well, Well Done”. And the crew was jubilant and sang songs and made merry for they were joined again with their loved ones.
So endeth the past and to the present.
USS Shangri-La CVA-38 circa 1958. GGA Image ID # 16df696034
Memories of USS Shangri-La Pre-Cruise Events. GGA Image ID # 16e03c0dcd
Memories like... The perpetual picnics at Kitsap Lake.
And the Marines honored in the Seattle Sea Fair.
Memories of USS Shangri-La Pre-Cruise Events - Mr. & Mrs. Bing Crosby, Officers' Parties, and Visits by Lord Mayor of Bremerton. GGA Image ID # 16e1437193
Or the time Crosby the Bing came aboard.
The Officers' parties and the visits by the Lord Mayor of Bremerton.
Memories of USS Shangri-La Pre-Cruise Events - Award Presentations. GGA Image ID # 16e1a3bd8e
Then cometh the greatest events of the Bremerton stay ... when Lee the Admiral bestoweth the “ Big E” to Foley who was Captain while the Captain who was Lord looketh on.
But Foley the Captain had grown in office and turneth over the ship to the Captain who was Short. So endeth the stay in Bremerton.
Memories of USS Shangri-La Pre-Cruise Events. GGA Image ID # 16e20cfbb9
And it came to pass that the “ Best in the West ” cometh to San Diego, her home. But lo there was little rest for the laziness from the months in the yard, and the greeness of the new men had to be driven out like devils from the body until again the crew and the ship were as one. For during the times they had been living in the utopia called Stateside they had lost more than 60 % of her seasoned crew.
Memories of USS Shangri-La Pre-Cruise Events - Visitors to the Ship. GGA Image ID # 16e24841d7
And the guests who came to visit SHANGRI-LA were many and high in office. And they marveled and went away.
More Memories of USS Shangri-La Pre-Cruise Events - Visitors to the Ship. GGA Image ID # 16e2524429
Memories of USS Shangri-La Pre-Cruise Events - Training. GGA Image ID # 16e3566c03
But lo the plague of the liberty - loving sailor was upon them and it was called Underway Training and they labored hard that they might win over the plague. And they held man overboard drills, general quarters, inspections, flight operations, administrative inspections, gunnery drills, and a multitude of others. Then ComTra-Pac, son of CinCPacFlt who knew all sayeth unto them, “Ye are ready. Get thou shots and thou gear aboard.” And it was so.
Memories of USS Shangri-La Pre-Cruise Events - Loading Cargo. GGA Image ID # 16e3814a75
For there was much labor to be done in getting all the men and planes and supplies aboard and there was little time for resting. For now that she had been named “ Best in the West ” her sister ships were jealous and would like to take her honored place.
Memories of USS Shangri-La Pre-Cruise Events - The Last Dance. GGA Image ID # 16e383fc6f
And the men bade farewell to their wives and sweethearts and with one last look at the Point called Loma departed. For they knew it would be many a day and night ere they looked upon them again.
USS Shangri-La Senior Officers Capt. Short and Cmdr. Lamb. GGA Image ID # 16e39c66ea
CAPTAIN WALLACE C. SHORT, JR., USN
A graduate of the Naval Academy in 1932, Captain Short served for two years aboard the USS ARIZONA before becoming a Naval Aviator in 1934. During the late 30’s he served on cruisers, carriers and air stations until promoted to Lieutenant in 1940.
When World War II broke out he was Executive Officer of Scouting Squadron FIVE, soon becoming skipper of the outfit and flying from the USS YORKTOWN where he participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea. During the battle YORKTOWN was damaged and her sister ship, LEXINGTON, was sunk. His squadron was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for its part in the battle.
A month later he took part in the Battle of Midway where his ship was sunk, and he moved with his squadron to the USS ENTERPRISE.
From July 1942 until March 1944 he served in various billets in the Alameda area, being promoted to Commander during the period. His next duty was as operations officer for the force furnishing air support for U. S. amphibious forces in the capture of Saipan and Guam. From January 1945 until the end of the war he was Operations Officer for Commander Naval Forces, Marshall and Gilbert Islands area.
For the next three years he headed the Planning and Control section of the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington before becoming Exec of the escort carrier USS MINDORO in October 1943. He then served as Director Service Test Section and Test Coordinator at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Md., for three years. During this time, in July 1951, he was promoted to his present rank.
In June 1953 he reported to Commander Naval Forces, Northern Europe, a NATO command at Oslo, Norway. He next received his first surface command in September 1955 when he became skipper of the seaplane tender USS GARDINERS BAY. He took command of the Naval Air Station on Kwajelin in September 1956, remaining there until taking command of SHANGRI-LA on 14 Sept 1957.
COMMANDER WILLIAM E. LAMB, USN
Commander Lamb assumed his present duties April 4,. 1958 in Pearl Harbor prior to SHANGRI-LA’s departure to the Far East. His previous duty was at the U. S. Naval Academy where he was Exec of the Aviation Dept.
Following graduation from the Academy in 1940, he served aboard USS BROOKLYN prior to entering flight training in 1942. In October 1943 he reported aboard PRINCETON as Exec of VF 27, flying Grumman F6F’s. While there he participated in the initial strikes on the Marianas and the Philippines. During a mission over Manila he was shot down and spent two months with the Philippine guerrillas before escaping by submarine.
He then became skipper of VF 51 aboard the light carrier USS LANGLEY and remained aboard the ship at the end of the war as Navigator and Air Officer. In July 1946 he began three years of work in aeronautical engineering at the Naval Post Graduate School.
During the Korean conflict he was skipper of VF 52 aboard VALLEY FORGE, flying the first jets to deploy on a carrier and participating in the initial Navy strikes on Korea. He then served with COM- NAVAIRPAC, San Diego; Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk; BUAER, Washington; and staff of the Commander Fleet Air, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean.
USS Shangri-La Senior Officers RAdm. Southerland and Capt. Brush. GGA Image ID # 16e3c9ff09
REAR ADMIRAL LEONARD B. SOUTHERLAND, USN
A graduate of the Academy, Class of ’23, Rear Admiral Southerland attained his present rank in August 1955. When World War II broke out he was in the Personnel Division of the Bureau of Aeronautics. On December 10, 1942 he became Commander Air Group 16 and flying from LEXINGTON he participated in operations against Tarawa and Wake islands. On October 9, 1943 he assumed duties as Air Officer of the LEX and nine months later became the carrier’s Executive Officer. During a Kamikaze attack off Luzon he was wounded, receiving the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Distinguished Flying Cross during those years.
In January 1945 he reported to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air), remaining there until 1947 when he commanded the USS ALBEMARLE for a year before being assigned as Training Officer for the Chief of Naval Air Training at Pensacola. During 1951 52 he attended the Naval War College, Newport, R. I., after which he became Chief of Staff and Aide to commander Carrier Division ONE. Here he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat “V”.
He then commanded the USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN from 1953 to 1954 when he became Chief of Staff and Aide to Chief of Naval Air Training, Pensacola where he served until August 1955 when he was ordered to duty as Chief of Staff to Commander Joint Task Force SEVEN.
In October 1956 he became Commander Airborne Early Warning Wing Pacific, then the superior command of Commander Barrier Pacific, both of which are located in Hawaii. He assumed his present command in December 1957.
In addition to the aforementioned medals, Admiral Southerland has the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon; American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver star and three bronze stars; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Europe; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.
CAPTAIN FREDERICK J. BRUSH, USN
A graduate of the Naval Academy’s class of 1931, Captain Brush began his career aboard the battleship USS COLORADO and cruiser USS PORTLAND before becoming an aviator in 1936. He then served in various capacities until the outbreak of World War II. Between 1943 and 1944 he was Commander Air Group 81, flying from the USS WASP against the Japanese in the Philippines, Formosa, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, the South China Sea and the Japanese mainland.
In the last year of the war he became Executive Officer of the light carrier USS COWPENS, later becoming the ship’s commanding officer and placing her out of commission. He then became Commanding Officer of NAS Cecil Field, near Jacksonville, Fla., until that station became deactivated in 1947. He then became Exec of NAS Jacksonville.
Other duty saw him at Fleet Air Wing TWO, Pearl Harbor, as operations officer; a year at the Naval War College, Newport, R. I.; and two years in the Pentagon in the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air). His next command came on 7 May 1954 when he became skipper of the escort carrier USS POINT CRUZ before being ordered to the Strategic Plans Division of OPNAV. On 1 Oct. 1956 he received his next command, the attack carrier USS BON HOMME RICHARD where he remained until assuming his present billet in December 1957.
USS Shangri-La Senior Officers Cmdr. Weber, Cmdr. Lamb, and Lt(JG) McCain. GGA Image ID # 16e3ec6441
Promulgating and administering the policies of the Commanding Officer and other higher authorities is the principal job of the Administrative Department. Responsible directly to the Executive Officer, the Administrative Assistant carries out this job through the “word’' put out via the Plan of the Day, instructions and notices, and the ship’s newspaper NEWS HORIZON. Members of this executive staff include the ship’s secretary, personnel officer, chaplains, public information officer, legal officer, education and training officer, special services officer, and the chief master-at-arms.
CDR Grayson Weber, USN
CDR William E. Lamb, USN
LT JG James R. McCain, USN