On 26 September 1931 Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News, Va., laid the keel for the first U.S. Navy ship to be designed and built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier. Ranger (CV 4) was commissioned on 4 June 1934 at the Norfolk Navy Yard, with Capt. Arthur L. Bristol in command. She made a shakedown cruise to South America prior to transferring to the Pacific in early 1935. For nearly four years she participated in fleet problems reaching to Hawaii, and in western seaboard operations that took her as far south as Callao, Peru, and as far north as Seattle, Wash. Ranger returned to the Atlantic in 1939, where she remained for most of the rest of her service. Ranger took part in Neutrality Patrols after war broke out in Europe in September 1939, with these operations becoming increasingly intense during 1941.
The early months of 1942 saw Ranger engaged in war operations in the South Atlantic, followed by service carrying U.S. Army fighter planes to West African bases in April and July. In November 1942 she was an important element in Operation Torch, providing air cover for the invasion of Morocco. Ranger was assigned to work with the British Home Fleet in the northeastern Atlantic from August to November 1943, during which time she launched strikes on German shipping along the Norwegian coast.
Following training and aircraft transportation duty in early 1944, Ranger was overhauled and sent to the Pacific, where she arrived in July. She spent the rest of World War II preparing air groups for combat operations. The carrier returned to the Atlantic after Japan’s surrender and remained there until she was decommissioned in October 1946. Ranger was sold for scrapping in January 1947.