Riley, Herbert D. (1904-1973)
Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Vice Admiral Herbert D. Riley was at The Battle of Guadacanal WWII, Okinawa. He commanded the USS Coral Sea from 1952-1953
Once he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1927, Riley served in the battleship New Mexico (BB-40) and had to be persistent to get into flight training. Aviation assignments in the 1930s included service in Scouting Squadron Six (VS-6) with the cruiser Cincinnati (CL-6), Scouting Squadron Five (VS-5) with the cruiser Richmond (CL-9), Patrol Squadron One, Patrol Squadron Ten, Fighting Squadron Three (VF-3) in the Ranger (CV-4), the aviation unit of the heavy cruiser Portland (CA-33), and Anacostia Naval Air Station. In the billet at Anacostia he was a pilot for VIPs and married the daughter of Rear Admiral John Towers, Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics. In 1940-41 Riley served on the staff of Commander Carrier Division One and on the staff of Commander Patrol Wings. He had temporary duty in 1942 on Guadalcanal and in 1943-44 served in the Bureau of Aeronautics. In 1944-45 he commanded the escort carrier Makassar Strait (CVE-91) and at war’s end in 1945 was operations officer on the staff of the prospective Commander First Carrier Task Force, Vice Admiral Frederick Sherman. In 1946 Riley was on the staff of Joint Task Force One, during Operation Crossroads. Shore duty in the late 1940s included service in the Strategic Plans Section of OpNav, as an assistant to two Secretaries of Defense, James Forrestal and Louis Johnson, and as a student at the National War College. In the early 1950s he was assistant chief of staff for plans on the staff of CinCLant-CinCLantFlt-SACLant, commanded the aircraft carrier Coral Sea (CVA-43), and was chief of staff to Commander Carrier Division Two, Rear Admiral Hugh H. Goodwin. After duty in the International Affairs Division of OpNav, Riley served as Commander Carrier Division One and from February 1958 to May 1961 was Chief of Staff of the Pacific Command serving Admiral Felix B. Stump and Admiral Harry D. Felt. Riley’s service in the early 1960s was as Deputy CNO (Operations and Readiness), OP-03, and as Director of the Joint Staff.
Auxiliary aircraft carrier: ACV-57 was laid down on 12 December 1942 by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vancouver, Wash. under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1094); named ALIKULA BAY on 22 January 1943; renamed CORAL SEA on 3 April 1943; launched on 1 May 1943. Redesignated CVE-57 and reclassified as a Casablanca class Escort Carrier, on 15 July 1943; and commissioned at Astoria, Oreg., on 27 August 1943. The USS Coral Sea saw combat in World War II participating in actions at Makin Island, Kwajalein, Emirau Island, New Guinea and Saipan where she sustained minor battle damage. Ultimately, CORAL SEA was ordered back to the United States for a much needed overhaul. On 15 September 1944 the ship was officially renamed USS Anzio to honor the soldiers who won a fierce and decisive four month battle at Anzio, Italy in early 1944.
Midway Class Large Fleet Carrier: CVB-42 was laid down in 1942. The ship was launched Apr. 29, 1945, as the Coral Sea. However, following Roosevelt's death in office on April 12, 1945, his successor, President Harry S. Truman, ordered that the aircraft carrier already christened Coral Sea be renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt. Commissioned USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB 42) Oct. 27, 1945.
Don Saddler, who is a former FDR crewmember and an aircraft carrier aficionado, sent me the following:
"First thing you have to agree on is that the "FDR" is really the "Coral Sea". When I was aboard the "Rosie" I went down in the bilges, And right there it said Coral Sea on the KEEL."
From Larry Carl:
"I was on the FDR CVA42 '68-70 as a SN. I remember being in the lower berthing spaces and noticed some lettering on the inside of one the hullplates were a shipfitter back in '45 had marked the plate CORAL SEA in a welding bead.
Shipyard Bulletin announcing USS Coral Sea - CVB-42 launching. [Image Source - Tom Powell]
USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVB-42 at her commissioning. She was launched the Coral Sea just 8 days prior. [Image Source - US Navy]
Coral Sea #3 - USS Coral Sea CVB-43
Midway class Large Fleet Carrier: CVB-43 was laid down on 14 June 1943. Not sure if it was named at this point in time??? Was launched as the Coral Sea on 2 April 1946 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Newport News, Va., Commissioned USS Coral Sea CVB-43, 1 October 1947.
December 10, 1947 USS Coral Sea CVB-43 - Out for sea trials just after she was commisioned. [Image Source - US Navy