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CVE-25 U.S.S. Croatan - History

CVE-25 U.S.S. Croatan - History


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Croatan

Croatan (CVE-14) was transferred to the United Kingdom 27 February 1943 under lend lease, served as HMS Fencer; returned to the United States 21 December 1942 and sold 30 December 1947.

I
(CVE-25: dp. 9,800; 1. 495'8"; b. 69'6"; ew. 111'6";dr. 26'; s. 17 k.; cpl. 890; a. Z 6"; cl. Bogue)
She was launched 1
August 1942 by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co., Seattle, Wash., under a Maritime Commission contract;sponsored by Mrs. J. S. Russell, and commissioned 28 April 1943, Captain J. B. Lyon in command.

Sailing from San Diego 2 July 1943, Croatan arrived at Norfolk 19 July. As the nucleus for a hunter-killer group, she sailed 5 August for antisubmarine operations in the Atlantic covering the movement of convoys. Her planes had two skirmishes with surfaced submarines and on 6 September initiated night flying operations from escort carriers. She returned to Norfolk 22 September.

From 17 October to 29 December 1943 Croatan made two voyages to Casablanca ferrying aircraft and plane crews for the North African operations. After another antisubmarine patrol from 14 January to 27 February 1944 she took part in tests with the Naval Research Laboratory at Annapolis. From 24 March to 11 May, Croatan made a most successful patrol. On 7 April her planes marked out U-856, which was sunk by her escorts Champlin (DD-601) and Huse (DE-145) in 40°18' N., 62°22' W. On the night of 25-26 April her four escorts joined in sinking U-488 in 17°64' N., 38°05' W. She was also successful in her patrol from 2 June to 22 July. On 10 June Croatan's planes and escorts Frost (DE-144), Huse, and Inch (DE-146) attacked U-19O and remained in constant contact with it, forcing it to surface the next day. Sixty survivors including the commanding officer rescued before the submarine sank from scuttling. charges in 42°47' N., 40°08' W. Aircraft and escorts Frost and Inch combined again to sink U-154 on 3 July in 34°00' N. 19°30' W.

Following a brief overhaul and radar tests with the Naval Research Laboratory, Croatan put to sea again 20 August 1944. On 15 September she aided survivors from Warrington (DD-383) who had foundered in a hurricane. Returning to Norfolk 1 October, Croatan next sailed for antisubmarine training at Guantanamo Bay and Bermuda, then proceeded to provide air cover for a high-speed east bound task force, returning to New York 4 February. For the next month she qualified pilots in carrier operations, then sailed from Norfolk 25 March to join a barrier line to intercept German submarines. On 16 April her escorts Frost and Stanton (DE-247) sank U-880 and U-1235 in 47°53' N., 30°26' W. Croatan returned by way of Argentia, Newfoundland, to New York 14 May for overhaul.

From 15 September to 3 November 1946 Croatan qualified aviators at Quonset Point, then cleared Norfolk 23 November on the first of two transatlantic voyages to bring troops home from Le Havre, France. Croatan was placed out of commission in reserve at Norfolk 20 May 1946. Reactivated, Croatan was assigned to MSTS in a noncommissioned status, manned by a civilian crew on 16 June 1958. She continued to operate with MSTS into 1961.


Sailing from San Diego, California on 2 July 1943, Croatan arrived at Norfolk, Virginia on 19 July. As the nucleus for a hunter-killer group, she sailed on 5 August for antisubmarine operations in the Atlantic covering the movement of convoys. Her planes had two skirmishes with surfaced submarines, and on 5 September initiated night flying operations from escort carriers. She returned to Norfolk on 22 September.

From 17 October-29 December 1943, Croatan made two voyages to Casablanca ferrying aircraft and plane crews for the North African operations. After another antisubmarine patrol from 14 January-27 February 1944, she took part in tests with the Naval Research Laboratory at Annapolis, Maryland. From 24 March-11 May, Croatan made a most successful patrol. On 7 April, her planes marked out U-856, which was sunk by her escorts Champlin and Huse at 40°18′N 62°22′W  /  40.3°N 62.367°W  / 40.3 -62.367 . On the night of 25–26 April, her four escorts joined in sinking U-488 at 17°54′N 38°05′W  /  17.9°N 38.083°W  / 17.9 -38.083 . She was also successful in her patrol from 2 June-22 July. On 10 June, Croatan ' s planes and escorts Frost, Huse, and Inch attacked U-490 and remained in constant contact with it, forcing it to surface the next day. Sixty survivors, including the commanding officer, were rescued before the submarine sank from scuttling charges at 42°47′N 40°08′W  /  42.783°N 40.133°W  / 42.783 -40.133 . Aircraft and escorts Frost and Inch combined again to sink U-154 on 3 July, at 34°00′N 19°30′W  /  34°N 19.5°W  / 34 -19.5 .

Following a brief overhaul and radar tests with the Naval Research Laboratory, Croatan put to sea again on 20 August 1944. On 15 September, she aided survivors from Warrington who had foundered in a hurricane. Returning to Norfolk on 1 October, Croatan next sailed for antisubmarine training at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and Bermuda, then proceeded to provide air cover for a high-speed east bound task force, returning to New York on 4 February 1945. For the next month, she qualified pilots in carrier operations, then sailed from Norfolk on 25 March to join a barrier line to intercept German submarines as part of Operation Teardrop. On 16 April, her escorts, Frost and Stanton sank U-880 and U-1235 at 47°53′N 30°26′W  /  47.883°N 30.433°W  / 47.883 -30.433 . Croatan returned by way of Naval Station Argentia, Newfoundland to New York City on 14 May for overhaul.

From 15 September-3 November, Croatan qualified aviators at Quonset Point, then cleared Norfolk on 23 November on the first of two transatlantic voyages to bring troops home from Le Havre, France. Croatan was placed out of commission in reserve at Norfolk on 20 May 1946. Reactivated, Croatan was assigned to MSTS in a noncommissioned status, manned by a civilian crew on 16 June 1958. In August 1963, she carried 23 F-104 Starfighters delivered to the Royal Norwegian Air Force 331 Squadron at Bodø, Norway. In October 1964, she served as an experimental ship under NASA control until May 1965. In August 1965, she helped transport helicopters for the US Army's 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) to Vietnam. She was stricken for disposal on 15 September 1970 and sold for scrap in 1971.


Goodyear FG-1D “Corsair”

Our Corsair, built by the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation via licence approval, was a Vought-Sikorsky Model V-166B F4U-1D design. She was manufactured right here in Akron, Ohio and accepted by the US Navy on January 7, 1945 and delivered on January 27, 1945 to Port Columbus airport, Ohio (today, John Glenn Columbus International Airport CMH). Nicknames also included, “Sweetheart of Okinawa” and “bent wing bird” or by the Japanese, “Whistling Death”.

  • January 1945 – Assigned to Navy Fighter-Bomber Squadron (VBF-92), NAS Groton, Connecticut.
  • February 1945 – Performed (CQL) Carrier Qualifications with other pilots/planes on the USS Croatan (CVE-25), an escort carrier.
  • February 28, 1945 – While performing CQL on the USS Croatan (CVE-25), piloted by A. H. Untelman, this Corsair had a (LACSF) landing accident due to structural failure, where the Corsair sustained substantial damage.
  • May 1945 – Stored Out of Commission (SOC) on May 31st
  • February 1948 – Cockpit section transferred to the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Museum, Akron, Ohio.

After spending over 60 years in the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Museum as a display, the museum closed (August 28, 2009) for good and the cockpit was donated to the MAPS Air Museum. The cockpit was on display at MAPS for the next 9 years before the decision was made to build the full aircraft around the cockpit. Still underway, below you can see the different actions our volunteers are performing on the FG-1D. She is being overseen by Crew Chief Don Neidert during restoration.

Specifications/Performance (F4U-4)

  • Role: Carrier-based fighter-bomber
  • Manufacturer: Chance-Vought (Goodyear contract used design to build FG-1D)
  • First flight: May 29, 1940
  • Introduction: December 28, 1942
  • Retired: 1953 (US)
  • Produced: 1942-1953
  • Built: 12,571 (all variants estimated 4000 by Akron Goodyear)
  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 33 ft 8 in
  • Height: 14 ft 9 in
  • Wingspan: 41 ft
  • Empty weight: 9,205 lb
  • Max weight: 14,533 lb
  • Engine: 1 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-18W radial, 2,380 hp
  • Max speed: 446 mph
  • Range: 1,005 mi
  • Combat range: 328 mi
  • Service ceiling: 41,500 ft

Armament, notable

  • Guns: 6 x .5 in Browning M2 machine guns (400 rounds per gun) or 4 x .79 in AN/M# cannon (231 rounds per gun)
  • up to 4,000 lb bombs and/or
  • 8 x 5 in high velocity rockets

Museum display notes: Undetermined, still being fabricated

Designed to replace: Grumman F4F “Wildcat” (US Marines) & the Brewster F2A Buffalo (US Navy)

Replaced by: Douglas F3D “Skynight” (night fighter) & the Grumman F9F “Panther” (day fighter)


USNS Croatan [ edit ]

Reactivated, Croatan was assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service in a noncommissioned status, manned by a civilian crew on 16 June 1958. In August 1963, she carried 23 F-104 Starfighters delivered to the Royal Norwegian Air Force 331 Squadron at Bodø, Norway. In October 1964, she served as an experimental ship under NASA control until May 1965. In August 1965, she helped transport helicopters for the US Army's 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) to Vietnam. She was stricken for disposal on 15 September 1970 and sold for scrap in 1971.


Mighty MO – USS Missouri (BB-63) Video and Photos

There are three other ships in the United States Navy which were named after the state of Missouri besides the battleship USS Missouri (BB 63), and although she became associated with the history of the Japanese raid at Pearl Harbor, she never took part in the event. So, why is she known by so many around the world?

Missouri, a.k.a. “Mighty Mo” stands out in the history of the Second World War not just as the last battleship of the U.S. Navy, but also as the battleship which hosted the end of the Second World War in the Pacific.

A kamikaze plane about to hit Missouri 11 April 1945

The life of Mighty Mo began after her commissioning on 11 June 1944 as the last Iowa-class battleship of the U.S. Navy. She had a full-load displacement of 58,000 long tons, a length of 887.2 feet and a beam that measured about 108 feet. At her maximum speed of 33 knots, she possessed a range of about 14,900 miles.

USS Missouri (BB-63) (left) transferring personnel to USS Iowa (BB-61), while operating off Japan on 20 August 1945.

Just like the rest of the Iowa-class battleships, her main armament comprised nine 16-inch .50 caliber Mark 7 guns which could fire shells that weighed up to 2,700 lb at a target 20 miles away. Subordinate armament comprised twenty 5-inch .30 caliber Mark 12 guns that could hit a target 10 miles away. She was also fitted with anti-aircraft guns to defend Allied aircraft carriers from air attacks.

Missouri was one of the battleships that took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima, which is known as the fiercest battle of the war’s Pacific theater.

On 18 March 1945, she was part of the battleship group that struck airfields and naval bases along the coast of Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. During this event, she gunned down four enemy planes and provided cover for the badly damaged carrier Franklin.

Missouri moves through the Panama Canal en route to the United States in October 1945.

On March 24 and April 1, Mighty Mo was with the Task Force 58 battleship group during the raids at Okinawa. She shot down five airplanes, provided support in the downing of another six, helped repel numerous waves of attacks during the day and night of the invasion, and destroyed military and government infrastructure. Also, the sinking of the Japanese submarine I-56 was initiated by Missouri, whose radar had detected it.

After her contributions at Okinawa, she took part in the bombardment of the Japanese home islands. Her battle group devastated Japanese infrastructure such as the Nihon Steel Company and the Wanishi Ironworks, in Hokkaido, and several other industrial targets in Honshū, before the release of the second atomic bomb which would lead to Japan’s surrender in 1945.

Allied sailors and officers watch General of the Army Douglas MacArthur sign documents during the surrender ceremony aboard Missouri on 2 September 1945. The unconditional surrender of the Japanese to the Allies officially ended the Second World War.

The signing of the official instrument of surrender was done aboard Missouri, and thus, the end of the war was marked onboard this ship, the main fact for which she is remembered.

The outbreak of the Korean War saw Missouri back in action, providing support and going on bombardment missions. Her last of such missions was the bombardment of Kojo on 25 March 1953.

Missouri was accidentally grounded early on the morning of 17 January 1950.

On 26 February 1955, she was decommissioned. Following her decommissioning, one idea to move Missouri to Pearl Harbor as a museum ship was thwarted by the National Park Service because of fears that with her towering popularity she would overshadow Arizona, the battleship that had become a symbol of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor following her very dramatic end.

Missouri was instead mothballed in Bremerton, west of Seattle, Washington. However, more than 30 years later, she was reactivated and modified during the 600-ship Navy project.

USS Missouri at sea in her 1980s configuration

The resurrected version was equipped with Quad Cell Launchers to fire Harpoon missiles and Armored-box launchers for firing Tomahawk missiles. For protection against enemy missiles, a Phalanx CIWS was installed on the ship.

In 1991, during the Gulf War, she was back in combat again, serving until 31 March 1992, when she saw her final decommissioning.
Missouri received 11 battle stars throughout her lifetime of service, and was used by the USS Missouri Memorial Association as a museum ship at Pearl Harbor after her retirement.

More photos

A kamikaze plane about to hit Missouri 11 April 1945

USS Missouri (BB 63) prior to her being launched at the New York Navy Yard, January 29, 1944. Note the unusual view of the bow.

USS Missouri (BB-63). Photographed while on her shakedown cruise, August 1944.

The U.S. Navy battleship USS Missouri (BB-63), with the destroyer USS Renshaw (DD-499) alongside, manning the rails during Navy Day ceremonies in the Hudson River, New York City (USA).

Aerial view of warships at the base piers of Norfolk Naval Base, Virginia (USA), circa August 1944. Among them are: the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63), the largest ship the battlecruiser USS Alaska (CB-1), on the other side of the pier the escort carrier USS Croatan (CVE-25), and two destroyers, a Fletcher-class destroyer at the pier and a Clemson/Wilkes-class-destroyer moored outboard.

View of the U.S. Navy battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) looking aft towards the number three battery and the superstructure. Note the 20 mm antiaircraft gun mounts in the foreground and the SG surface-search radar antenna atop both mainmasts and the circular antenna for the SK-2 air-search radar on the foremast. Also visible are two Mk 37 gun directors with Mk 12 fire control radar for the 12.7 cm artillery and the Mk 38 gun director with Mk 8 fire control radar (“hedgehog”) for the 40.6 cm artillery.

View of the forecastele of the U.S. Navy battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) in heavy seas.

The U.S. Navy battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) during battle practice in Chesapeake Bay on 1 August 1944. She is wearing Camouflage Measure 32 Design 22D.

USS Missouri leading USS Iowa into Tokyo Bay, Japan, 30 August 1945. Note destroyer USS Nicholas in escort.

Warships of the U.S. Third Fleet and the British Pacific Fleet in Sagami Wan, 28 August 1945, preparing for the formal Japanese surrender a few days later. Mount Fuji is in the background. Nearest ship is USS Missouri (BB-63), flying Admiral William F. Halsey’s four-star flag. The British battleship HMS Duke of York is just beyond her, with HMS King George V further in. USS Colorado (BB-45) is in the far center distance. Also present are U.S. and British cruisers and U.S. destroyers.

American aircraft fly over USS Missouri after the surrender.

USS Renshaw (DD 499) dwarfed in comparison, stands alongside USS Missouri (BB 63) to pipe President Harry S. Truman onboard for Navy Day luncheon, October 1945

USS Augusta, USS Midway, USS Enterprise, USS Missouri, USS New York, USS Helena, and USS Macon in the Hudson River in New York, New York, United States for Navy Day celebrations, 27 October 1945.

USS Missouri (BB-63) in drydock at Norfolk Navy Yard, Norfolk, Virginia, November-December 1949.

Missouri (BB-63) bombarding Communist positions off Chong Jin, Korea. She is only about forty miles from the Soviet border, so all hands are at General Quarters, 21 October 1950.

The U.S. Navy battleship of USS Missouri (BB-63) upon arrival at Norfolk, Virginia (USA), after service in the Korean War on 27 April 1951.

Crew members man the rail as the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) arrives in port prior to a cruise to Australia and around the world, 1986.

The No. 1 and 2 Mark 7 16-inch/50-caliber gun turrets are fired during a main battery firing exercise aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63). The ship is en route to Sydney, Australia, during a cruise around the world, 1986. The battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) transits the Suez Canal while en route to Istanbul, Turkey. The ship is on an around the world shakedown cruise, 1986.

The Iowa class battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) arrives off the coast of Australia for a ceremonial visit to Australia in honour of the Royal Australian Navy’s 75th anniversary.

An aerial starboard view of the fleet oiler USNS Kawishini (T-AO-146), center, the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63), bottom, and the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), participating in an underway replenishment operation, 25 July 1986.

An aerial port view of the forward half of the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) while the ship is underway.

An aerial bow view of the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) underway.

Smoke billows from the muzzles of the Mark 7 16-inch/50-caliber guns in each of the three main gun turrets aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) after the ship fired multiple salvos during exercise RimPac 󈭊 near Hawaii.

An elevated port bow view of the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) en route to recommissioning in San Francisco.


CVE-25 U.S.S. Croatan - History

Quick Facts:

Class: Bogue
Displacement: 15,200 tons
L ength: 495’8″ Beam: 69’6″ Draft: 26’0″
Speed: 17.6 knots
Complement: 890
Armament: 2 5-inch, 20 40mm , 27 20mm
Aircraft: 28

Original text by Jack Greer

Updated Fall 2009 by Jack Sprague

USS Block Island was the first of two escort carriers to serve in World War II. She was named after the island and surrounding sound located off the northeast coast of the United States that is now part of the state of Rhode Island. The USS Block Island was constructed by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation and launched on 6 June 1942 by Mrs. H. B. Hutchinson. The Block Island was commissioned on 8 March 1943, with Captain Logan C. Ramsey in command. Originally classified AVG-21, she became ACV-21 on 20 August 1942, and CVE 21 on 15 July 1943.
After two trips to Ireland and England during the summer of 1943 with cargos of aircraft, she operated as part of a task group designated to find and destroy German submarines. During four combat cruises, the Block Island Task Group sank two submarines and shared credit for the sinking of two additional submarines. She earned the nickname of “FBI” for Fighting Block Island.

CVE 21 was hit by three torpedos off the Canary Islands on 29 May 1944 by German submarine U-549. The carrier was sunk with all but six crew members surviving. Of the six aircraft in the air at the time of the sinking only two airmen were recovered. Supporting destroyers sank the U-Boat and rescued the CVE 21 crew. The USS Block Island received two battle stars for her service.

The need for escort carriers came early in the war when German submarines and aircraft were taking a devastating toll on convoy shipping. The heaviest losses occurred far out at sea where land-based aircraft could not operate. The Royal Navy had experimented with catapult-launched fighter planes from merchantmen while this was somewhat successful in combating the U-boats, the number of planes that could be embarked was limited. Something else was needed, and in a hurry. Great Britain appealed to the United States for help.

No real specifications had been developed for escort carriers at that time, although the Navy had looked into converting merchant ships for this purpose before the war began. Thus, the quick solution was to build the early CVEs on merchant ship hulls (photo at left is CVE 21 entering Belfast Harbor with a cargo of P-47s).
The two Block Island aircraft carriers (CVE 21 and CVE 106) were unlike any other two ships by the same name. CVE 21 (along with five other CVE’s) was actually a C3 tanker hull being constructed to deliver oil to our allies in Europe. The scourge of the German submarine activities, taking the great toll of the convoys underway far out to sea, became a major priority to all of the allied nations due to the fact that the majority of the sinkings were taking place far out of range of any allied aircraft. President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill got together and the United States entered into an agreement to convert several tanker hulls into small aircraft carriers to be provided to Great Britain to roam the vast areas of the Atlantic Ocean seeking out these submarines.

The first few conversions were delivered to Great Britain in 1942. About this same time the German Navy was increasing their boldness and actually was sinking our ships as close as five miles from the US shoreline. Very little information of this activity was being given to the general public either in Great Britain or the United States. Both governments felt that this information would create panic in their countries. Because of this concern, the US Government saw fit to undertake and make “Baby Flattops” a vital part of the Atlantic Fleet. Six C3 tanker hulls being built in the Seattle area were converted to small aircraft carriers for the US Navy.

While the first few small carriers took five or six months to convert, by the time that the first Block Island was constructed the construction time was cut to less than three months. At that time it was taking as long as two years to construct the larger carriers. The best understanding of this undertaking is that eight small carriers carrying 20 planes each could be constructed in the same period of time it took to construct a larger carrier. The larger carriers could only handle as many as 90 aircraft with a total construction cost of around $120 million. Smaller carriers were built at a cost of $11 million each and carried 20 aircraft. The large carriers moved around at 30 knots compared with about 20 knots for small carriers. The smaller carriers became “the plan of the day” in the Pacific. While more escort and service ships were required to service the eight small carriers, the loss of a large carrier put 90 aircraft out of action and involved over 3000 crew members. The loss of a small carrier only put 20 aircraft out of service and involved around 900 crew members. However, when the large carrier was lost there was not another carrier available to save its aircraft. If a small carrier was lost, the aircraft then could land on and work from one of the other small carriers. When it came time to construct the second Block Island the construction time was cut to 79 days. Admiral Kincade advised congress that he could launch and retrieve 160 aircraft in half the time it would take the larger carriers to land and launch 90 planes.

Great Britain saw these small carriers as a major part of their fighting force. In fact there was a first Block Island (CVE 8), shown here, that was under construction it was transferred to Great Britain as part of the “lend/lease” program to become the HMS Hunter. The United States saw the carriers as a major way to transport airplanes to Great Britain and North Africa and to return to the United States with damaged airplanes that could be repaired and returned to combat. The attacks on the convoys by German submarines continued to take a greater toll until the United States established Hunter/Killer task forces of escort carriers.

Documents were filed to obtain support from Congress to undertake the building of these small aircraft carriers. The configuration used the space on both the hanger and flight decks to transport up to 77 combat ready aircraft and spare parts to anywhere in the world. After the British lost two of their large carriers in an attempt to sink German battleships they began using the small carriers ( also known as “Jeep Carriers” or “baby flattops” ) for combat operations. The United States then realized that they could be more than just a useful transport tool.

The USS Block Island was converted from a C3 tanker hull (number 237) by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation to a Bogue class escort carrier (eighth of eleven Bogue class). She was launched 6 June 1942 and sponsored by Mrs. H. B. Hutchinson, wife of Commander Hutchinson and transferred to the U.S. Navy on 1 May 1942. The ship was commissioned on 8 March 1943 with Captain Logan C. Ramsey in command. The photo at left is of the nearly completed USS Block Island at Tacoma, WA. The USS Block Island was originally designated as AVG-21, changed to ACV-21 on 20 August 1942, and CVE-21 on 15 July 1943.
The hull of CVE 21 was actually a Class C3 tanker hull designed to maintain balance of the liquid motion of fuel (oil and gasoline) as the ship passed through the rough motion of the sea. The original hulls were designed to withstand as much as a 40 degree list which required the entire hull to be “compartmentalized” to override the internal motion of the liquid fuel weighing as much as 10 pounds per gallon ( this meant contending with over 15 thousand tons of sloshing liquid ). Construction required that the 5’ x 2’ elliptical openings between compartments be laterally supported and very strong. The openings were from the aft end of the ship all the way to the bow. Between decks were hatches that could be closed down to separate the deck. These openings, in the case of a carrier, then become compartments of open spaces where the fuel normally was housed. Several compartments were left intact to provide for the fuel storage the carrier will need as well as the escort ships. Others are left intact for ammunition, bombs, torpedoes and depth charge storage and they become what are called magazines.

This configuration provided four or five sealed decks and many open spaces that were used for quarters, storage, machinery and equipment housing. Going up and down between decks required the opening and closing of hatches moving forward and aft, the openings become passage ways.

The hull design was quite different from the escort carriers built by Kaiser which were designed for carriers from the keel up with operational needs in mind. Escort carriers that were “designed from top to bottom” when sunk or badly damaged, lost hundreds of their crew members during World War II. Not so with CVE 21 the first USS Block Island had a C3 hull design. Photo at right is the CVE 21 starting sea trials after completion in Tacoma, WA.

Trials & Transport Operations

Block Island’s crew included more than 50 sailors who came from CV 2 USS Lexington which had been lost at the Battle of the Coral Sea in May, 1943. A number of other men had carrier experience however, most of the 890 sailor complement had never been to sea.

Following 10 days of trials near Puget Sound, the Block Island sailed to San Francisco where it took on its first air squadron ( originally named Composite Squadron 25 and renamed later to VC-6) of FM-1 Wildcats and TBF-1 Avengers. With destroyer escort DD 496 McCook she sailed to Norfolk, VA, arriving 6 Jun 1943. Her first operational cruise was to transport a cargo of P-47 Thunderbolts. The planes were loaded at Staten Island on 8 Jul 1943. She left on 17 Jul 1943 with a convoy of eight troopships and escorts, CVE 21 Block Island was detached from the convoy on 26 Jul 1943 and tied up at Siddenham Airport, near Belfast, Ireland. The escort carrier left Belfast on 3 Aug 1943 and reached New York eight days later to take on a second load of P-47s.
A second transport cruise left Staten Island on 21 Aug 1943, CVE 21 proceeded with three escorts — the old destroyers DD 154 Ellis , DD 160 Herbert and DD 152 Du Pont — and touched briefly at Argentia, Newfoundland en route, reaching Siddenham Airport on 31 Aug 1943. On 12 Sep 1943, Block Island was back in Norfolk. The photo at above left shows the CVE 21 hanger deck full of partially assembled P-47s. A collision with DD 666 Black occurred after the return to Norfolk, VA and caused a two week repair, no injuries were recorded.

Two of the first “baby flattops” of the US Navy were given the duty of seeking out the German submarines. Since the major sea wars were taking place in the Pacific Ocean against the Japanese, the larger fighting ships were assigned to the Pacific. Back in the early 1940’s President Roosevelt had gone far beyond his congressional authority and sent Great Britain some 25 or 30 small destroyers that we called “Destroyer Escorts” which were much like the frigates that Great Britain had. Great Britain used these ships as escorts for their small carriers with much success.

To make up a “task force” each of the two “baby flattops” were assigned three destroyer escorts. The Captain of the escort carrier became the Task Force Commander.

The vast area assignment required that at least four escort ships work with the Block Island. The destroyer escorts could make depth charge attacks on the submarines that the aircraft from the Block Island spotted. This would leave two of the DEs available to cover landing and takeoff operations and to serve as protection for the carrier.

This hunter/killer activity meant that the task force would go about searching for days and weeks at a time without seeing another allied ship. Naval records show that the success of the action of these “baby flattops” played a great part in the demise of the German submarine force and contributed greatly to the ending of the war with Germany. Because of the large area of ocean the ships covered, depending on each other for assistance on an almost daily basis, a great comradeship and esprit de corps was created.

With the expanse of water between Europe and the United States in the Atlantic Ocean the task force could sustain itself for approximately 45 days with two refuelings and one re-supply service during the period, they left from US ports and searched the seas then arrived at foreign ports for re-supply and refueling before completing the mission and returning to the United States to obtain a new assignment. The circumstances in the Pacific were very different in that there were many supply bases on major and tiny islands scattered throughout the entire area. Refueling and re-supplying was also undertaken from tankers and supply ships in both the Atlantic and in the Pacific areas of operations. Doing this task in the open seas from ship to ship can be as dangerous as actual enemy operations. Naval records show that many ships were forced out of service from structural damage taken during these operations.

Prior to the assignment of hunter/killer task forces to the Atlantic, German submarines sank hundreds of vessels without any real risk. Once escort carriers like the Block Island and her supporting destroyers were employed, the offensive was taken back from the Germans and the Battle of the Atlantic was on.

The first combat cruise occurred 15 Oct 1943 when the Block Island left Hampton Roads, VA escorted by the destroyers DD 230 Paul Jones, DD 218 Parrott, DD 213 Parker, and DD 222 Bulmer as Task Group 21.16 . The photo at left was taken on 15 Oct 1943. The initial assignment was to escort convoy UGS-21. After two days the CVE 21 was ordered to an area north of the Azores to hunt a reported concentration of enemy U-Boats. After arriving in the area the task group immediately went into action. The group fired on the re-supply (referred to as a “milch cow”) submarine U-488 putting a hole in her conning tower but failing to sink or capture the boat.
Three days later Lt. Franklin M. Murray, in a TBM and Ens. Gerald L. Handshuh, in a F4F spotted two U-boats and attacked the U-220, which was to believed to have just finished laying mines off Newfoundland. They covered the U-boat’s conning tower with machine gun fire and then dropped depth charges and bombs. Forty minutes after the attack the U-Boats exchanged transmissions and six hours later the commander of the U-256 reported hearing explosions in the area of the U-220. The sub was never located. Following re-supply in Casablanca the group continued searching and proceeded to Norfolk, VA arriving 25 Nov 1943.

During the next three weeks, the Block Island received a new squadron, VC-58. It had the same complement of 9 Wildcats and 12 Avengers. Most importantly, a new weapon in anti-submarine warfare was added to the arsenal, a 3.5 inch rocket with a case-hardened steel head. The designers believed it could pierce the skin of a submarine on the surface or below the water to a depth of 50 feet. The Block Island would be the first to test the theory.

The second combat cruise left Hampton Roads, VA 15 Dec 1943 with the same destroyer escorts as the first combat cruise. Again, the initial assignment was to escort convoy UGS-27. Reassigned four days later, the task group headed for an area north of the Azores known as “The Black Pit of the Atlantic” because of the concentration of U-Boats. The crew had a sober Christmas Day as they heard that the destroyer DD 158 Leary, part of another task group in the area, had been sunk with a heavy loss of life. The task group engaged the enemy without success and sailed to Casablanca for re-supply.

On 11 Jan 1944 two TBFs opened fire with rockets on U-758 forcing the U-Boat back to port at St. Nazaire with heavy damage. The photo at right is the rocket attack on U-758 by the Block Island’s Avenger aircraft. On 14 Jan 1944 a TBF spotted life rafts carrying 43 survivors of U-231 which had been sunk by the British the day before. The Bulmer and the Parrott picked them up and transferred them to the Block Island. The photo below is the Block Island and her task group arriving home on 3 Feb 1943.

The third combat cruise sailed 16 Feb 1944 with four new destroyer escorts, DE 189 Bronstein, DE 103 Bostwick, DE 104 Breeman, DE 102 Thomas, and DD 463 Corry. VC-6 reported aboard with the new FM-2 Wildcats. Captain Francis Massie Hughes reported onboard to be Captain Logan Ramsey’s relief. The task group designated as 21.16 headed back to the “Black Pit”. On 29 Feb 1944, planes from the Block Island spotted a periscope and commenced a mine run. The Corry and the Bronstein sped to the scene. Four German submarines, U-709, U-603, U-607, and U-441 were thought to be in the area. The Bronstein sunk U-603 and along with the Thomas and the Bostwick, sunk U-709.

The U-441 was badly damaged and returned to Brest, France 14 days later. Postwar records indicate as many as 15 U-Boats were operating within 25 miles of the Block Island. CVE 21 arrived in Casablanca for replenishment 8 Mar 1944. Captain Ramsey was relieved by Captain Hughes and the Block Island put to sea with orders to track down U-488, the same milch cow she had hunted the previous October and now believed to be located northwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

The following excerpt is from the July 1, 2004 Air & Space Magazine article entitled “All Guts, No Glory”, by James L. Noles, Jr. It describes the difficulty of night flying off of an escort carrier in the Atlantic.

Lieutenant Denny Moller was VC-55’s assistant engineering officer. Like all of the squadron’s pilots, he endured a demanding schedule of both day and night flying. The Block Island operated within a screen of four destroyer escorts, launching patrols of four aircraft. Each airplane took a quadrant and carved it into 30-degree slices—out, across, and then back in to the carrier. Because the pilots had to observe radio silence at night, they had to find their way back to the moving carrier by relying on dead reckoning—flying a compass heading for a calculated time and hoping to spot the carrier when the time was up.

“We would try to work out our navigation beforehand,” Moller explains, “so on takeoff, you always hated to see the flight deck crew holding up a chalkboard that said, ‘The course of the carrier will be so-and-so, the wind direction is so-and-so. Good luck!’ That meant you had to figure out a whole new set of navigational figures on the go. That wasn’t easy in a dark cockpit at night.”

A TBF and a FM-2 spotted U-801 on the surface doing repairs and began a strafing run. The pilots reported hits to the bridge and conning tower. Nine men were injured and one killed. The U-Boat quickly submerged and resurfaced after the planes had to return to the carrier. German command ordered them to rendezvous with U-488. Detecting another in-bound plane, the U-801 submerged not knowing she was leaving a telltale oil slick. A TBF from the Block Island and the Corry followed U-801 through the night ( It must be noted that flying and landing a WWII airplane on a very small carrier was very difficult at night ). A second TBF relieved the first and at dawn they spotted the oil slick. The Corry commenced a depth charge attack which split open the U-801. The sub evaded for a while but a second run forced her to the surface and the destroyer open fire. The sub captain was killed as the crew abandoned ship and the U-Boat sank. The Block Island picked up two officers and 45 enlisted men. The drawing at right was done by one of the POWs of the U-801 and presented to a CVE 21 crew member. The photo at left is the enlisted men POWs from the U-801.
On 19 Mar 1944 six hunter-killer teams fanned out from the ship, searching 150 miles of open water. A Wildcat spotted the brand new U-1059 dead in the water with a third of its crew out for a morning swim. The FM-2 and a TBF started a run of strafing and dropping depth charges but not before the U-1059 put it’s AA into action. The TBF, piloted by Lt(jg) N.T. Dowty, received a number of hits and when it started its turn it lost altitude and crashed into the ocean. Norman T. Dowty and Edgar W. Burton were lost in the crash. The turret gunner, Ensign Mark E. Fitzgerald, was the only survivor of the three man crew. As the gunner clung to a life raft, he was surprised by a German swimming toward him eventually, two more swimmers arrived including the injured sub captain, Leopold. The gunner tended to the wounds of his captives until they were rescued by the Corry two hours later. The U-1059 had broken in half and only six additional survivors were found.

USS Corry took the POWs to Boston and later participated in the D-Day landings at Normandy, France. Corry was sunk in shallow water by mines and shore artillery while helping to lead the assault on Utah Beach. The captain and most of the crew survived.

USS Block Island returned home to Norfolk, VA on 31 Mar 1944 to bands playing, crowds cheering, and a big banner that read “Welcome Home, Champs”.

The fourth combat cruise left Norfolk on 29 Apr 1944 with a screen (see photos at right) comprised of DE 575 Ahrens, DE 576 Barr, DE 686 Eugene E. Elmore, and DE 51 Buckley. On 15 May DE 578 USS Robert I. Paine joined the task group off of North Africa.

The assignment for Task Group 21.11 was to relieve CVE 25 Croatan and her destroyers working patrols west of the Cape Verde Islands. The Croatan group had sunk milch cow U-488 only days earlier, the elusive U-Boat the Block Island had hunted twice before.

After arriving in the area the Block Island picked up a radar contact which turned out to be veteran German submarine U-66 which had sunk over 200,000 tons of Allied shipping in its three years of attack patrols. Captain Seehausen of the U-66 successfully evaded the Block Island task group for several days. On 5 May 1944 the Block Island picked up the sub only 5,000 yards off starboard, maneuvering for an attack on the carrier. The Block Island made an emergency turn at flank speed with Captain Hughes sending the Buckley to investigate.

Only a few hours later at 0330 on 6 May 1944, pilot Jimmie Sellars, with a nickname of “Geronimo”, flying a stripped-down TBM, followed up a radar contact and found U-66 on the surface in bright moonlight. Captain Seehausen kept U-66 on the surface, reporting to Brest, France while keeping the TBM at a distance by firing AA. Sellars stayed on station until the Buckley could attack. At one point he dived his unarmed TBM directly at the sub emptying his Colt 45 into the conning tower!

When the Buckley was within 4,000 yards the sub opened up with a torpedo. DE 51 Buckley returned fire from her 3” guns at about 2,000 yards. The Buckley turned sharply to avoid a second torpedo. The two ships were now side by side firing on each other. The Buckley then did a hard right rudder and rammed the submarine. The Buckley Captain then gave an American order that had not been heard since the earliest days of our country, “Stand by to repel boarders”. In the next few minutes the two crews were engaged in hand to hand combat that sometimes involved just fists. DE 51 Buckley backed off and U-66 veered into her and rolled to a 60 degree angle. Quick thinking men aboard the Buckley threw hand grenades down the open hatch of the conning tower. U-66 still moved away and began a dive only to suffer severe explosions. Buckley began searching for survivors but only four officers ( no captain ) were found. The photo at right shows DE 51 Buckley’s bow bent and in for repairs following the ramming of U-66. USS Buckley Captain, LCDR Brent Maxwell Abel USNR received the Navy Cross for his actions in the encounter with U-66.

Block Island remained in the area with the captured Germans until 13 May 1944 when relieved by CVE 9 Bogue. CVE 21 reached Casablanca 18 May 1944. The re-supplied carrier was again underway on 23 May 1944 and back in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands. On 28 May 1944 the Block Island’s search TBMs picked up a radar contact and then lost it. It was U-549, a 750 ton type IXc U-Boat on its very first patrol. Another contact was made at 0255 on 29 May 1944 but it disappeared before ordinance could be dropped. As Block Island continued its search over the next hours the U-Boat continued to evade the hunter.

As evening arrived a periscope broke the surface with the Block Island directly ahead. At 2013 the first U-549 torpedo slammed into the bow area. About four seconds after the first, a second torpedo hit the stern penetrating an oil tank and ordinance magazine. The photo at left shows CVE 21 after the first and second torpedo hit. CVE 21 was dead in the water as the hunter had become the hunted. A third torpedo struck at 2023 finishing off the Block Island. Captain Hughes gave the order to prepare to abandon ship.
DE 686 Eugene E. Elmore sighted a periscope and started an attack with depth charges. Crewmen standing on the Block Island’s flight deck started cheering when they saw oil and smoke coming from near the Barr after it sent out depth charges. What they did not know was a fourth U-549 torpedo ( in the sequence it is believed that torpedos #1, #2 hit CVE 21 followed by #3 into the Barr and #4 into CVE 21 ) had hit the Barr near the stern causing 28 deaths and many injuries. Many believe the torpedo was intended for the Block Island as Barr moved into position to protect the carrier. The damage from the torpedo to DE 576 Barr is shown in the photo at right.
With the Block Island’s fate now sealed, Captain Hughes gave the order to abandon ship starting from the forward starboard side. Life rafts were cut loose and even some rafts on TBMs were thrown into the water. Most men descended down ropes into the water from the starboard or lee side so they could drift way from the ship. By 2100 most of the crew were in the water and began gathering around rafts.

Captain Hughes kept a small group on board including men who were trying to free a man whose leg was trapped. After an hour of using an acetylene torch to no avail, the ship’s surgeon removed the leg only to have the man die a short time later. Six other men who had lost their lives remained on board. Captain Hughes ordered all remaining personnel off CVE 21 at 2140.

DE 575 Ahrens stopped engines and began picking up survivors. With its engines quiet it picked up sonar noise from U-549. Captain Harris of the Ahrens radioed the Eugene E. Elmore immediately. Hedgehogs (ant-submarine mortars) from DE 686 Eugene E. Elmore struck U-549 at 2127 causing a large explosion audible to ships monitoring in the area and sending the sub crew to the bottom of the sea. The Robert I. Paine picked up additional survivors as the Block Island began to sink. At 2155 the Block Island slipped below the surface followed by a large shock as ordnance magazines exploded. The Ahrens was nearly lifted from the sea as a result and many of the CVE 21 survivors thought they had been torpedoed.

Several crewmen of CVE 21 remember that at the time the submarine was spotted some of the Block Island gun crews were still at their battle stations. Word was passed for the 5” gun on the fantail to train on the area where the periscope was
spotted. This gun crew answered that it was impossible for them to train on the periscope because the carrier
was so low in the water that any shots they could take would strike the underside of the flight deck. The orders
then were for the gun crew to abandon ship as ordered.

Everyone who went over the side of the Block Island into the sea survived, a total 674 men crowded every space on the Ahrens and 277 were crammed aboard the Paine. Unfortunately, of the six pilots in the air at the time of the sinking only two were able to reach Las Palmas, the other four were never found.

The next morning the destroyer escorts with the survivors and the Barr in tow made for Casablanca. They arrived 1 Jun 1944 and were issued Army khakis in an effort to keep the news of the sinking from German spies. Photos at left and right show crew in Casablanca following rescue. On 8 Jun 1944 personnel were allowed to cable home with news of the Block Island. The crew was loaded onto three escort carriers, CVE 59 USS Mission Bay, CVE 69 USS Kasaan Bay, and CVE 72 USS Tulagi and transported home for 30 days survivors’ leave.
During this time Captain Hughes began an intensive campaign to keep his crew together to serve on a new Block Island. He was very proud of his crew and their efforts during combat operations. He believed that they would make an excellent, veteran crew for a new ship. The rest of the story continues with the history of CVE 106, the second USS Block Island.
The Memories link on this website has a number of stories from the actual survivors of the sinking.

Unfortunately a number of shipmates did not arrive in Casablanca as survivors. .

CDR Roy L. Swift with Robert J Cressman(1986, Winter). The Tale of Two Block Islands., The Hook, 22-39

Dictionary of American Fighting Ships, www.history.navy.mil/danfs/index.html

Naval Historical Foundation Photographic Service. Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC.

Y’Blood, William(1983). Hunter-Killer: U.S. Escort Carriers in the Battle of the Atlantic. USA:Naval Institute Press.

James L. Noles, Jr. (July 1, 2004). All Guts, No Glory., Air & Space Magazine

USS Block Island Association. CHIPS newsletters, vol. 1-23

Now that we have airplanes that can fly they can’t leave without this landing signal officer. (LSO)

The following was taken from official Navy publications:

★ CVE 21 pioneered the use of HF/DF (high frequency direction finder) against the submarine menace in the Atlantic.

★ CVE 21 was the first US Navy aircraft carrier to pioneer the hunter/killer process as put into operation by Captain Logan Ramsey in the search for German submarines in WW2.

★ The planes of CVE 21 were the first to use airborne rockets in attack on German submarines. On 11 Jan 1944 Lt.(jg) L.L. McFord with crewmen C. Gertsch and W.H. Ryder flying a TBF-1C fired rockets on German submarine U-758.

★ CVE 21 was the first and only US Naval Aircraft Carrier sunk by enemy action in the Atlantic.

★ The crew of CVE 21 was the first crew of a US Naval vessel which had been sunk in combat to be maintained as a unit until another ship of the same name could be prepared for its use in WW2.

Above is a small reproduction of a 1943 artist sketch of an F4F Wildcat fighter being flown off the deck of CVE 21. The decision to launch the aircraft by catapult or direct fly off depended upon wind speed and the weight of bombs, rockets or torpedos aboard.

CVE 21 Command

CAPTAIN LOGAN RAMSEY, Sr. USN

Captain Logan C. Ramsey was born at Jackson, Mississippi, on 26 Feb 1898, the son of Walter Pitman and Susan Elizabeth Fite Ramsey. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1918 with the Class of 1919. During the last six months of World War I, he served aboard the USS Texas in the British Grand Fleet. Captain Ramsey became a naval aviator in 1921. When the attack was leveled at Pearl Harbor, he was Operations Officer of the Patrol Wings based in the Hawaiian Area. In May 1942 he became Operations Officer at the island of Midway. Subsequently, he served as Chief of Staff to Commander Aircraft, Pacific Fleet. On 8 Mar 1943 he became the Commanding Officer of the CVE 21 Block Island. He brought aboard some fifty survivors of an aircraft carrier that was sunk in the Pacific. He served aboard the Block Island until March 10, 1944, where he was ordered to duty as Chief of Staff to the Commander, Fleet Air, Norfolk. Captain Ramsey was given some 50 survivors from the USS Lexington (CV-2) which was sunk in the Coral Sea during the Battle of Midway, with the majority of the 890 sailor compliment having never previously been at sea with the majority being USNR not Regular Navy. With the first two cruises of the ship scheduled for aircraft transport his job was to weld this crew into a cohesive fighting unit which was accomplished in a record time. Having been Operations Officer of the Navy Forces on the island of Midway, and later Chief of Staff to the Commander of Aircraft for the entire Pacific Fleet, Captain Ramsey was well qualified for this task. His son, Ensign Logan Ramsey Jr., served on CVE 106.

Captain Logan Ramsey Sr. was not new to making history in World War II. The then Lt. Cmd. Logan Ramsey Sr. sounded the alarm at the outbreak of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He also sent this historic message out on the airways “Air Raid Pearl Harbor, this is no drill”. A scene in the movie “Tora Tora Tora” depicts Captain Ramsey sending this message. His name is also mentioned in the movie “Midway”.

He retired as a Rear Admiral in 1949 and then served as vice president of Spring Garden College, PA for 17 years. He died 26 Sep 1972 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

CAPTAIN FRANCIS MASSIE HUGHES, USN

Captain Hughes was a member of the Naval Academy class of 1923 where he earned a letter as the quarterback for the football team. At Battle Fleet he was a football coach with an outstanding record. He first served on the USS Texas and the USS Chicago. He earned his wings at Pensacola in 1931. During the attack on Pearl Harbor he managed to get his PBY in the air while still wearing his pajamas which he was unable to change for the next 48 hours. He was in command of the Midway Sand Island Seaplane Base (VP-23) during the Battle of Midway, 3-7 Jun 1942. Famous movie director and producer John Ford flew a PBY with Captain Hughes at the controls on 3 Jun 1942 sighting two Japanese planes from the enemy fleet, they remained friends after the war. It was a PBY-5A Catalina from VP-23 that discovered the Japanese fleet leading to a great naval victory for the United States.
Captain Francis Massie Hughes became the Captain of CVE 21 on March 10, 1944 and was in command of the CVE 21 task force when the USS Block Island was sunk by German submarines on May 29, 1944. Capt. Hughes played an important part in having the Navy keep the surviving crew members together so that CVE 106 could become an active force in the Battle of the Pacific against the Japanese. He attained the rank of Rear Admiral and was serving as Commandant, Fifth Naval District, Norfolk when during a physical exam he had a heart attack and died on 23 Dec 1960. He is buried on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

LT. WILLIAM F. HARRIS, USN

In building the original crew for CVE 21 Captain Ramsey knew that he would need men who had proven records and combat experience and was authorized to seek out several important position from personnel who were available for service on his new ship. Before making this selection he spent hours going over the service records and had many interviews before he made this selection. He was very impressed with the service records and the previous experience of an enlisted man who had been serving as a navigator on one of the battleships well before the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor . One of the selections was then Chief Quarter Master W. F. Harris and several more with other abilities, but the later service record of this individual shows that Captain Ramsey was very just in this selection.
William F Harris was a Chief Quartermaster when he came aboard CVE 21. He was given a field promotion (in the Navy called “mustang”) to Lt. Junior Grade while on the CVE 21. Like many of the other crew members that went aboard CVE 106 he remained on board CVE 106 until it was taken to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, in 1946, where he became a Navigation Instructor and eventually retired from the Navy as a full Commander. Prior to coming aboard CVE 21 in September 1942, as one of the original shipmates, Harris served on the Battleship USS Nevada from November 1937 in the Navigation Section. With so many of the original crew of CVE 21 being raw recruits in 1942, Petty Officer Harris became a very important part of that crew. As noted, Captain Ramsey also brought aboard CVE 21 fifty survivors of an aircraft carrier that was sunk by the Japanese in July of 1942. The field appointment Harris received while serving on CVE 21 was his reward for the excellent training he provided to this “raw” crew. William Harris went on to serve on CVE 106.


USS McCormick (DD-223)

USS McCormick (DD-223) was a Clemson class destroyer that served in the eastern Mediterranean in 1922-24, the Asiatic Fleet in 1925-38 and the Atlantic from 1939 onwards, mainly as a convoy escort.

The McCormick was named after Lt. Alexander A. McCormick, a US naval aviator who died on 24 September 1918 of injuries sustained while serving as an aerial gunner with the RAF.

The McCormick was laid down at Cramp&rsquos of Philadelphia on 11 August 1919, launched on 14 February 1920 and commissioned on 30 August 1920.

After her shakedown cruise the McCormick joined Destroyer Division 39, Destroyer Squadron 5 of the Pacific Fleet. She served with that force for most of 1921, before being allocated to the Destroyer Dtachment , Naval Forces in European Waters. She crossed the Atlantic in June 1922 (making the trip with the Bulmer, Litchfield (DD-336), Parrott (DD-218), Edsall (DD-219), MacLeish (DD-220) and Simpson (DD-221) in June 1922). The squadron reached Gibraltar on 22 June 1922. She then moved to the eastern Mediterranean, where she helped with relief efforts in Russia, the former Ottoman Empire and eastern Europe. She was withdrawn from the area in 1924, after the treaty of Lausanne officially ended the war between the Allies and Turkey.

The McCormick joined the Asiatic Fleet on 28 March 1925, and from then until 10 July she was commanded by Aaron Stanton Merrill, later the successful commander of a cruiser division in the Pacific during the Second World War. The McCormick took part in the standard pattern of operations for the Asiatic Fleet, spending the summers in Chinese waters protecting US interests during the civil wars in China and the early stages of the Japanese invasion, and the winters in the Philippines. During her time with the Asiatic Fleet she was used as the flagship of DesDiv 39 and DesDiv 14.

Anyone who served on her during five periods between 7 January 1927 and 20 April 1931 qualified for the Yangtze Service Medal.

On 15 March 1932 the McCormick was ordered to return to the United States. Her new home base was San Diego, and she remained there until she was decommissioned on 14 October 1938.

She was out of commission for less than a year. On 26 September 1939, after the outbreak of war in Europe, she was recommissioned. She was then assigned to the neutrality patrol, operating in the Atlantic.

Anyone who served on her between 22 June-13 July 1941, 29 July-9 October 1941 or 30 October-2 December 1941 qualified for the American Defense Medal.

Her captain from 8 December 1941 to 3 October 1942 was Eugene S. Sarsfield, lost with his next ship, the Maddox (DD-622) while supporting the landings at Gela on Sicily on 10 July 1943.

From October 1942 her captain was Seymour D. Owens, later killed in action while commanding the Norman Scott (DD-690) at Tinian on 24 July 1944.

During 1942 the McCormick was used as a convoy escort on the routes from Halifax and Argentia to Londonderry.

At the start of 1943 the McCormick was used to escort convoys heading for Casablanca to support Operation Torch.

In July 1943 she was escorting a west-bound convoy that was being escorted by the Santee (CVE-29). On 12 July the Santee was relieved by the Core (CVE-13). Before the Santee left, four U-boats were discovered. Both carriers remained with the convoy, and sank all four of the U-boats. U-487 was sunk by aircraft from the Core on 13 July. U-160 was sunk by aircraft from the Santee on 14 July and U-509 on 15 July. Finally the Core accounted for U-67 on 16 July. The McCormick rescued three survivers from U-67.

The McCormick continued to escort convoys until 5 December. She then joined Task Group 27.4, based around the carrier Croatan (CVE-25) on a voyage to Casablanca and back, ferrying aircraft to the North African theatre.

Early in 1944 the McCormick was used to escort the seaplane tender Albermarle (AV-5) on trips to Natal (Brazil) and Casablanca.

On 1 April 1944 the McCormick was ordered back to Boston to resume her escort and anti-submarine duties. In May she escorted a convoy to North Africa. She spent most of the next four months in African and European waters, vistiing Bizerte, Oran, Cherbourg, Belfat and Milford Haven.

She returned to Boston on 1 October 1944. She spent the next three months on convoy and patrol duties off the US East Coast.

In January 1945 the McCormick escorted another convoy to Casablanca.

On 31 March 1945 she was allocated to SubRon 3 at Balboa in the Panama Canal Zone. On 30 June 1945 she was reclassified as a miscellaneous auxiliary (AG-118). On 21 July she began an overhaul at Boston, but the war ended before this had been completed.

She was decommissioned on 4 October 1945, struck off the Navy List on 24 October 1945 and sold for scrap on 15 December 1946.


USS ARKANSAS BB-33

Moored port side to Pier #5 berth 33, Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth,
Virginia with 8 manila and 2 wire lines. The ship is receiving fresh
and flushing water, electricity, telephone and hot loop services from
the dock. #1 boiler is in use for auxiliary purposes, Ships present
are: ALMAACK [1 - scroll down to see list below - Editor], GEN. J. POPE [2], BELKNAP [3], BOLIVAR [4], BLOCK ISLAND [5], COCAPON [6], BOOTH [7], DIRECT [8], CROATAN [9], ELMORE [10], HMS FINDHORN [11], HMS INDOMITABLE [12], ARP-47, ARS 5, DuPAGE [13], USS LEJEUNE [14], USS MAYFLOWER [15], OSPREY [16], RICHELIEU MF [17], SWAY [18], URANUS [19], WAYNE [20], WINDSOR [21], WISTERIA [22], WYOMING [23] and various yard and District Craft. SOPA is in ARKANSAS. 0100 Shore Patrol returned aboard having completed temporary additional duty in Portsmouth, Virginia. 0245 Night shft of yard workmen left the ship.

(signed) J. A. Locke, Jr., Lt. U.S.N.R.

Moored as before. 0545 Commenced jacking main engines. 0615 Lit off
Boilers #2 and #3. 0700 The following navy yard workmen came aboard
to work on Turret II weather strip: Shop ll - 7 shipfitters. 0715
Litted safety valves on No. 2 boiler by hand. 0727 Removed "hot loop"
warning net. 0732 Litted safety valves #3 boiler by hand. Cut #2 and #3 boilers in on main line. 0735 USS COCAFON and USS SWAY stood out. 0745 Disengaged jacking gear. 0747 Disengaged all electricity, fresh water, salt water, and telephone lines dock.

(signed) M.G. Smith, Lt. (jg) USN

Moored as before. 0800 Made all preparations for getting underway.
0827 The pilot, I.L. WALTHAM came aboard. 0830 The following tugs
ot the Wood Tow1ng Company came alongsidez HELEN, ROANOKE, EDNA V. CREW, POCAHONTAS, DAUNTLESS. YT #17 and YT #271 also came alongside. 0843 Underway from Pier #5, Berth # 33, Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va. for NOB, Nortolk, Virginia, under boilers #1, #2, and #3, with the pilot at the conn, and the Captain, Executive Officer, Navigator, and Officer-of-the-Deck on the bridge. Standard speed is 12 knots (191 RPM). Draft before getting underway: forward 29'4", aft 31'0". Steaming an various
courses at various speeds to clear the pier and reach the ELIZABETH RIVER
CHANNEL. 0855 All tugs except DAUNTLESS were cast off. 0927 DAUNTLESS was cast off. 0926 With buoy #32 abeam to port, bearing 250º (T), distant 75 yards, entered ELIZABETH RIVER CHANNEL on course 311º (T&G) 319º (psc) at two-thirds speed (132 RPM). 0959 With LAMBERT PT. LT. abeam to port bearing 221º (T), distant 500 yards, changed course to 353º (T&G) 001°(psc). 1016 Tug DAUNTLESS came alongside on starboard bow. 1055 Passed COWANESQUE (24) close aboard to port standing up ELIZABETH RIVER. 1100 Commenced using various courses and speeds to reach Pier #7, NOB. 1105 Two Navy tugs came alongside to starboard. 1119 Moored port side to south side Pier #7, berth #76, NOB, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, with 8 manila and 2 wire lines . Ships present: WILLIAMSBURG (SOPA) (25), ALCOR, BUCKLEY, BLACK, CABANA, CANFIELD, DIONNE, LEEDSTOWN , CORE, BETELGUESE, WORTHINOTON, COSSATOT, GENERAL PUTNAM , MATAGORDA, ANTAEUS, H.M.S. EASTWAY,
LUCE, HALL, STEMBEL, PASQUOTANK, D.L. HOWARD, LOY, RAVEN, STANSBURY, HAMILTON, H.M.S. LEAMINGTON, PHEASANT . 1128 The pilot left the ship and tugs were cast off. 1130 Secured main, stearing, and anchor engines, end let fires die out under boilers #2 and #3. #1 boiler is in use.

(signed) F. G. Richards, Captain, U.S. Navy - Commanding Officer

(signed) D. P,. Stickley, comdr., U.S. Navy - Navigator

Ships listed in the report:

1. USS Almaack (AKA-10) attack cargo ship. The name Almaack refers to a star system in the constellation of Andromeda.

2. USS General John Pope (AP-110) World War II troop transport, also served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

3. USS Belknap (DD-251/AVD-8/DD-251/APD-34) was a Clemson-class destroyer named for Rear Admiral George Eugene Belknap (January 22, 1832 – 7 April 1903).

4. USS Bolivar (APA-34), a Bayfield-class attack transport.

5. USS Block Island (CVE-21/AVG-21/ACV-21), a Bogue-class escort carrier.

6. USS Cacapon (AO-52) was a T3 Cimarron-class fleet oiler.

7. USS Booth (DE-170), a Cannon-class destroyer escort named for Ensign Robert Sinclair Booth, who died aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor.

8. USS Direct (AM-90) an Adroit-class minesweeper.

9. USS Croatan (CVE-25), was a WWII escort carrier.

10. USS Elmore (APA-42), a Bayfield-class attack transport.

11. HMS Findhorn (K 301) was a Royal Navy River class Frigate.

12. HMS Indomitable (92) was a modified Illustrious-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy operating 48 aircraft.

13. USS DuPage (AP-86/APA-41), a Bayfield-class attack transport.

14. USS Lejeune (AP-74) was originally a German cargo liner. It was converted to a US Navy troop transport. Her original name was TS Windhuk ("Turbine Ship" Windhuk).

15. USS Mayflower started as a luxury yacht in 1897, was converted to USS Mayflower (PY-1) and served as a presidential yacht for five United States presidents. Later recommissioned as the USCGC Mayflower (WPG-183) serving during World War II and then later sold to work as a merchant ship, then became the INS Maoz (K 24) for the Israeli navy. The ship served in the Spanish–American War, World War I and World War II.

16. USS Osprey (AM–56), was a Raven-class minesweeper.

17. The Richelieu was a French fast battleship, completed just as WWII began, was damaged by British ships before joining the Free French Fleet, repaired in the United States and then joined the British Home Fleet.

18. USS Sway (AM-120) was an Auk-class minesweeper.

19. USS Uranus (AF-14) was a Uranus-class stores ship .

20. USS Wayne (APA-54) was a Sumter-class attack transport.

21. USS Windsor (APA-55) was an attack transport.

22. USAHS Wisteria was a Hospital Ship.

23. USS Wyoming (BB-32) was the lead ship of the Wyoming dreadnought battleship class and was the sister ship of the USS Arkansas.

24. USS Cowanesque (AO-79) was a Type T2-SE-A1 Suamico-class fleet oiler.

25. USS Williamsburg was a US Navy gunboat. Built as a private yacht, it also served as a presidential yacht from 1945 to 1953.


USS Doyle (DMS-34)

USS Doyle, a Gleaves -class destroyer, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Richard Doyle, who fought during the Barbary Wars, and died while in service in 1807.
Doyle was launched on 17 March 1942 by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co., Seattle, Washington sponsored by Mrs. C. M. Maloney. The ship was commissioned on 27 January 1943, Lieutenant Commander C. E. Boyd in command.

1.1. Service history World War II
Doyle reached New York from Bremerton on 26 April 1943. Between 13 May and 29 November, she made four voyages as a convoy escort: Two to Casablanca, French Morocco, one to Greenock, Scotland, and one to Derry, Northern Ireland. For the next few months she served on the Atlantic Coast, in antisubmarine operations and training exercises and cruised to the Caribbean in the screen of the escort carrier Bataan.
Doyle put out from Casco Bay, Maine, 18 April 1944, and arrived at Plymouth, England, ten days later to prepare for the invasion of Normandy. On 5 June, she sortied with the 31st Minesweeping Flotilla to clear the assault area. She gave fire support to the landing forces on D-Day, 6 June, received on board 37 survivors of LCIs 93 and 487, and served on patrol until returning to Plymouth, England on 15 July for brief overhaul.
Sailing 1 August 1944 for Oran, Doyle departed from that port ten days later for the invasion of southern France, escorting a convoy to the assault area and patrolling to cover the landings. She continued to support the invasion by escorting convoys from Naples and patrolling off Marseilles until 21 September when she sailed for the United States, arriving at New York 3 October for overhaul.
Doyle made three more voyages to escort convoys to north Africa between 3 January and 10 June 1945. She arrived at Norfolk on 20 June for conversion to a highspeed minesweeper, and was reclassified DMS-34, 23 June 1945. After conversion, she sailed from Norfolk 27 August for the Pacific, calling at San Diego, Pearl Harbor, and Okinawa, and arriving at Sasebo 24 October. She served in the Far East on occupation duty, at Sasebo as flagship for Commander, Mine Force, Pacific, for most of her tour returning to San Francisco on 31 March 1946. Thereafter, she operated on the west coast and in the western Pacific 18 August 1947 to 19 April 1948.

2. Awards
Doyle received two battle stars 6 Jun 44 - 25 Jun 44 E5.15 Aug 44 - 25 Sep 44 E-7 for World War II and 6 for Korean War service. 21 Jul-2 Nov 50 K1 3 Nov-30 Dec 50 K2 30 Jan-4 Feb 51 K4 7-27 Nov 51 K6 28 Nov 51-3 Feb 52 K7
21-23 Feb 52 K7 25-28 Feb 52 K7 14-15 Apr 52 K7 17-30 Apr 52 K7 1-28 May 52 K8 7-22 Jun 52 K8 Only one star is authorized for participation in one or more engagements with the same code.
World War II Victory
navy occupation with asia clasp
American Campaign
13 Oct 45 - 12 Mar 46 A 24 Feb 48 A
National Defense Service Medal
China Service medal 2 Sep 47 - 7 Apr 48
Korean Service Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern with 2 stars
United Nations Korean Service

  • USS Doyle has been the name of at least three ships in the United States Navy. USS Doyle DMS - 34 a Gleaves - class destroyer, from 1943 45, then a fast
  • HMS Diadem 84 USS Dorothea L. Dix AP - 67 SS Dover Hill USS Doyle DMS - 34 HMS Dragon D46 HMS Durban D99 HMS Emerald D66 USS Emmons DD - 457 SS Empire
  • USS Mervine DMS - 31 USS Quick DMS - 32 USS Carmick DMS - 33 USS Doyle DMS - 34 USS Endicott DMS - 35 USS McCook DMS - 36 USS Davison DMS - 37 USS Thompson DMS - 38
  • USS Thompson DD - 627 later DMS - 38 was first a Gleaves - class destroyer, then became an Ellyson - class destroyer minesweeper. She was the second Navy ship
  • AP - 2 APA - 1 USS Doyle DD - 494 DMS - 34 FFG - 39 USS Doyle C. Barnes DE - 353 USS Draco AK - 79 USS Dragon 1861 USS Dragonet SS - 293 USS Drake AM - 359 USS Drayton
  • reinforced U.N. positions at the southern end of the peninsula. She joined Doyle DMS - 34 on 2 August escorting Sicily CVE - 118 while that carrier s aircraft
  • PC - 466 USS Carmick DD - 493 DMS - 33 USS Carmita 1862, IX - 152 USS Carnation 1863 USS Carnegie AVG - 38 ACV - 38 CVE - 38 USS Carnelian PY - 19 USS Carney
  • destroyer destroyer minesweepers, USS Thompson DD - 627 DMS - 38 and USS Doyle DD - 494 DMS - 34 as facsimiles to portray the USS Caine. An epigraph appears on
  • Korean forces from five carriers during the battle: USS Valley Forge with Carrier Air Group 5, USS Philippine Sea with Carrier Air Group 11, HMS Triumph

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USS Doyle, a Gleaves class destroyer, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Richard Doyle, who fought during the Barbary Wars, and died while in service in 1807. Doyle was launched on 17 March 1942 by Seattle Tacoma. War Diary, 9 1 45 TO 10 31 45. U.S.S. Doyle DMS 34 is sailing the Euro pean and Mediterranean area with Ens. Al ber t Lugio aboard. A 2c Frank Somers is overseas in England with the. USS Doyle DMS 34 Naval Ships Cover Oct 31, 1953. 2 August 1950 Joined USS DOYLE DMS 34 escorting USS SICILY CVE 118 while the carriers planes struck enemy troop and supply concentrations. Military reunions The Spokesman Review. DMS 34 USS Doyle ex DD 494 Ellyson Class Fast Minesweeper ex Gleaves Class Destroyer Displacement: 1630 tons Length: 3484.

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CVE-25 U.S.S. Croatan - History

A Tin Can Sailors
Destroyer History

USS BELKNAP
(AVD-8, AVD-34, ex-DD-251)

The CLEMSON-class destroyer, USS BELKNAP (DD-251) was named for George Eugene Belknap, a veteran of the Civil War and the Formosa Expedition of 1867. He retired as a rear admiral in 1894 and died in Key West in 1903.

The BELKNAP was launched in January 1919 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy , Mass. After a brief stint with the U.S. Naval forces in the Mediterranean, she returned to the United States to join the Atlantic Fleet. She was decommissioned in June 1922 at the Philadelphia Navy yard and remained there until 1940. That year, the BELKNAP was converted to a seaplane tender, reclassified AVD-8 in August and recommissioned in November 1940. She was assigned to Patrol Wing 5 at Hamilton , Bermuda, and remained there until early 1941 when she returned to Newport , R.I. Between May and September 1941, she made three voyages from Newport to Newfoundland and Iceland . She remained at Reykjavik , Iceland , until May 1942, then went to Charleston Navy yard for an extensive overhaul.

From August 1942 to January 1943 she patrolled the Caribbean . Between February 1943 and January 1944, she served with the USS BOGUE (CVE-9), CROATAN (CVE-25), and CORE (CVE-13) hunter-killer groups in the Atlantic . Reclassified DD-251 on 14 November 1943, the BELKNAP received the Presidential Unit Citation for her service with the BOGUE’s TG 21.12 from April to June 1943. Following convoy duty along the East and Gulf coasts between February and June 1944, she underwent conversion to a high speed transport and was reclassified APD-34 on 22 June 1944.

Her conversion completed, the BELKNAP arrived in the Pacific in September 1944. From 18 to 22 October, she screened ships during the Leyte invasion and in early January 1945 served as a bombardment and beach reconnaissance vessel at the Lingayen Gulf, Luzon , landings. On 11 January, her gunfire hit a Japanese suicide plane that crashed into her number two stack, crippling her engines, killing 38 men, and wounding 49. The BELKNAP remained in the gulf making emergency repairs until 18 January when the HIDATSA (ATF-102) towed her to Manus, Admiralty Islands . Following temporary repairs at Manus, she headed for home and the Philadelphia Navy Yard, arriving on 18 June 1945. The BELKNAP was decommissioned on 4 August and sold on 30 November 1945 for scrapping.

From The Tin Can Sailor, October 2013


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