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USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42)

USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42)

The Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42) was a Midway-class aircraft carrier serving the US Navy between 1945 and 1977. The vessel was launched only days after the passing of her namesake, and was commissioned on Navy Day, 27 October 1945, under the command of Captain Apollo Soucek.


More popularly known as Rosie, the Franklin D. Roosevelt was built at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn. Construction was completed and the vessel launched at the end of April 1945. Displacing 45,000 tons and measuring 968 feet in length, the vessel carried a crew of over 4100 officers and seamen in addition to 137 aircraft. Her steam turbines were manufactured by General Electric.

Repairs and Upgrades

Roosevelt underwent her first overhaul during a twelve-month period commencing in July 1947. At the end of 1953, the vessel was ordered to the Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard in Bremerton, Washington. For the next two years, she underwent a number of refits and conversions (known as an "SCB-110 modernization") that included an angled flight deck, steam catapults and an enclosed "hurricane" bow. She also received new radar systems, and her aviation fuel storage capacity was increased by almost 33%. At the same time, her elevators were upgraded to accommodate heavier aircraft.

These refits added an additional 6,000 tons to her displacement; in order to compensate, some of her armaments were removed and hull blisters were added for stability. Two years later, the Control Instrument Company was contracted for the installation of a new Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System (FLOS).

During a Mediterranean deployment in the fall of 1964, Roosevelt experienced serious mechanical problems when a propeller shaft seized up, damaging one of her screws. The propeller was replaced at the Bayonne (New Jersey) Dry Dock & Repair Company.

The carrier underwent an overhaul between July 1968 and May 1969 during which a new fire-fighting system was installed, allowing the use of seawater in conjunction with chemical fire suppressants. In addition, an elevator was relocated, and the port waist catapult and remaining five-inch turrets were removed. At the same time, crew quarters were upgraded.

By the late 1970s, Roosevelt was obsolete and deemed to costly to repair. She was decommissioned in September 1977. After her usable equipment was stripped at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard Inactive Ships Facility in April 1978, she was delivered to the River Terminal Development Company and dismantled.

Wartime Service

Roosevelt was not commissioned until over two months after the surrender of the Japanese Empire. Her first mission, in February 1946, was a diplomatic one, representing the United States government at the inauguration of the new president of Brazil. Later that year, the carrier became the first to operate the new jet fighters.

After a training period in Caribbean, Roosevelt was deployed to the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Greece during the civil war in that country in the late 1940s.

Most of her career was spent in deployments to the Mediterranean; between these tours, she carried out routine operations off the Atlantic Coast and in the Caribbean. The Roosevelt made a single combat tour of Vietnam in 1967-68.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42)

A number of accidents occurred aboard the Franklin D. Roosevelt during her years in the water, many of which added to the asbestos exposure danger of her crewmen.

In June 1957, a high-pressure steam line exploded while sailing off the Florida coast, resulting in seven casualties. Two years later, the carrier collided with the oiler Pawcatuck, resulting in damage to both hulls.

During a Mediterranean deployment in September 1965, several electrical fires broke out on board. Just over a month afterwards, Roosevelt collided with a French merchant vessel. In November 1966 during a Vietnam deployment, a fire broke out in an oil storage area beneath the hangar deck; seven crewmen were killed.

While undergoing maintenance in Mayport, Florida in February 1973, the vessel was damaged as the result of a fire in the hangar deck. During her last Mediterranean deployment, the Roosevelt collided with a Liberian freighter in the Strait of Messina.

Once clinical studies demonstrated that exposure to asbestos posed a health hazard for anyone working with it, the US Navy began finding substitutes for the installation of this substance in ships as well as shore installations, and by end of the 1970s asbestos-containing material was not commonly used. When asbestos insulation becomes worn it becomes friable, meaning that fibers can be broken off and enter the air. These fibers are then inhaled or ingested by ship's crew or repair workers which can lead to mesothelioma. The damage brought about by asbestos fibers happens when very small fibers are inhaled or ingested; they infiltrate the respiratory system and occasionally other organs, causing scar tissue in the case of pleural plaques and damage at the cellular level in the case of malignant mesothelioma.

Sadly, the mesothelioma prognosis is not usually positive - usually mesothelioma sufferers survive for around a year after the disease is detected. Since mesothelioma is a very uncommon condition, not many facilities or physicians are able to deliver first-rate treatment of mesothelioma. Information on mesothelioma cancer isn't always easy to research, so we've created a mesothelioma information package with up-to-date information on legal options and choices for medical treatment, as well as a list of open mesothelioma clinical trials nationwide. Simply submit the form on this page and we'll send you the free kit.

Author: Linda Molinari

Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Linda Molinari


Grassey, Thomas B. "Retrospective: The Midway Class." United States Naval Institute, May 1986

Hansen, Michael. "Franklin D. Roosevelt.: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Retrieved 13 December 2010.

N/A. "Accidents Aboard The USS FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT" Retrieved 13 December 2010.