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The pilots newly ased to the ship, the VC squadron, had claimed their first enemy sub a month earlier. As fate would have it, not much of a chance at all. Wiltsie, last seen scouring the ship for survivors, also went down with the ship. Elsewhere in the overcast sky, in disorganized clusters and even alone, U. Anti-aircraft shells burst around his aircraft and punched holes in its wings and fuselage.

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For a moment, the Wildcat tried to keep flying. There was nowhere to land. That summer in the Kitkun Bay was a busy one for Snyder and his comrades, flying in support of the bloody landings on Tinian, Guam, Anguar, and Peleliu as U. With each invasion, the escort-carrier-based squadrons proved their mettle. By the time the last one catapulted skyward, geysers spouting from Japanese shells bracketed the ship.

The U. The cookie-cutter qualities of mass production and the hurried schedule made the sailors ased to the ships uncomfortable.

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The naval actions around the Philippines that October spelled the end of the Imperial Japanese Navy as a mortal threat to the U. So did future amphibious assaults. A second heavy explosion was seen and heard about twenty seconds after the first…. Moller was not the only aviator seeking a shipboard home in the summer of Finally, two slots opened up on escort carriers.

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The Navy intended these warships, the first escort carriers deed from the keel up, to escort convoys, hunt U-boats in the Atlantic, and provide close air support for Allied invasion troops in the Pacific. Beginning in JanuaryRoosevelt pressured a hesitant Navy to convert merchant ships and oilers into light aircraft carriers capable of escorting the vulnerable convoys.

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In command was Captain Francis M. Hughes, who had skippered the original Block Island, lost to the U a year earlier, and among the crew were many survivors of the sinking. Their finest hour, however, was yet to come. Its left landing gear was sheared off as the aircraft skidded across the deck.

Snyder and his section leader, Jack Krouse, headed for the enemy ships. Before the pilot could squirm free, his Wildcat nosed over into the foaming water. Kaiser launched his first escort carrier, the Casablanca, on April 5, The second, the Liscome Baycame two weeks later. Navy Escort Carrier the Liscome Bay. One of 36 pilots practicing landings that October day inCastello was preparing to U.

Forces in trying to dislodge the Japanese from strongholds in the Solomon Islands.

All guts, no glory for the escort carriers

As dusk fell, the U slipped through the destroyer escort screen and launched three torpedoes into the carrier. Then it smashed back down. Beasley was no aviator, but he knew a bolter coming when he saw one. Kaiser was already cranking out cargo-carrying Liberty ships in under 60 days each. As the morning passed, Japanese gunfire took its toll in the running duel. Major R. Then we remembered another airstrip at Dulag, 15 miles to the south, and turned for it. Krouse, my section leader and wingman, was facing the same situation. How long would their slow, thin-skinned carrier have to remain off Makin?

But how would such small, slow ships fare when they sailed into battle?

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With a screech of metal, the mangled fighter disappeared over the starboard side and into the Pacific Ocean. It deated the converted merchant ships the Bogue class, after the first escort carrier commissioned from those conversions, and labeled the covered oilers the Cimmaron class. Good luck! Even the best landing was little more than a controlled crash on the largest fleet attack carriers, but on the much smaller deck of an escort carrier, the feat was even dicier.

What they lacked in strength, world war ii escort carriers made up in s…and the perseverance of their crews.

If an experienced pilot like the lieutenant could lose his life in a training accident within sight of the California coast, what chance did they stand when the shooting started? The destroyers Hoel and Johnston were literally blasted out of the water, as was the destroyer escort Samuel B. Before long, Snyder, like so many other pilots engaged in the chaotic battle, ran out of ammunition. He applied the same techniques to his escort carriers, assembling much of each ship from prefabricated sections.

Inindustrialist Henry J. Kaiser secured a contract to build 50 carriers over the course of a year—a seemingly impossible feat. Atflight quarters sounded in the Kitkun Bay, sending Snyder and his comrades sprinting to their aircraft. And by the end of the contract, Kaiser had delivered all 50—roughly one a week. Perched on a platform off the stern, the landing al officer raised his paddles and guided Castello in.

It was a mess too, but we made it in safely. This column of fire rose to a height of several hundred feet carrying with it burning wreckage and fragments which showered down into the sea for several minutes on all sides. The same day that the Liscome Bay sank in the Pacific, the Block Island, a Bogue-class escort carrier converted from a merchant ship hull, stood out of Norfolk on an asment that demonstrated the versatility of the baby flattops.

It could take an awful lot of punishment, and dish it out too.

Run for the fallen m/c escort

There were continuous explosions. Twenty-three minutes after the torpedo strike, the Liscome Bay sank, along with men. Demoralized after losing three cruisers to the outgunned Americans, he withdrew his ships. Still, it was a good plane. In contrast to the Liscome Bayonly six men were lost.

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But the increasing of naval operations demanded more escort carriers. For over half of them, it would be a one-way trip. When the cloud of fire lifted from the ship she was seen to be a blazing wreck with fires raging throughout her structure. Of course our shoes floated away immediately.

What they lacked in strength, world war ii escort carriers made up in s…and the perseverance of their crews.

A little over a mile away, the skipper of the battleship Mississippi watched in shock:. I saw two men with a rubber raft just below me [and] I went down the rope and ed them. Still he roared on, answering its gunners with his. He decided we should head for the airfield the Army had just captured ashore at Tacloban.

Before the night was over, the destroyer escort Ahrens plucked them from the chilly Atlantic.

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Then on to the next ship. Moments later, En William C. Brooks, a pilot from the CVE St. Sprague ordered his baby flattops to launch all airplanes.

Ship assist and tanker escort

The Liscome Bay set a grim record during the war—for the greatest loss of life in the sinking of a U. More men died in a Japanese air attack on the Essex-class carrier Franklin, but that ship remained afloat. The Block Island operated within a screen of four destroyer escorts, launching patrols of four aircraft. I slept in the raw, but I grabbed my life preserver and started running to find a way off the ship. Castello hit the flight deck fast and hard, bouncing over the arresting wires.

Each airplane took a quadrant and carved it into degree slices—out, across, and then back in to the carrier.

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All along the flight deck, on the catwalks, and through holes blown in the side of the ship, men slipped down lines or simply jumped into the dark sea to escape the spreading conflagration. On May 3,a brand-new escort carrier, again christened the Block Island, arrived off Okinawa. Moller and his companions inflated their Mae West life jackets and soon found a cork float net. The ship was listing about thirty degrees to the starboard. En Selden N. The blast knocked him onto the steel deck. 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.

In a complex operation, the Japanese lured the larger U. En Hans L. At a. Over Peleliu they disrupted a rare Japanese tank attack against a vulnerable U. Marine beachhead. Shells straddled the escort carrier White Plains, missing it but striking close enough to temporarily knock out the steering control.

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This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.


Because this is not a race the nature of the event is less structured than a typical run or marathon.

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