Thursday, March 01, 2012

USS Ranger (CVA-61)

U2 Special Operations

May 1964

Today I finally acquired pictures of the U-2 Spy Plane that operated from the USS Ranger in May of 1964.  We left Alameda, California with a few planes of our assigned Air Wing.  Once we were at sea several U-2 plans landed.  We conducted Special operations for about a week.  Once we realized that we had crossed the Equator it was determined that a Shellback Initiation should be conducted. 

I have the framed certificate and it states that the Initiation was conducted on May 20, 1064.  This Plane is on display at the Aviation Museum  at Warner Robins Airforce Base, Warner Robins, Georgia.  The wingspan of this plane is 80 feet. 


Mike Walker - said...

I also was aboard the Ranger in May of 1964. I do not believe there were more than two U-2's on the ship at that time and they only came aboard after our departure from Alameda. They were then moved to the hanger deck where they stayed until launched for spying on the French atomic test. I do not recall if they returned to the ship or not. Your blog makes it sound like crossing the equator was somewhat of a surprise but I recall the fear that was instilled in us polliwogs well before the crossing.

Anonymous said...

I have since done some more digging on the U-2 planes that operated from the Ranger. The one you have pictured was not the one that conducted the spy mission in May of 1964 as it had not been converted to the Model G by that date. Only two planes had been converted and only one of those is still around. It's at the Moffett Field Museum in California. The other one crashed in China shortly after the cruise we were on in May. The one you have pictured may have landed on the Ranger at some time but it was not the one that was aboard when we were. Also, I now believe the Ranger may have departed from San Diego for that cruise and not Alameda. My memory is fuzzy on that point but evidence seems to indicate such.
Mike Walker -