Startup: Mobile Paradise


This is the USS Shangri-La, an aircraft carrier whose naming marked a radical departure from convention, and which was the end result of a cheeky off-handed remark from US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Shangri-La was, of course, the fictional far-off paradise from James Hilton’s novel “Lost Horizon”. When Jimmy Doolittle — the same Jimmy Doolittle from Hyco’s weekend post of the Geebee racer — launched his amazing Doolittle Raid, reporters asked Roosevelt where the raid had launched from, wondering, like the Japanese, how these large medium bombers could possibly have struck the Japanese mainland, so far from American soil. Roosevelt coyly responded that they had launched from Shangri-La. Shortly thereafter, when another Essex-class carrier was to be launched, it was cheekily named in honour of this quip, and the bottle of champagne was smashed on her hull by Jimmy Doolittle’s wife.

The Shangri-La served a long and distinguished career in the service of the US Navy, and after several major refits, became the first operational carrier to feature the now-standard angled flight-deck that has defined the look of carriers ever since. She served into the 1980’s, and ensured that both Doolittle’s raid, and the President’s resulting quip, would be forever engraved in history.

  • CaptianNemo2001

    <img src="; width="450">

    I'll take your B-25 Mitchell and raise you a C-130 Hercules.

    • Deartháir
      • CaptianNemo2001

        If the deck was as wide up front as it is in the back and more rectangle then you would have a lot more room.

  • (Salutes!)

    Grandpa Sparky served on the Shangri-La. One of many carriers he sailed on between WWII and his retirement as a Senior Chief some 20 odd years later. But the Shangri-La was one of his proudest, and we wore his Shangri-La baseball cap wherever he went, right up to the very end.

    The Ship's Bell is on display at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola FL along with an engineering model of the ship. I got to visit it on my cross-country road-trip and showed Gramps the pictures when I got home. The man beamed with pride.

    (random internet pic of bell)

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