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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

USS WAKE ISLAND   (CVE-65)



Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Victor - Whiskey

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons

   

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Navy Unit Commendation
2nd Row: American Campaign Medal / European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal / Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (3 stars)
3rd Row: World War II Victory Medal / Philippine Presidential Unit Citation / Philippine Liberation Medal

CLASS - CASABLANCA
Displacement 7,800 Tons, Dimensions, 512' 3" (oa) x 65' 2" x 22' 4" (Max)
Armament 1 x 5"/38AA 8 x 40mm, 12 x 20mm, 27 Aircraft.
Machinery, 9,000 IHP; 2 Skinner, Uniflow engines, 2 screws
Speed, 19 Knots, Crew 860.

Operational and Building Data

Initially named Dolomi Bay; renamed 3 April 1943.
Fate: Stricken, 17 April 1946 (Navy Dept. Bulletin, 46-846, p. 21).


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Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
Name
Dolomi Bay
NS0306505
127k

CVE-65 was initially named Dolomi Bay for a bay on the southeast coast of Prince of Wales Island, Alexander Archipelago, Alaska (NS0306505).

Renamed Wake Island, 3 April 1943, after an atoll in the northern Pacific, consisting of three islands (Wake, Peale, and Wilkes) which became an American advanced base in 1941 (NS0306505a). At the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 (8 December on Wake), all naval activities at the atoll were under CDR Winfield S. Cunningham, United States Navy; under his overall command were the 13 officers and 365 enlisted men of the 1st Defense Battalion, United States Marine Corps, commanded by Maj. James P.S. Devereaux, United States Marine Corps, whose heaviest guns were 5-inch/51-caliber rifles once mounted in old battleships. A Marine fighter squadron, dispatched at the "eleventh hour," reached Wake only a few days before the Japanese attack; that unit, consisting of 12 Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat fighters from Marine Fighter Squadron (VMF) 211, was commanded by Maj. Paul A. Putnam, USMC. Also on Wake were 1,000 civilian construction workers employed by Contractors, Pacific, Naval Air Bases, and a small Army communication detachment.

Although the atoll went to general quarters upon hearing of the Pearl Harbor attack, a combination of a lack of radar, loud surf noises (which made sound-detectors practically useless), and heavy cloud cover rendered it possible for the Japanese to achieve a surprise attack shortly before noon on 8 December. Twenty-seven planes emerged from the low-hanging clouds and bombed and strafed the airfield, destroying seven of VMF-211's F4F-3s and killing or wounding 62 percent of the aviation personnel on the island.

Over the next two weeks, the Japanese bombed Wake almost incessantly, softening up the atoll for invasion. The first attempt met with failure on 11 December, when shore batteries and VMF-211's remaining F4F-3s sank two Japanese destroyers, Kisaragi and Hayate.

The setback suffered on 11 December forced the Japanese to bring up reinforcements, including two of the homeward-bound Pearl Harbor striking force carriers, and carrier-based planes began hitting the atoll on 21 December. The following day, the last two flyable Wildcats (there had never been more than four operational over the two-week defense of Wake) went up to do battle with Japanese. One crippled Wildcat returned, so badly shot-up that it was un-useable.

With the aviation element now disposed of, the Japanese felt confident that they could land. Accordingly, at 0200 on 23 December 1941, the enemy managed to establish a beachhead, running two old destroyer-transports ashore in the process under heavy gunfire. After bitter fighting, the men of the Japanese Special Naval Landing Force managed to overcome the defending Marines but not without sustaining heavy casualties. Wilkes was the last island to surrender, on the afternoon of the 23rd.

NS0306505b: Imperial Japanese Navy destroyer Hayate running trials, circa 1925. Hayate was sunk during the Battle of Wake Island, on 11 December 1941, the first Japanese surface warship sunk in the war; only one man of her crew was rescued.

(Maps NS0306505 and NS0306505a courtesy of Google Maps. Photo NS0306505b from History of Japanese Destroyers, published by Kaigunsha.)

NavSource
Wake Island
NS0306505a
35k
IJN Hayate
NS0306505b
341k
World War II
CVE-65 Wake Island
NS0306501
48k Small, port side view taken on November 9, 1944. USN
CVE-65 Wake Island
NS0306501a
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USS Wake Island (CVE-65) underway in Hampton Roads, Virginia, 9 November 1944. Photographed from a plane based at Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia. The ship is painted in Camouflage Measure 33, Design 10A.

Official U.S. Navy photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command (#NH 106569).

Robert Hurst
CVE-65 Wake Island
NS0306501b
55k

USS Wake Island (CVE-65) underway in Hampton Roads, Virginia, 9 November 1944.

National Archives photo (# 80-G-289882).

Tracy White, Researcher @ Large
CVE-65 Wake Island
NS0306501c
93k

The escort carrier USS Wake Island (CVE-65) underway on 9 November 1944. Note the HF/DF mast for North Atlantic ASW and the flat hangar deck, indicated by the straight line of the outboard sponsons. The prominent hangar-deck sponsons were used primarily for refueling at sea, CVEs carrying substantial loads of cargo oil for destroyers and destroyer escorts. USN photo.

Photo and text from U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History, by Norman Friedman.

Robert Hurst
CVE-65 Wake Island
NS0306501d
128k

Port broadside view of USS Wake Island (CVE-65) underway in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area, 9 November 1944. Photographed by N.A.S. Norfolk.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo (# 80-G-289879).

Mike Green
CVE-65 Wake Island
NS0306501e
177k

Overhead port bow view of USS Wake Island (CVE-65) underway in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area, 9 November 1944. Photographed by N.A.S. Norfolk.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo (# 80-G-289880).

Mike Green
CVE-65 Wake Island
NS0306502
156k

USS Wake Island (CVE-65) underway with Task Group 77.4, en route to the Lingayen Gulf landings, 5 January 1945. Photographed from USS Makin Island (CVE-93). Note high frequency direction finder (HFDF) antenna atop her small foremast.

Camouflage Measure 33, Design 10A (thanks to Aryeh Wetherhorn).

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo (# 80-G-301306).

Tommy Trampp
Larger copy submitted by Mike Green
CVE-65 Wake Island
NS0306503
56k Thanksgiving Day dinner menu, Thursday, November 25, 1943. USN
CVE-65 Wake Island
NS0306504
109k

USS Wake Island (CVE-65) underway, in a photo dated 24 June 1945. The escort aircraft carrier had been detached "from TG 32.1 due to battle damage received on 3 April [(kamikaze)] and a subsequent finding by the Bureau of Ships that 'pending yardwork, this vessel is considered unsafe for operations in a forward area.' She headed for Guam and conducted firing practices and launched LASP sorties en route. Upon her arrival at Port Apra on 24 June, all personnel of squadron VOC-1 were transferred to Naval Air Base, Agana." (Quoted from DANFS.)

US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum, Photo No.1996.488.034.016. Robert L. Lawson Photograph Collection.

Mike Green

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Read the
USS WAKE ISLAND (CVE-65) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Mr. Ronald E Paul
Address:1036 S Vassauilt St Tacoma, WA, 98465-2016
Phone: 253-565-5018
E-mail: None

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

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Last update: 7 May 2018