Ketchikan, Alaska - During World War II, the American military machine was cranking out warships almost faster than it could name them and several of the ships ended up bearing the names of Alaskan cities or places.
Perhaps the most famous, and tragic, Alaska-related warship was the USS Juneau, a light cruiser that was sunk by torpedoes during the Battle of Guadalcanal, leading to the deaths of of its crewmembers, including five sons of the Sullivan family of Waterloo Iowa. The U. Official U. Navy photograph. History has apparently lost the reason why a relatively obscure body of water in Southeast Alaska would lend its name to an aircraft carrier.
Originally, when the keel was laid down, init was intended to be a "fleet oiler," a supply ship. But early in the war it became obvious that more aircraft carriers were needed and it was a slow, expensive process turning out "fleet carriers.
Escort carriers could help ferry planes into forward areas and also perform convoy escort duties, particularly in the North Atlantic where German U-boats were running amok, especially in the early stages of the war. Also called "jeep carriers" or "baby flattops," the escort carriers were basically half as long, feet, as a fleet carrier and a third the tonnage 7, to 8, tons. They were crewed by around sailors, a ificantly smaller than the fleet carriers.
The escort carriers top speed was around 18 knots so they were unable to keep up the faster moving attack fleets led by the fleet carriers. But they were cheaper to operate and build, which was why, during the war, the US produced escort carriers and 30 fleet carriers.
They also had much less armor and other protection than the larger carriers Crews morbidly joked that the CVE classification actually stood for "Combustible, Vulnerable and Expendable.
It was one of 50 escort carriers built by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Company in Vancouver, Washington and was completed in Octobera mere five months after its keel was laid. It was commissioned in December, and went to sea under the command of Captain B. Initially, it was stationed in the Pacific and ferried passengers and planes from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor.
But then it was decided to move the ship to the Atlantic and it was sent to Norfolk, Virginia.
In May, it took a cargo of planes and equipment to Casablanca. Pilots from the ship supported the invasion and were given credit for downing two German planes. It made one more plane ferrying trip to Casablanca and then was reased to the Pacific as the US began ramping up for an expected invasion of the Japanese home islands.
It continued to travel between the forward bases and Pearl Harbor until it was permanently ased to patrol the shipping lanes between the Marshall and Mariana islands, protecting the supply lanes for the Battle of Okinawa. Portion of a historic photo of Pearl Harbor dated ca.
View facing north. But the expected invasion did not materialize and when the war ended in August, the Kasaan Bay returned to Guam.
In late December ofshe returned to the West Coast and then transited to Boston in February of In February ofthe ship was scrapped. It was a book made by the crew members of the ship to commemorate their year at sea.
Inside are stories about crew members, features about the captain and the executive officer and s of photos of crewmen. Most interesting id a song to the ship, written by an anonymous crewman to the tune a popular song, "Jennie Made Up Her Mind. Here a few:. Kassie is a flattop, a Kaiser dream Very flat of bottom, very broad of beam Oh, she's bobbed about the oceans like a drunken cork But she's carried us from Oregon to old New York.
Kassie ain't too pretty, we know she ain't Her lines are kinda stubby and her island's quaint But give her any job to do as tough as they come And Kassie is the lassie who will get it done. Oh, Kassie, impudent and sassy the Queen of all the escort line She isn't one for crowin; But she takes no guff from no one She's the Fighting 69!
Historical Feature Stories by Dave Kiffer. Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska. Contact Dave at dave sitnews.
Representations of fact and opinions in comments posted are solely those of the individual posters and do not represent the opinions of Sitnews. Navy photograph History has apparently lost the reason why a relatively obscure body of water in Southeast Alaska would lend its name to an aircraft carrier. But of piece of the old escort carrier remains.
Here a few: Kassie is a flattop, a Kaiser dream Very flat of bottom, very broad of beam Oh, she's bobbed about the oceans like a drunken cork But she's carried us from Oregon to old New York Oh, Kassie, what a Classy Chassis Her double won't be hard to find The Navy's never thrifty So Kaiser's building fifty With the same big fat behind Kassie ain't too pretty, we know she ain't Her lines are kinda stubby and her island's quaint But give her any job to do as tough as they come And Kassie is the lassie who will get it done Oh, Kassie, impudent and sassy the Queen of all the escort line She isn't one for crowin; But she takes no guff from no one She's the Fighting 69!
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