Birthday Present for USS Ranger Museum Supporters

Ranger - Wikipedia photo

Supporters of a planned USS Ranger museum received a gift on the aircraft carrier’s 53rd birthday party yesterday when former Oregon Governor Victor Atiyeh announced that the Metro Regional Government has conditionally approved Fairview in Multnomah County as the ship’s permanent home.

The planned mooring site is the Columbia River’s Chinook Landing Marine Park. The carrier, decommissioned in 1993 and mothballed at the Navy’s Inactive Ship Maintenance facility at Bremerton, Washington, last saw action in 1991 in Operation Desert Storm.

Ranger earned 13 battle stars for service in the Vietnam War and was known as the Top Gun of the Pacific Fleet. Supply ships meeting the carrier for underway replenishments in those days would hear the familiar “Lone Ranger Theme” of the William Tell Overture when the ships broke away from each other after the transfer of stores, ordnance, or fuel was complete.

The ship played the roll of the carrier Nimitz in the 1980 film “The Final Countdown,” and the USS Enterprise in the 1986 films “Top Gun” and the “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.”

“Imagine living wage jobs, tourism and national status as the largest floating museum in the world. Everyone would recognize the name Fairview, Oregon,” said Fairview Mayor Mike Weatherby.

Plans call for the 1,046-foot-long, 90,000-ton USS Ranger to serve as a museum, education center, emergency preparedness center with 100,000 square feet of gathering space.

The USS Ranger Museum Foundation will file its Phase II application in the ship’s acquisition process with the Navy in September. According to the foundation’s studies, the Columbia is wide enough and deep enough to accommodate moving Ranger to Fairview.


The Vietnam-era Navy scenes in my recent novel, Garden of Heaven, were inspired by my period of service aboard the USS Ranger in 1968 and 1969 during two WESTPAC cruises. The novel tells the story of a man’s spiritual journey through the mountains of Pakistan, the swamps of North Florida, the beaches of Hawaii, the waters of the South China Sea and the ivy-covered halls of an Illinois college as he attempts to sort out the shattered puzzle of his life.

11 thoughts on “Birthday Present for USS Ranger Museum Supporters

  1. Interested to help in getting the Ranger to Fairview (Chinook Landing) and will help
    in some way financial and as retired persons with other things as possible. Our son served on the Ranger in the Gulf on the Sparrow Missle Control in it’s last military assignment and we have Ranger memorabilia here in our home. We have also been aboard the carrier while it was berthed in San Diego. He would also be interested to help as he lives in Portland. Please respond.

    Ron and Pat Nelson
    Canby, Oregon

  2. Hooray for the Ranger!
    I have such fond memories,when, as a 12 year old, my Father, then Capt. Noel Gayler, was Captain of the Ranger.
    On special occasions we were invited to eat dinner in the Captain’s cabin, and watch a movie afterward. We five children tried to be very dignified.
    Once, driving around the Alameda Navy Yard, my Mother couldn’t find the Ranger —until she realized that the thing that looked like an looming office building was actually the ship!
    A most memorable occasion was the Dependents’ Cruise, where all the families were invited to come aboard and sail under the Golden Gate bridge and out to sea! Watching those powerful jet aircraft streaming off the huge angled deck, afterburners ablaze and engines roaring is something I will always remember.
    Long May She Sail into the future, as a sought out destination, a museum of rich naval history for all who seek it.

    • How wonderful for you to get to see the ship when you were so young and enjoy dinners and movies on board. The base at Alameda was rather large, as I recall, and I drove back and forth to it from San Francisco where I had an apartment when Ranger was in port. The carrier did loom large like a building.

      Those dependents cruises were a lot of fun for everybody, especially if you happened to be on one in which an old car was attached to the catapult and fire off the bow end of the flight deck.

      The ship will make a fine museum.


  3. I made a west-pac cruise on the USS Ranger in 1968 and it was interestng to see how something that huge could function so well. Glad this ship will be a museum, just wish I lived closer. Thanks for this info

    • It would be nice to get out to Oregon and see the ship, especially after it’s open and available to the public as a museum.

      I was also aboard Ranger in 1968-1969 for a Wespac Cruise.


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