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USS Shipley Bay (CVE-85) was a Casablanca-class escort carrier of the United States Navy. She was named after Shipley Bay, located within Kosciusko Island. The bay in turn was named after Ensign John H. Shipley, an officer on the ship surveying the Alexander Archipelago. Launched in February 1944, and commissioned in March 1944, she served in support of the Battle of Okinawa. Postwar, she participated in Operation Magic Carpet. She was decommissioned in June 1946, when she was mothballed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Ultimately, she was sold for scrapping in October 1959.

USS Shipley Bay off Majuro Atoll, 18 May 1944
United States
NameShipley Bay
NamesakeShipley Bay, Kosciusko Island
Orderedas a Type S4-S2-BB3 hull, MCE hull 1122[1]
Awarded18 June 1942
BuilderKaiser Shipyards
Laid down22 November 1943
Launched12 February 1944
Commissioned21 March 1944
Decommissioned28 June 1946
Stricken1 March 1959
IdentificationHull symbol: CVE-85
Honors and
2 Battle stars
FateSold for scrap, 2 October 1959
General characteristics [2]
Class and type Casablanca-class escort carrier
  • 8,188 long tons (8,319 t) (standard)
  • 10,902 long tons (11,077 t) (full load)
  • 512 ft 3 in (156.13 m) (oa)
  • 490 ft (150 m) (wl)
  • 65 ft 2 in (19.86 m)
  • 108 ft (33 m) (extreme width)
Draft20 ft 9 in (6.32 m) (max)
Installed power
  • 4 × Babcock & Wilcox boilers
  • 9,000 shp (6,700 kW)
  • 2 × Skinner Unaflow reciprocating steam engines
  • 2 × screws
Speed19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)
Range10,240 nmi (18,960 km; 11,780 mi) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
  • Total: 910 – 916 officers and men
    • Embarked Squadron: 50 – 56
    • Ship's Crew: 860
Aircraft carried27
Aviation facilities
Service record
Part of:
  • United States Pacific Fleet (1944–1946)
  • Atlantic Reserve Fleet (1946–1958)
  • Battle of Okinawa
  • Operation Magic Carpet

Design and description

A profile of the design of Takanis Bay, which was shared with all Casablanca-class escort carriers.
A profile of the design of Takanis Bay, which was shared with all Casablanca-class escort carriers.

Shipley Bay was a Casablanca-class escort carrier, the most numerous type of aircraft carriers ever built,[2] and designed specifically to be mass-produced using prefabricated sections, in order to replace heavy early war losses. Standardized with her sister ships, she was 512 ft 3 in (156.13 m) long overall, had a beam of 65 ft 2 in (19.86 m), and a draft of 20 ft 9 in (6.32 m). She displaced 8,188 long tons (8,319 t) standard, 10,902 long tons (11,077 t) with a full load. She had a 257 ft (78 m) long hangar deck and a 477 ft (145 m) long flight deck. She was powered with two Skinner Unaflow reciprocating steam engines, which drove two shafts, providing 9,000 horsepower (6,700 kW), thus enabling her to make 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph). The ship had a cruising range of 10,240 nautical miles (18,960 km; 11,780 mi) at a speed of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph). Her compact size necessitated the installment of an aircraft catapult at her bow, and there were two aircraft elevators to facilitate movement of aircraft between the flight and hangar deck: one each fore and aft.[3][4][5]

One 5-inch (127 mm)/38 caliber dual-purpose gun was mounted on the stern. Anti-aircraft defense was provided by 8 Bofors 40-millimeter (1.6 in) anti-aircraft guns in single mounts, as well as 12 Oerlikon 20-millimeter (0.79 in) cannons, which were mounted around the perimeter of the deck.[5] By the end of the war, Casablanca-class carriers had been modified to carry thirty 20-mm cannons, and the amount of 40-mm guns had been doubled to sixteen, by putting them into twin mounts. These modifications were in response to increasing casualties due to kamikaze attacks. Casablanca-class escort carriers were designed to carry 27 aircraft, but the hangar deck could accommodate more.[5][6]


The escort carrier was laid down on 22 November 1943, under a Maritime Commission contract, MC hull 1122, by Kaiser Shipbuilding Company, Vancouver, Washington. She was named Shipley Bay, which in turn was named after Ensign John H. Shipley, who assisted in surveying the Alexander Archipelago. Her naming was part of a tradition which named escort carriers after bays or sounds in Alaska. She was launched on 12 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Lawrence B. Richardson; transferred to the United States Navy and commissioned on 21 March 1944, with Captain Edgar Tilghman Neale in command.[1][7]

Service history

U.S. Grumman TBF Avengers in flight over Shipley Bay. A destroyer is visible in the foreground.
U.S. Grumman TBF Avengers in flight over Shipley Bay. A destroyer is visible in the foreground.

Upon being commissioned, Shipley Bay underwent a shakedown cruise down the West Coast to San Diego. She operated off the Southern California coast until 3 May, when she took on a load of aircraft and personnel, and ferried them to Pearl Harbor and stops in the South Pacific. She conducted these transport missions until October, making stops at the West Coast, Pearl Harbor, Majuro Atoll, Guadalcanal, and Tulagi. In these missions, she ferried a total of 496 aircraft.[7]

After finishing her aircraft deliveries, she was designated the role of a replacement carrier, carrying aircraft to replenish battlefield losses. She was assigned to Task Group 30.8 within Task Force 38, and maintained a backline, supply role. In three meetings, she transferred a total of 100 aircraft to frontline carriers. The first rendezvous was conducted between 17 October and 29 October 150 mi (240 km) east of Samar, as she provided replacement aircraft for the desperate Battle off Samar. Her second transfer occurred 450 mi (720 km) east of Luzon, between 10 December and 24 December, as landings and close air support began being conducted for the ongoing Battle of Luzon. Her third and final transfer happened between 26 December 1944 and 12 January 1945 whilst Shipley Bay was 350 mi (560 km) northwest of Luzon, as an armada of carriers supported the Invasion of Lingayen Gulf.[7][8]

After finishing her duties as a replacement carrier for the Philippines campaign, she operated off of Pearl Harbor as a training carrier for the next three months. During her tenure as a replacement carrier, Captain Austin Wadsworth Wheelock took over as commanding officer of the ship. On 22 April, she departed Pearl Harbor, bound for Okinawa. Stopping at Guam, she arrived on 7 May and immediately began operations. Between 7 May and 16 May, her aircraft conducted 352 sorties supporting the Battle of Okinawa, bombing Japanese defenses and equipment. On 16 May, her aviation gasoline tanks were damaged by a collision, forcing her to retire back to Guam for repairs.[9]

Once repairs were finished, she once again returned to the waters off of Okinawa, along with five other escort carriers. She resumed operations on 9 June, and her aircraft were assigned the duty of neutralizing the five airfields on Miyako-jima and Ishigaki-jima, from which kamikaze aircraft were operating. She bombed the airfields between 14 and 16 June, returning again from 18 to 22 June.[10] On 22 June, she left, bound for the West Coast, where she would undergo overhaul. She was moored at U.S. Repair Base, San Diego when the Japanese surrender was announced.[7]

On 26 September, she left San Diego, and joined the "Magic Carpet" fleet, which repatriated U.S. servicemen from throughout the Pacific. She cruised around the Pacific, making stops at San Francisco, Pearl Harbor, Okinawa, and Kwajalein, ultimately returning several thousand troops back to the United States.[7]

Shipley Bay sailed to Boston, Massachusetts in February 1946 in order to undergo deactivation, arriving on 9 March. She was decommissioned on 28 June 1946, and mothballed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at South Boston Naval Annex. On 12 June 1955, she was redesignated as a utility aircraft carrier, CVU-85. She was struck from the Navy list on 1 March 1959, and sold for scrap on 2 October. She was towed to Japan, where she was broken up throughout January 1961. She received two battle stars for her World War II service.[7]

See also


  1. Kaiser Vancouver 2010.
  2. Chesneau & Gardiner 1980, p. 109
  3. Chesneau & Gardiner 1980, p. 109.
  4. Y'Blood 2014, pp. 34–35.
  5. Hazegray 1998.
  6. Y'Blood 2014, p. 10.
  7. DANFS 2016.
  8. Y'Blood 2014, p. 121.
  9. Y'Blood 2014, p. 397.
  10. Samples 2010.


Online sources


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