anyone know the ship? | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

anyone know the ship?

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anyone know the ship?
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Wednesday, January 1, 1975


Here's the link to the photo on Flickr:

(Sorry, not sure why the latest Flickr photos aren't showing up. I'll take a look at it when I'm back to HK.)

Vietnam war era US conventional carrier. The bridge and radar configurations indicate it is probably USS Bon Homme Richard.

USS BON HOMME RICHARD was decomissioned in 1971, the photo seems to be dated 1975.

We need to find an Aircraft Carrier that was in HK in 1975,
the planes carry the Tail Code "NF", I see F4s, A6s, A7s

I believe it is the Midway

I agree this would be USS Midway.. More interestingly, on another photo from the flicker page, actually got a F-14 to the left of those A-7s.

Because of their size, F-14 does not normally operate on Midway/Coral Sea. 

 From Wiki ....

" in April 1975. F-14As from Fighter Squadron 1 (VF-1) and VF-2, operating from the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), flew combat air patrols over South Vietnam to provide fighter cover for the evacuation route."


The superstructure does not match USS Enterprise.

I guess the F-14 was a 'visiting' plane... 

The TailCode and squadrons on those A-6, A-7 and F-4 were all under CVW-5 stationed on USS Midway; VF-151 Vigilantes F-4 in yellow and black tail;VF-161 Chargers - F-4s in red and black tail;VA-93 Blue Blazers A-7 parked between the F-4s ;VA-56 Champions A-7 on far left;VA-115 Arabs A-6 2nd plane on the left etc

Also seen in photo is a perhaps RF-4B in grey (Tactical reconnaissance variants) and EA-6A forward to the superstructre (Electronic Warfare variants)

See recently added images taken during the Carrier's visit to Hong Kong in 1983.

Plenty of NF tailfins

N designates Pacific Fleet, the second letter indicates the carrier air wing to which the plane is attached.Agree this is probably Midway. It seems that this ship still exists,as a museum in San Diego.

Yes, I saw the F14, but the side view didn't match the Midway, (which didn't carry the F14) so I assumed it was another Aircraft Carrier, like the Enterprise for example.

Hi there,

The photos didn't show its number (CV-41) for USS Midway or it could easily be nailed.

If it is indeed a Midway Class CV, I wonder if the one with an F14 on it was before or after its angled flight deck refit........

The approximate time frame seemed to fit 1975 though as the F14 was introduced in 1974.

All techno/id info was grabbed from Wiki.

Thanks & Best Regards,


CVA-41 is redesignated as CV-41 in June 1975, but she got an angled flight deck even before 1975. Another reason to believe the carrier was USS Midway is the radar (air search?) and it's supporting structure which extend from the bridge.

If we could make out the Sqn of the EA-6A deteched to her it will be more clear, coz there's a change of detechment in 1975. However, I can't make out from the pic. 

I couldn't find any official port of call to Hong Kong for USS Midway in 1975 neither. However, there were pictures of Hong Kong in the cruise book of 1975 - 76. 


Could not find any info regarding F-14 on USS Midway, only record of F-14 landed on Midway was in the 80s. Compare between the two pictures there seems to be some differences to the structure above the waterline. Perhaps someone with more expertise can confirm if it was a different carrier with the F-14?

I'd say the 2 pictures are from 2 diferent aircraft carriers, the side view with the F14 doesn't look like the Midway.

Thanks marlowe,

After studying the 2nd picture with F-14 i deduced that the carrier in the picture should be USS Ranger, first in the Forrestal Class to operate F-14s from Sept 1980.

Incidentially the Sqns operated on the Ranger were VF-1 and VF-2 which were assigned to USS Enterprise before the transfer. I guess the two faint dots on the tail of the F-14 resambles the insignia of VF-2.

If my suspection is correct the picture was taken in 1980+ not 1975 as originally believed. 

Ian writes:

CARRIER is the USS Coral Sea - VF-161were on it then and later in 1976 on the USS Midway.

Hi there,

USS Coral Sea seemed also of the Midway Class.  Only three vessels of this class were completed back then.  The other two were USS Midway and USS Franklin D. Roosevelt.

While looking up USS Coral Sea I came across this jet.   Would this be the one shown in the picture instead of the F-14?

Oh BTW, the USS Midway is now a museum ship in San Diego.

Thanks & Best Regards,



There are a few pictures of this carrier which can be found in my 1960s file.

I remember visiting  her with my Dad when they had an open day.

Mike Cussans

Hello Admin,

Can you verify with Ian, i cannot find any deployment of CV-43 associated with VF-151/161 etc between year 1974 to 1976, all my source indicate they were with CV-41 , USS Midway.

Another reason to believe it was USS Midway on the 1st Pic is to look at the housing of the AN/SPS-37(43) Radar mounted side of the smoke stack (simular for CV-42) but it would have mounted on top of the smoke stack on a mast if it's CV-43. Note the radar on Midway was replaced with AN/SPS-48 in the early80s (see IDJ 1983 photos).

I am also sure the twin engine jet in the 2nd pic is a F-14 not the F-7U. Note the Vertical Stabilizer sit on top of the engines.


Another aspect to investigate the date of photo is seaching for 5'' gun on the carrier. We are quite certain its USS Midway Class Carrier, i.e. either Coral Sea or Midway, then the radar tell us it's Midway not Coral Sea. Next to investigate is the empty gun deck.... it was certain that during operating frequent wind in 1975 the 5 inch guns were still in place, however there's none in the photo from the flicker photo. 

More about the radar as well, in 1975 photo there was no structure behind the bridge, around 1979 structure was seen to be built to house the AN/SPS-48(9) radar, as seen in the flicker photo... but the radar antenna is not installed yet...

Based on the information concerning the outline of the carrier, the equipment, the sqns on the ship, the removal of guns and pending installation of the new radar, I would conclude that the photo was taken on Aug-Sept 1979 when USS Midway visited Hong Kong before continue her cruise in the Indian Ocean, in response to the Oil Crisis. From record, the VP of US back then gave the ship a visit on 2 Sept 1979 during his visit to China.

USS Midway in Hong Kong in 1974 as seen here and aircraft of CVW-5 on board the Midway from 1979 as seen here

As the Tail code on the planes are "NF" CVW-5 (based in Japan), it is unlikely to be the Coral Sea, whose planes had the Tail codes "NL" CVW-14 and "NK" CVW-15.
And the plane with the twin tails is unlikely to be the Vought F7-U Cutlass, because it retired from service in 1959.
As to the dates, the photographer was in Hong Kong for 8 years from 1975.

Perhaps the original negative has that all-important name detail on the stern - an obviously competent photographer such as Werner would normally try to frame the complete ship - particularly to include its name or US Navy ID. Film processors in those days - and even now - quite often masked the original 35mm frame to fit their standard 6x4 and 5x7 print sizes.

My bet is USS Midway .... :)


I'd also say that this is the USS Midway.  If you compare this photo with the photo at the link below showing the starboard side of the USS Midway in its present state as a museum ship, you will note that the profiles are more or less identical.

As to the other photo showing a F-14, I believe it shows another ship, probably a Forrestal class carrier.  The Midway class did not carry or operate F14s.

I also don't think that the ship could be the Coral Sea, as USS Midway underwent a major refurbishment programme in the 60s and Coral Sea did not.  This made the two ships look very different.  Coral Sea had always looked like a WWII vintage carrier, while Midway looked much more modern and was in actual fact, a much larger ship (64,000 tonnes v 45,000 tonnes).


The ship is the USS Midway (CV-41). I served on her from 1977-1979. This picture was taken after a refit in the summer of 79. There was a car port type structure added just aft of the island, with a clearance for the E2 Hawkeye. The structure was a part of the Sea-Sparrow missile system.