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USS Langley (CVL-27) was an 11,000-ton that served the United States Navy from 1943 to 1947, and French Navy as the La Fayette from 1951 to 1963. Named for Samuel Pierpont Langley, American scientist and aviation pioneer, Langley received nine battle stars for World War II service. CVL-27 carried on the name and tradition of , the first US Navy aircraft carrier, which had been sunk on 27 Feb 1942. She later served in the French Navy as La Fayette.

History



Langley was built at Camden, New Jerseymarker. She was originally ordered as the light cruiser USS Fargo (CL-85), but by the time her keel was laid in April 1942, she had been redesigned as an aircraft carrier, using the original cruiser hull and machinery. Commissioned in August 1943, Langley went to the Pacificmarker late in the year and entered combat in World War II during the Marshall Islandsmarker operation in January-February 1944. During the next four months, her planes attacked Japanesemarker positions in the central Pacific and western New Guineamarker. In June 1944, she took part in the assault on the Marianas and in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

Langley continued her war role through the rest of 1944, participating in the Palaus Operation, raids on the Philippinesmarker, Formosamarker and the Ryukyusmarker, and the Battle of Leyte Gulfmarker. In January-February 1945, she was part of the Third Fleet's foray into the South China Seamarker, the first massed carrier attacks on the Japanese Home Islands and the invasion of Iwo Jimamarker. More combat activity followed in March-May, as Langley's planes again hit targets in Japan and supported the Okinawamarker operation. Overhauled in the U.S. in June and July, she was en route back to the Pacific war zone when the war ended in August.

Following service transporting Pacific veterans home, Langley went to the Atlantic Oceanmarker, where she carried out similar missions in November 1945 - January 1946. Inactive at Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker, during the remainder of 1946, the carrier was decommissioned there in February 1947.

Langley was taken out of "mothballs" early in 1951, refurbished and transferred to Francemarker under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program. After more than a decade of French Navy service as the La Fayette, she was returned to the United Statesmarker in March 1963 and was sold for scrap a year later.

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