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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive


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

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: American Campaign Medal / Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (6 stars) / World War II Victory Medal
3rd Row: Navy Occupation Service Medal ("Asia" clasp) / Philippine Presidential Unit Citation / Philippine Liberation Medal (2 stars)

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.

Fate: Stricken, 8 May 1946 (Navy Dept. Bulletin, 46-970, p. 24).

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Kitkun Bay

CVE-71 was named for an Alaskan Bay on the southeast coast of Prince of Wales Island. No previous U.S. warship had borne the name.

Image: Google Maps.

World War II
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

"'The navy needs this carrier,' says the sign facing Hull 317, the USS Kitkun Bay, scheduled to be one of the '18 or more' to see service by the year's end."

(From "Bo's'n's Whistle," Vol. 3, No. 21; November 11, 1943; page 7.)

Courtesy of Ron Gough,
Bea Dee, Ltd.,
Kaiser Vancouver / Swan Island & Oregon Shipyards website
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

"Mrs. Edgar A. Cruise, wife of CAPT Cruise of the Seattle Naval Air Station, christened the USS Kitkun Bay, on November 8. Mrs. Viola Cruise, left, mother of CAPT Cruise, was matron of honor. The captain suggested during launching ceremonies, 'Your slogan now is '18 or more by '44.' I'd like to add 'Double the score in '44'."

(From "Bo's'n's Whistle," Vol. 3, No. 22; November 25, 1943; page 7.)

Courtesy of Ron Gough,
Bea Dee, Ltd.,
Kaiser Vancouver / Swan Island & Oregon Shipyards website
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

The island of USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) during her shakedown cruise in January 1944. The camouflage pattern visible in this port side shot is Measure 32, Design 12A.

US Navy photo now in the collections of the National Archives, College Park (# 80-G-373914).

Tracy White, Researcher @ Large
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

Transporting aircraft in the Pacific, 10 February 1944. Camouflaged in Measure 14.

Gerd Matthes, Germany
Larger copy submitted by Robert Hurst.
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

Japanese plane shot down as it attempted to attack a group of escort carriers, near Marianas Islands, June 1944. Photo taken from USS Kitkun Bay (NARA photo # 80-G-238363).

Pieter Bakels
Larger copy submitted by Russel Wilkinson, whose grandfather was navigator aboard USS Corregidor during WW II.
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

USS Sebec (AO-87) refueling an escort carrier at sea, 2 October 1944. The CVE is believed to be USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71), three weeks before the Battle of Leyte Gulf. BuAer photo # 249014.

David Buell
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

FM Wildcats begin their launch from the escort aircraft carrier USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71), the only means the escort carriers had to defend themselves. TBM Avengers line the flight deck to starboard, bomb doors open, awaiting ordnance. In the background the escort carrier USS White Plains (CVE-66) dodges shell splashes from a Japanese cruiser visible as a smudge on the horizon, 25 October 1944. Photo from NARA (National Archives and Records Administration), College Park, MD.

Robert Hurst
Larger copy submitted by Tommy Trampp
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

Battle off Samar, 25 October 1944 — USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) prepares to launch FM-2 Wildcat fighters during the action. In the center distance, Japanese shells are splashing near USS White Plains (CVE-66).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # 80-G-287497.

Scott Dyben
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

As seen from USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71), USS White Plains (CVE-66) has an enemy salvo hitting off her port side on 25 October 1944. Note that White Plains is camouflaged in Measure 33, Design 10A.

US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum, photo # 1996.253.7387.016, Robert L. Lawson Photograph Collection.

Mike Green
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

"Underdog U.S. Escort Carrier Group Fights Off Superior Jap Force: Standing up courageously to the overwhelming might of a vastly superior Jap fleet which steamed out of San Bernardino Strait in the morning mist of 10/25/1944, ships of an escort carrier group of the 7th Fleet grimly fought off the foe until the latter broke off the action. The clash was 'Round Three' of the 2nd Battle of the Philippine Sea. Scene on the deck of the escort carrier USS Kitkun Bay as planes are spotted on the broad wooden expanse." BuAer 287524; U.S. Navy BUMED Library and Archives.

Bill Gonyo
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) as seen from USS White Plains (CVE-66) is hit on her port catwalk, just forward of her bridge structure, by a Shikishima unit Mitsubishi A6M5 Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 52 Zeke. Photo from NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) facility in College Park, MD.

Photo and text from Fire From The Sky, by Robert C. Stern.

Robert Hurst
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

Taken a moment later [this picture] shows a dense smoke cloud above the crash site. Photo from NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) facility in College Park, MD.

Photo and text from Fire From The Sky, by Robert C. Stern.

Robert Hurst
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

The fire at the port edge of Kitkun Bay's flight deck quickly burnt itself out, so that even as the fire, rescue and repair crews converged on the damaged catwalk, there was no more to be done. The damage was limited to a small area, leaving the flight deck and the Grumman Avenger parked in the foreground intact. Only one sailor was killed. Kitkun Bay headed for Pearl Harbor the next day on an already-scheduled visit to replace her air group. Photo from NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) facility in College Park, MD.

Photo and text from Fire From The Sky, by Robert C. Stern.

Robert Hurst
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

A photo of the damage, as viewed from the fligh deck (see above).

National Archives photo (# 80-G-289811).

Tracy White, Researcher @ Large
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

This photo shows the temporary railing that was welded in place (see above).

National Archives photo (# 80-G-289812).

Tracy White, Researcher @ Large
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

Starboard horizontal stabilizer from the tail of a Yokosuka D4Y Judy on the deck of USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71). "At 1110 fifteen enemy aircraft were sighted [...] the planes made their attack at 1123, the Judy making a run on this ship approaching from dead astern. This pilot apparently also had suicidal intent with destruction of the radar mast and island in mind, but was met by effective fire and the plane passed over the island and exploded when opposite the forward end of the flight deck. Parts of the plane and the pilot were scattered over the flight deck and the forecastle." History of USS Kitkun Bay CVE-71.

U.S. Navy photo from the personal collection of Gilbert J. Raynor and the USS Kitkun Bay Association, courtesy of Robert Jon Cox &

Robert Hurst
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

Seen smoking after kamikaze hit, 8 January 1945.

CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) after a damaging suicide attack on the ship. Body of Japanese bomb is shown after having been removed from the boiler. Photograph released 20 January 1945. Official U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), # 80-G-273160.

Composite Squadrons
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) and her three Composite Squadrons (VC): VC-5, December 1943–November 1944, VC-91, November 1944–February 1945, and VC-63, May–September 1945.

Tim Smith
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

Composite Squadron (VC) 5 was assigned to USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71), December 1943–November 1944.

Tim Smith
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

The 4,000th landing aboard USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71). The only crewmember identified is AO1 Turrets Roy Leon Smith, far right.

Clarence Smith, for his father, Roy Leon Smith (1923–2010)
The Crew
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay

Seaman First Class Donald Wojnar enlisted on 22 June 1943 and served aboard USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) from 17 April 1944 to January 1945. He was aboard during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Donald was discharged at US Naval Hospital San Diego on 26 June 1945.

(Donald Wojnar was born in 1924 and died in 1997.)

Tommy Trampp

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Read the
USS KITKUN BAY (CVE-71) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact and Reunion Information Web Sites
U.S.Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association
Crew Contact
Contact: Dean Baughman, President/Treas.
Address: 27 Linwood NE, East Wenatchee, WA 98802
Phone: 509-884-6065
Web site:  

Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Escort Carrier Sailors & Airmen Association

The Battle Off Samar - Taffy III at Leyte Gulf

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This page was created by Paul Yarnall and is maintained by Fabio Peña
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Last update: 1 November 2021