As we remember the most infamous day in history, when the Japanese woke the sleeping giant, I think this is a good day to remember the U.S.S. Saginaw Bay CVE-82.
Her first mission in 1944 was to transport pilots and planes to Pearl Harbor, and bring back damaged planes to the mainland. She provided support to the fleet en route to Iwo Jima, and air support for the landing of the troops on the Island. The ship also participated in the Pre-invasion strikes against Okinawa, and provided air cover for the invasion of ground troops.
She was an escort carrier that was built in 1943 at the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co in Vancouver Washington. After building Liberty Ships with great efficiency the company convinced the Navy they could build aircraft carriers and they built 50 ships in two years, with many of the ships named after bays in the United States. The USS Saginaw Bay was the 27th Casablanca class carrier to be built, the crews to refer to the ships as “ Jeep Carriers” because of their relatively small size and mass-production, and the Kaiser Co. who built the ship, also built jeeps.
The carrier was decommissioned in June of 1946 and entered the Navy’s Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Because the Casablanca class aircraft carriers had small engines, and were relatively slow ships, they were not desirable for service, and in 1959 the USS Saginaw Bay was sold for scrap. None of the “Jeep Carriers” survive today. 5 were sunk in the war and the rest were scrapped.
Thank You to all the men and women who proudly serve in our military then and now.
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