PH-3 Jack Lever - USS RANGER CVA-61

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This photo shows the USS Ranger near Diamondhead, Hawaii in 1958.
The USS Ranger CVA-61 was the seventh U.S. Navy vessel to carry this proud name. The Ranger was a Forrestal-class aircraft carrier. Her keel was laid on August 2nd 1954 at the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. in Newport News, Virginia. She was launched on September 29th 1956 and christened by Mrs. Arthur Radford, wife of Admiral Radford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and commissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard August 10th 1957 with Capt. Charles T. Booth II at the helm.

One of the most dangerous aspects of Naval aviation is take offs and landings from aircraft carriers. As an aid to the pilots and aircrews each of these takes offs and landings is filmed and photographed by Naval photagraphers. The still photos and film footage is used as a tool to evaluate, identify and correct any problems and or mistakes that might take place during these most critical parts of each flight. The photographers also record all that was done correctly too. This in turn can be used to "show 'em how it's done". Even minor mistakes could have major consequences under certain conditions. If a problem can be identified, it can be corrected and like a football team studying last week's game film, the pilots and crews would study their take off and landing films and learn from them.

The recording of this crucial information was the job of Naval photographers like PH-3 Jack Lever who served onboard the USS Ranger between 1957 and 1959.

During his tour onboard the Ranger Jack filmed countless landings and take offs. Using both motion picture and still photography Jack helped to record both the successful and less than successful landing and take offs from the deck of the Ranger.

Information learned from this film could mean the difference between life and death not only for the air crews, but for the crew of the entire ship.

Here's a shot of Jack sitting in the cockpit of one of the jets onboard the Ranger.

The USS Ranger CVA-61 and USS Lexington CVA-16 docked at Alameda, California.

Today Jack Lever is a successful commercial photographer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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