A Midway-class aircraft carrier, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the Battle of the Coral Sea.  She earned the affectionate nickname "Ageless Warrior" through her long career.  Initially classified as an aircraftcarrier with hull classification symbol CV-43, the contract to build her was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding of Newport News, Virginia on 14 June 1943.  She was reclassified as a "Large Aircraft Carrier" with hull classification symbol CVB-43 on 15 July 1943.  Her keel was laid down on 10 July 1944.  She was launched on 2 April 1946 sponsored by Mrs. Thomas C. Kinkaid, and commissioned on 1 October 1947 with Captain A.P. Storrs III in command.  The ship was reclassified as an "Attack Aircraft Carrier" with hull classification Symbol CVA-43 on 1 October 1952.
The ship began a series of career milestones when, on 27 April 1948, two P2V-2 Neptuns, piloted by Cmdr. Thomas D. Davies and Lt. Cmdr. John P. Wheatley, made JATO take-offs from the carrier as it streamed off the coast of Norfolk Va.  This was the first carrier launching of planes of this size and weight and on 21 April 1950, the first carrier takeoff on an AJ-1 Salvage heavy attack bomber was made from Coral Sea by Capt. John T. Hayward of VC-5.
Coral Sea was decommissioned for conversion 24 May 1957, and upon completion was recommissioned 25 Jan 1960 to rejoin the Fleet.  During September 1960, she conducted training with her new air group along the west coast, then sailed in September for a tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East.
Installation of the Pilot Landing Aid Television (PLAT) system was completed on Coral Sea on December 1961.  She was the first carrier to have this system installed for operations use.  Designed to provide a videotape of every landing, the system proved useful for instructional purposes and in the analysis of landing accidents, thereby making it an invaluable tool in the promotion of safety.  By 1963, all attack carriers had been equipped with PLAT and plans were underway for installation in the CVSs and shore stations.
Following the Gulf of Conking incident in August, Coral Sea departed on 7 Dec 1964 for duty with the U.S. Seventh Fleet.  On 7 Feb 1965 aircraft from Coral Sea, along with those from USS Ranger (CVA-61) and USS Hancock (CVA-19), blasted the military barracks and staging areas near Dong Hoi in the southern sector of North Vietnam.  The raids were in retaliation for a damaging Viet Cong attack on installations around Pleiku in South Vietnam.  On 26 March, the Seventh Fleet units began their participation in Operation Rolling Thunder, a systematic bombing of military targets throughout North Vietnam.  Pilots struck island and coastal radar stations in the vicinity if Vihn Son.  Coral Sea remained on deployment until returning home on 1 Nov 1965.  Coral Sea continued WestPac/Vietnam deployments until 1975.
On 12 to 14 May 1975, Coral Sea participated with other Navy, Air Force and Marine forces in the recovery of the U.S. merchant  Ship USS Mayaguez and her 39 crew, illegally seized on 12 May in international waters by a Cambodian gunboat controlled by the Communist Khmer Rouge.  Protective air strikes flown from the carrier against the Cambodian mainland naval and air installations as Air Force helicopters with 288 Marines from Battalion Landing Teams 2 & 9 were launched from Utapao, Thailand, and landed at Koh Tang Island to rescue the Mayaguez crew and secure the ship.  Eighteen Marines, Airman and Navy corpsmen were lost in the action.  For her action, Coral Sea was presented the Meritorious Unit Commendation on 6 July 1976.
On 5 Feb 1980, Coral Sea relieved Midway in the northern part of the Arabian Sea in connection with the continuing hostage crisis in Iran.  When militant followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini on 4 Nov 1980 seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 63 U.S. citizens hostage.  The hostage crisis ended on 20 Jan 1981 when Ronald Reagan succeeded Jimmy Carter as President of the United States and Iran released the U.S. citizens.
Coral Sea continued deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean area throughout the remainder of the 1980's  and 1990's.  Coral Sea was decommissioned 26 April 1990 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register two days later.  The Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) sold her to Seawitch Salvage of Baltimore on 7 May 1993 for scrapping, but scrapping was delayed by numerous financial, legal and environmental issues.  Nearly 70,000 tons by the time she was struck, Coral Sea was the largest vessel ever scrapped up until that date.  The company attempted to sell the hulk to China for scrapping, but the Navy blocked the sale in court.  The scrapping continued on and off for several years until finally completed on 8 September 2000.
The Gladiators of Fighter Squadron VF-62 and Attack Squadron VA-106 made a combined total of three Med Cruises onboard the USS Coral Sea.
19 Apr 52  to 12 Oct 52     Fighter Squadron VF-62, flying the F2H-2 Banshee, was deployed onboard the USS Coral Sea as part of Carrier Air Wing CGV-4.
07 Jul 54 to 20 Dec 54     Fighter Squadron VF-62, flying the F2H-2 Banshee, was deployed onboard the USS Coral Springs as part of Carrier Air Wing CVG-10.
13 Aug 56 to 11 Feb 57     Attack Squadron VA-106 , flying the F9F-8B Cougar, was deployed onboard the USS Coral Sea on a Med Cruise as part of Carrier Air Wing CVG-10.  Following the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt on 26Jul56, Coral Sea was ordered to the eastern Mediterranean as tensions increased and France and the United Kingdom began preparations for military action against Egypt.  On 29Oct56, Israel invaded Egypt and a day later France and the United Kingdom joined in on the invasion with the intent of reoccupying the Suez Canal.  Coral Sea was on station in the eastern Mediterranean during the American evacuation of Western nationals from Egypt and Israel.
F2H-2 Banshee
F9F-8B Cougar