USS Coral Sea CV-43

Click, drag and zoom to explore this image.

San Francisco’s Own

This unique lithograph is among the most striking portrayals of USS Coral Sea (CV-43) ever created. It depicts the aircraft carrier in all its glory and includes notes and facts about the vessel, such as the ship’s history and vital statistics.

Text from the Portrait:

This “Powerful Force for Freedom,” The USS Coral Sea (CV-43) takes her name from the Battle of the Coral Sea, the turning point in the Pacific of World War II which proved the US Navy could outsmart and out hit the Japanese.


The USS Coral Sea (CV-43), for a decade patrolled the Mediterranean with the Sixth Fleet. In 1957 she was decommissioned to undergo extensive modernization at Bermerton, Washington, where an angled flight deck and three steam driven catapults were added, and the aircraft elevators were relocated.

The USS Coral Sea saw her first combat action in 1965, when she took part in the initial air strikes against North Vietnam. The following five years saw her make four more deployments to the Western Pacific.

In 1967, the USS Coral Sea was adopted by the City of San Francisco, becoming the first ship to officially represent a city without directly bearing its name. Hence the motto: “San Francisco’s Own.”

As of March 1982, the USS Coral Sea had completed her fourteenth deployment, a deployment which included an extended at-sea period in the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Japan.

The USS Coral Sea (CV-43) has earned many awards and commendations, including the Golden Anchor Award and four occasion for personnel retention. The USS Coral Sea is proud of her dedicated service to her country and saluted the officers and men who have served her so well.

Battle of coral sea map and description

The print also includes a map and description of the Battle of the Coral Sea, 4-8 May 1942.

The Battle of the Coral Sea was a Japanese-American encounter during World War II which is considered one of the unique in history. It was the first naval battle fought entirely with carrier-based aircraft. The opposing ships could not close the range on each other.

When the Japanese and American fleets collided at Coral Sea on May 4, 1942, the Japanese were making a seaborn drive for Australia. Halting them at Coral Sea not only saved Australia from invasion, but also spared the allies the threat of Japanese control of that strategic area.

It was during this battle that the power of carrier-based aircraft was more strongly emphasized than at any other point in the war. Such extensive destruction wrought by aircraft had not been preconceived by the military strategists; the Japanese lost a light carrier, a destroyer, three minesweepers and several logistic craft. Another Japanese carrier was severely damaged. The American forces lost the carrier Lexington, a destroyer and a fleet oiler.

In the course of surface defense and air attack, nearly 5,000 men lost their lives in the historic air battle, and some 300 planes were knocked out of the sky.

In memory of the battle, the Australian people annually observe Coral Sea Week, a tribute to the allied victory that saved their continent from the enemy.

The present attack carrier USS Coral Sea (CV-43), is the third ship to be named “Coral Sea.” The first was an escort carrier, later renamed USS Anzio. The second was later renamed USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42) in honor of the President after his death.

USS Coral Sea (CV-43) Service Awards

  • Engineering Excellence
  • Excellent Air Department
  • Navy Unit Commission
  • Excellent Deck Efficiency
  • Superior Medical Service
  • Meritorious Unit Medal
  • Navy Expeditionary Medal
  • Navy Occupation Service Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Armed Forced Expeditionary Medal
  • Vietnam Service Medal
  • Humane Service Medal
  • Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Medal
  • Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • This work was completed in 1982.