U.S. Navy - A Brief History of Aircraft Carriers

The Carriers header
A Brief History of U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers
Part IIc - The War Years (1944-1945)

Sources: United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1970 [NAVAIR 00-80P-1]
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

All images below are hyperlinked to larger images for better viewing. All images are official Navy photographs.


  Jan. 31, 1944 - USS Franklin (CV 13) commissioned in Newport News, Va., Capt. James M. Shoemaker in command. The ship was launched Oct. 14, 1943.
 
  Apr. 15, 1944 - USS Hancock (CV 19) commissioned , Capt. Fred C. Dickey in command. The ship was originally laid down as Ticonderoga 26 Jan. 1943 by the Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass., and renamed Hancock 1 May 1943.
 
  May 8, 1944 - USS Ticonderoga (CV 14) commissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard on 8 May 1944, Capt. Dixie Kiefer in command. The ship was laid down as Hancock on 1 Feb. 1943 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., and renamed Ticonderoga on 1 May 1943. It was launched on 7 February 1944.
 
  May 28, 1944 - At 2013, USS Block Island (CVE 21), while engaged in hunter-killer operations near the Azores, was torpedoed by the German U-549 which had slipped undetected through her screen. The German submarine put one and perhaps two more torpedoes into the stricken carrier before being sunk itself by USS Eugene E. Elmore (DE-686) and USS Ahrens (DE-575). Block Island was the only carrier lost in the Atlantic.
 
  Jun. 4, 1944 - USS Guadalcanal (CVE 60), under the command of Capt. Dan Gallery, while on patrol in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa, captures the German submarine U-505 with help of USS Chatelain (DE 149) and USS Pillsbury (DE 133) . It was the only submarine captured by the U.S. Navy in World War II.
 
  Jun. 19, 1944 - The Battle of the Philippine Sea began when USS Hornet (CV 12) launched strikes to destroy as many land-based Japanese planes on Saipan as possible before the carrier-based Japanese aircraft came in. The Japanese approached the American carriers in four massive waves. But fighter aircraft from Hornet and other carriers broke up all the attacks before the Japanese reached the task force. Nearly every Japanese aircraft was shot down in what became commonly known as "The Marianas Turkey Shoot." Only 35 operational aircraft remained out of the 430 planes with which Japanese Adm. Ozawa had commenced the Battle of the Philippine Sea. U.S. air strikes also sank the Japanese carrier Hiji and so damaged two tankers that they were abandoned and scuttled.
 
  Jun. 29, 1944 - Carrier Air Groups were standardized for all commands under the following designations: CVBG, large carrier air group; CVG, medium carrier air group; CVLG, light carrier air group; CVEG, escort carrier air group (Sangamon class); and, VC, escort carrier air group (C 3 and Kaiser classes).
 
  Aug. 6, 1944 - USS Bennington (CV 20) commissioned , Capt. J. B. Sykes in command. The ship was launched 16 Feb. 1944 by New York Navy Yard.
 
  Sept. 15, 1944 - USS Shangri-La (CV 38) commissioned at Norfolk, Va., Capt. James D. Barner, commanding.
 
  Oct. 9, 1944 - USS Randolph (CV 15) was commissioned in Norfolk, Va., 9 October 1944, Capt. Felix Baker in command.
 
  Oct. 24, 1944 - USS Princeton (CVL 23) was lost in an air attack in the Sibuyan Sea during the Battle for Leyte Gulf. Expanded information
 
  Oct. 30, 1944 - While USS Belleau Wood (CVL 24) was patrolling with her task group east of Leyte, she shot down a Japanese suicide plane which fell on her flight deck aft causing fires which set off ammunition. Before the holocaust could be brought under control, 92 men were killed or missing.
 
  Nov. 25, 1944 -During the battle to oust the Japanese from the Philippines, planes from USS Intrepid (CV 11), and other carriers, continued to hit airfields and shipping in the islands. On 25 Nov., two kamikaze aircraft broke through the antiaircraft fire and crashed into Intrepid. Six officers and 59 sailors were killed in the attack but Intrepid maintained station, and in less than two hours had extinguished the blaze.
 
  Nov. 26, 1944 - USS Bon Homme Richard (CV 31) commissioned , Capt. A. O. Rule, Jr., in command. The ship was launched 29 Apr. 1944 by New York Navy Yard.
 
  Jan. 28, 1945 - USS Antietam (CV 36) commissioned , Capt. James R. Tague in command. The ship was laid down on 15 Mar. 1943 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard and launched on 20 August.
 
  Mar. 19, 1945 - USS Franklin (CV 13), which had maneuvered closer to the Japanese homeland than any other U.S. carrier, was attacked by a single Japanese plane which dropped two armor-piercing bombs, devastating the hangar deck and setting off ammunition. Franklin was enveloped by fire. Casualties totaled 724 killed and 265 wounded. Franklin remained afloat and proceeded under her own power to Pearl Harbor for repairs. Extended information.
 
  Apr. 16, 1945 - USS Boxer (CV 21) commissioned, Capt. D. F. Smith in command. It was launched 14 Dec. 1944 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.
 
  Jun. 3, 1945 - USS Lake Champlain (CV 39) commissioned, Capt. Logan C. Ramsey, commanding. The ship was laid down at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va., Mar. 15, 1943.
 
  Sept. 2, 1945 - World War II ends when representatives of Japan and the Allied Forces meet and Japan signs the instruments of surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB 63) in Tokyo Bay.