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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive


(formerly AO-29 and AVG-29; later CVE-29 and CVHE-29)

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Whiskey - Tango - Papa

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons


Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Presidential Unit Citation
2nd Row: China Service Medal (Extended) / American Defense Service Medal ("Fleet" clasp) [AO] / American Campaign Medal
3rd Row: European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (2 stars) / Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (7 stars) / World War II Victory Medal
4th Row: Navy Occupation Service Medal ("Asia" clasp) / Philippine Presidential Unit Citation / Philippine Liberation Medal
(More info)

Sangamon Class Escort Carrier
Ordered Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Stricken
3 Jan 1938 31 May 1938 4 Mar 1939 30 Oct 1940
24 Aug 1942
-- --- 1942
21 Oct 1946

1 Mar 1959
Builder: Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Chester, Pa.

(1942, as Converted)
Displacement (design): 11,400 tons standard; 24,275 tons full load
Dimensions (wl): 525' x 75' x 30' 7.5" (full load)  /  160 x 22.9 x 9.3 meters
Dimensions (max.): 553' x 114' 3"  /  168.6 x 34.8 meters
Armor: None
Power plant: 4 boilers (450 psi); 2 steam turbines; 2 shafts; 13,500 shp (design)
Speed: 18+ knots
Endurance: 23,920 nm @ 15 knots (with 4,780 tons of oil fuel)
Armament: 2 single 5"/51 gun mounts; 4 twin 40-mm/56-cal gun mounts; 12 single 20-mm/70-cal gun mounts
Aircraft: 25
Aviation facilities: 2 elevators; 1 hydraulic catapult
Crew: 830 (ship's company + air wing)

Click on Thumbnail
for Full Size Image
Size Image Description Source
Civilian Service
CVE-29 Santee

Tanker Seakay, one of 12 ordered by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, underway, date and location unknown. She was later acquired by the U.S. Navy as a Fleet Oiler, renamed Santee, and subsequently converted to an aircraft carrier.

Robert Hurst
World War II
CVE-29 Santee
49k Port side view. USN
CVE-29 Santee

Douglas SBD-3/5 Dauntless dive bombers of Composite Squadron (VC) 29 lined up for launch from the escort carrier USS Santee (ACV-29) during operations in the Atlantic. Armed with depth charges, the aircraft will fly antisubmarine patrol over the convoy ships visible in the background. As Escort-Scouting Squadron (VGS) 29, the squadron also flew missions in support of the North Africa invasion in November 1942.

U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation, photo No. 1996.253.703.

Robert Hurst
ACV-29 Santee

A VGS-29 Grumman TBF-1 Avenger being brought to the flight deck on USS Santee's (ACV-29) forward elevator during August 1942, location unknown.

Photo and text from "Carrier Air War in Original WWII Color," by Robert Lawson and Barrett Tillman.

Robert Hurst
ACV-29 Santee

Port bow view of USS Santee (ACV-29) in the rare Measure 17 camouflage pattern. U.S. Navy photo, Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., serial # 3706(42), September 11, 1942.

David Buell
ACV-29 Santee

Port broadside view of USS Santee (ACV-29). U.S. Navy photo, Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., serial # 3707(42), September 11, 1942.

ACV-29 Santee

Starboard quarter view of USS Santee (ACV-29). Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., September 11, 1942.

Division of Naval Intelligence. Identification and Characteristics Section. June 1943.

Tommy Trampp
ACV-29 Santee

USS Santee (ACV-29) photographed on 24 September 1942, the day the first plane landed on her flight deck (according to some sources, the photo was taken on 27 September). She is wearing the subdued "dazzle" construction of the Measure 17 disruptive system. The pattern was identical on both sides of her hull (US National Archives photo #80-G-11826).

From Naval camouflage 1914-1945: A Complete Visual Reference, by David Williams.

Robert Hurst
ACV-29 Santee

Grumman TBF Avenger being hoisted aboard USS Santee (ACV-29), circa October 1942.

National Archives photo (# 80-G-469839).

Robert Rocker
ACV-29 Santee

USS Santee's port side showing the complete symmetry of the pattern on both sides (compare to NS0302920). US National Archives photo #19-N-34871.

From Naval camouflage 1914-1945: A Complete Visual Reference, by David Williams.

Robert Hurst
ACV-29 Santee

A photo of USS Santee (ACV-29) probably taken on October 16, 1942. Santee was the only one in her class ever camouflaged in Ms.17, a disruptive system with the same geometric patterns on both sides of the ship. In fact, Ms.17 was only applied to three ships: heavy cruiser USS Augusta (CA-31), fleet oiler USS Chicopee (AO-34), and Santee.

Don Schroeder,
USS Sangamon
Larger copy submitted by Robert Hurst
CVE-29 Santee

Another view of USS Santee probably taken in late 1942.

Robert M. Cieri
CVE-29 Santee

USS Santee (ACV-29) at anchor, 16 October 1942. Note the location of the ship's main machinery smoke stacks on the side of the flight deck aft. Santee is painted in Camouflage Measure 17.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command (# NH 43508).

Naval History & Heritage Command, via Robert Hurst
CVE-29 Santee

Lieutenant Commander John T. Blackburn, Commanding Officer of VGF-9, being transferred by breeches buoy from USS Monadnock (CM-9) to USS Santee (ACV‑29) during the North Africa Operation, circa 11 November 1942. He had spent 64 hours in the ocean awaiting rescue after his plane crashed. Photographed by Lieutenant Horace Bristol, USNR.

National Archives photo (# 80-G-469688).

ACV-29 Santee

Port broadside view of USS Santee (ACV-29) in Measure 14 (Ocean Gray) camouflage. U.S. Navy photo, Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., serial # 4378(42), December 21, 1942.

David Buell
ACV-29 Santee

Port quarter view of USS Santee (ACV-29). U.S. Navy photo, Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., serial # 4379(42), December 21, 1942.

ACV-29 Santee

USS Santee (ACV-29) silhouetted against the Atlantic while escorting convoy UGS-10 to North Africa, June 1943 (National Archives photo # 80-G-74762).

Sangamon class

Sangamon Class. From U.S. Naval Ships & Aircraft (ONI 54-R), condensed and printed for FM 30-50, NAVAER 00-80V-57 (Recognition Pictorial Manual of Naval Vessels). Supplement 4 - 4 August 1943.

Gerd Matthes, Germany
Sangamon class

As above. Top photo shows USS Sangamon (ACV/CVE-26).

CVE-29 Santee

Sailors sleeping on the catwalk and netting underneath the LSO platform on USS Santee in the Atlantic Ocean, November 1943.

National Archives photo, # 80-G-469593.

Tracy White,
Researcher @ Large
CVE-29 Santee

USS Santee (CVE-29). Photo believed to have been taken at Casablanca, 13 November 1943.

Gerd Matthes, Germany
CVE-29 Santee

General Motors FM-2 Wildcat fighter on combat air patrol over USS Santee (CVE-29), during the Leyte Invasion, 20 October 1944.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-287594).

Scott Dyben
CVE-29 Santee

A U.S. Navy Avenger from Torpedo Squadron (VT) 26 over Panaon Island, Philippines. VT-26 was assigned to the escort carrier USS Santee (CVE-29) in 1944 and in July–August 1945.

National Naval Aviation Museum photo (# 1996.253.1357).

Robert Hurst
CVE-29 Santee

At 0740, 25 October 1944, during the Battle of the Leyte Gulf, a Japanese plane made a suicide dive on the Santee, crashing through the flight deck and stopping on the hangar deck. Santee was the first ship to sustain a kamikaze attack: the plane tore a 30-foot gash into the flight deck, killed 16 men, wounded 27 others and started several fires. At 0756, a torpedo from the Japanese submarine I-56 struck the ship, causing flooding of several compartments and a 6-degree starboard list. Emergency repairs were completed by 0935.

Charles Erlandsen
CVE-29 Santee

USS Santee (CVE-29) is hit by a Japanese kamikaze, at 0740 on 25 October 1944. Bright orange flames fed by burning avgas billow above Santee's flight deck as fragments of the Zeke, probably piloted by PO1c Kato splash to either side. Santee survived, but had to return to the U.S. for permanent repairs to battle damage and general overhaul. The escort carrier was back in the Philippines in March 1945.

Robert Hurst
CVE-29 Santee

Fires rage after the ship was hit by a Kamikaze at 0740 hours on 25 October 1944, during the 2nd Battle of the Philippine Sea (aka the Battle of Leyte Gulf.) Official US Navy photograph.

Robert M. Cieri
CVE-29 Santee

Kamikaze strikes USS Santee (CVE-29), 25 October 1944.

National Archives photo (# 80-G-273453).

Tracy White
CVE-29 Santee

Santee radio shack, Battle of Leyte Gulf: makeshift arrangements needed to monitor all circuits. Note spare parts boxes proping up a typewriter.

Charles Erlandsen
CVE-29 Santee + DD-472

USS Guest (DD-472) comes alongside USS Santee (CVE-29) in April 1945. Both ships were off Okinawa and about to exchange mail. NARA photo (80-G 335565).

Rob Rielly
CVE-29 Santee

USS Santee (CVE-29) at Formosa, 18 September 1945.

Tommy Trampp
CVE-29 Santee

Air Groups attached to USS Santee.

Source: "History of USS Santee," by ENS Jaquelin S. Holliday, USNR.

Submitted by ABCS Walter E. Skeldon
CVE-29 Santee

Escort-Scouting Squadron (VGS) 26 was established on 5 May 1942. Equipped with SBD Dauntlesses and TBF Avengers, VGS-26 operated from USS Sangamon (ACV/CVE-26) between October 1942 and September 1943, with a short stint operating from Guadalcanal (March–April). It was redesignated Composite Squadron (VC) 26 on 1 March 1943, and again redesignated Torpedo Squadron (VT) 26 on 15 November 1943. VT-26 embarked aboard USS Santee (CVE-29) in February 1944 and, now equipped solely with TBF or TBM Avengers, operated from the escort carrier until the end of the war. The squadron was disestablished on 13 November 1945.

Disney patch.

Tommy Trampp
The Crew
CVE-29 Santee

Recife, Brazil, February 1943.

Robert Boggess, son of R.C. Boggess
CVE-29 Santee

Image of most of the USS Santee's E Division personnel. This picture was taken during the summer of 1944 somewhere in the South Pacific. There were approximately 30 EM's aboard at the time, but some who were standing watch are not included in the pic. The Division Officer in the center was Walter T. Poole.

Stephen J. Birckhead, Sr.,
Electrician's Mate,
USS Santee, early 1944-early 1945
CVE-29 Santee

Officers and Chief Petty Officers, K Division, October 1944.

Front row, left to right:ENS Walsh (Publications Officer); LT(JG) Parsons (Ship Secretary); LT(JG) Edson; LT(JG) Stevens; LT Edward Joseph Clarke (Communications Officer); LT Roberts (Radio Officer); LT(JG) McCue (Division Officer); LT(JG) Funke (Signal Officer); CRE Clifford (Warrant Officer).

Rear row, left to right: Nichols, Chief Yeoman; Charles Erlandsen, Chief Radioman; Daly, Chief Signalman; Kiawaja, Chief Yeoman.

Charles Erlandsen
CVE-29 Santee

Officers and Enlisted men, K Division (Communications Department), October 1944.

Charles Erlandsen
CVE-29 Santee

Left to right: Henry Menke ACMS; Chief Mallette holding the fish he caught in Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides; S. Waller, CBM; and the chopped hair in the back groud is C. Erlandsen, CRM.

Charles Erlandsen
CVE-29 Santee

V-2 Division, date unknown. Official US Navy photo.

Robert Boggess, son of R.C. Boggess
CVE-29 Santee

V-2 Division, Engineering crew, date unknown. Official US Navy photo.

Robert Boggess, son of R.C. Boggess
CVE-29 Santee

R.C. Boggess and shipmates, date unknown. Official US Navy photo.

Robert Boggess, son of R.C. Boggess
CVE-29 Santee

Top: Flight deck crew catching some well needed rest in the safety nets alongside the deck.

Bottom: Aviation Painter Third Class, Jerrold E. Thomas posting the score of Jap kills. (Thanks to Dianne Goode, daughter of J. E. Thomas).

Charles Erlandsen
CVE-29 Santee

Frank J. Bennett (right) with two friends aboard USS Santee (CVE-29), shortly before the kamikaze attack. Frank was wounded, but his friends were killed...

Carol Hamel, niece of Frank J. Bennett
CVE-29 Santee

Fighting Squadron 26 (VF-26).

This photo belonged to the collection of Ross Belford Jolley (1906–1946), USN (Ret.). [Detail of photo NS0302937.]

Daniel E. Jolley, grandnephew of Ross Belford Jolley
CVE-29 Santee

Fighting Squadron 26 (VF-26), USS Santee (CVE-29), 3 December 1944.

This photo belonged to the collection of Ross Belford Jolley (1906–1946), USN (Ret.). [Detail of photo NS0302937b.]

CVE-29 Santee

Fighting Squadron 26 (VF-26) sailors. It is likely, but not certain, that this photo was taken aboard USS Santee (CVE-29).

This photo belonged to the collection of Ross Belford Jolley (1906–1946), USN (Ret.). [Detail of photo NS0302937d.]

CVE-29 Santee

Torpedo Squadron 26 (VT-26), May 1944.

ENS George J. Baldini is on the extreme right, second row.

Ana M. Betancourt, niece of ENS George Joseph Baldini
CVE-29 Santee
CVE-29 Santee

ENS George J. Baldini (#299269, left), Higginbothan and Iannucci, Torpedo Squadron 26 (VT-26).

ENS Baldini and his crew were killed when their plane, a TBF-1C Avenger (BuNo 48019), crashed on Morotai, Moluccas Islands, 26 September 1944.

Ana M. Betancourt, niece of ENS George Joseph Baldini
CVE-29 Santee

"Charbonnet Jr. 10,000 Landing." Left to right: CAPT John V. Peterson, Santee's commanding officer; LT (later VADM) Pierre N. Charbonnet, Jr., Fighting Squadron (VF) 24; ? ; ?. Date should be circa February–July 1945.

If you have any additional info, please let us know.

Paul Pelfrey
CVE-29 Santee

USS Santee (CVE-29), 1945.

If you have any additional info, please let us know.

Paul Pelfrey
CVE-29 Santee

"Tito" Puente, Sr. (1923–2000), born Ernesto Antonio Puente, Jr. "He went to boot camp in June of 1942 and joined [Santee] in August 1942 for the shake down prior to the Morocco Invasion and remained on the ship throughout the war."

"'Tito' was one of the ship's buglers and also a co-leader of the ships band."

"'Tito' was an acclaimed Latin music percussionist/arranger orchestra leader who formed his first big band following the war. He grew to becoming an icon in the field of Latin jazz with eight Grammy's to his credits, including television specials, movies, compositions and numerous awards."

(Quoted text courtesy of Josephine Powell.)

NS0302935b: USS Santee band ("Tito" kneeling). The officer with a saxo appears to be the famed "Sonny" Burke (Joseph Francis Burke), arranger and composer of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and a host of luminaries; if you can identify him, please let us know.

Photos courtesy of Josephine Powell
CVE-29 Santee
CVE-29 Santee
113k Photo © Raul Rodriguez, Jr., licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License
CVE-29 Santee

Cres explains:

"[T]he photo is identified on back as Torpedo Group, USS Santee".

"Owner of photo, William Creswell Keys who was a Torpedo Man's Mate Second Class on the USS Santee. He is the second from the left in the middle row (sitting) and is my father. [...] He retired from Robins AFB in Warner Robins, GA in 1976 as Director of the Budget and was the second highest rated civilian employee on RAFB at the time of his retirement."

"The only other person that I have been able to identify is Joseph Leo Klein, who is the first on the left in the back row (standing). Joseph was a TMM 3C and was killed by the Kamikaze attack on 25 Oct 1944 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. [...] I was able to identify Joseph after an extensive search for a family member that was found this week. A niece [...] was able to identify Joseph in this photo because of a family photo of him. Joseph was a WWII friend of my Dad and I was fortunate to find members of his family and share information with them."

Cres Keys
CVE-29 Santee

Bill Keys operating anti-aircraft gun aboard USS Santee (CVE-29) during WWII.

Cres Keys,
son of Bill Keys
CVE-29 Santee

USS Santee (CVE-29), F Division, 25 July 1943, at sea.

(Larger copies available on request.)

Cres Keys,
son of Bill Keys
CVE-29 Santee
CVE-29 Santee

Shipmates lost due to enemy action.

Source: "History of USS Santee," by ENS Jaquelin S. Holliday, USNR.

Submitted by ABCS Walter E. Skeldon
CVE-29 Santee

"Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep."
"Ancient and Sacred Order of the Golden Dragon."
"Royal Order of Purple Porpoises."

R.C. Boggess, USNR, enlisted as a CMM (Chief Machinist's Mate) July 2, 1942 and was honorably discharged as an AM/1c (Aviation Metalsmith 1st class) on October 1, 1945.

Robert Boggess, son of R.C. Boggess
Ex-USS Santee
CVE-29 Santee
71k In reserve, "Mothballs" at South Boston Naval Annex, (Left) 1959. © Richard Leonhardt
CVE-29 Santee
55k In reserve, "Mothballs" at South Boston Naval Annex, 1959. © Richard Leonhardt
CVE-29 Santee
59k In reserve, "Mothballs" at South Boston Naval Annex, 1959. © Richard Leonhardt

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Read the USS Santee (ACV-29 / CVE-29 / CVHE-29) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact and Reunion Information
Contact: Mr. Richard H. Wilson
Address: 230 Martins Lane, Media, Pa. 19063
Web site:  
Contact: Mr. Pete Mitchell
Web site:  

Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Official U.S. Navy Carrier Website
Escort Carrier Sailors & Airmen Association

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This page was created by Paul Yarnall and is maintained by Fabio Peña
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Last update: 17 February 2016