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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

(later CVHE-78 and AKV-28)

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - X-Ray - Juliet

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 (4 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.

Operational and Building Data

Initially named Kaita Bay (spelling?).

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Savo Island

AVG-78 (later ACV-78, CVE-78, CVHE-78 and AKV-28) was initially named Kaita Bay (the name appears to be misspelled in DANFS and should probably be Karta Bay, a bay and an estuary on the East coast of Prince of Wales Island. The name Karta Bay itself is also incorrect, as the Haida Indian name published by Captain M.D. Tebenkov in 1852 was "Kazarn;" the name was published as "Kasa-an" in the 1883 Coast Pilot, and mistakenly copied as "Karta" on British Admiralty Chart 2431; the latter form has since become well established).

Renamed Savo Island, 6 November 1943, after a battle fought off Savo Island, in the Solomons, 9 August 1942.

Since the battle was actually a Japanese "resounding victory," in the words of historian RADM Samuel E. Morison, the fact that an American escort carrier was named after it has probably to be interpreted as a tribute to the officers and men who fought the battle. American and Australian dead totaled 1,023; 709 were wounded. The Japanese only suffered light damage.

(Image: Google Maps.)

Battle of Savo Island

Battle diagram showing ship movement during Battle of Savo Island on 9 August 1942.

Source: Preliminary Design Branch, Bureau of Ships Navy Department, War Loss/Damage Report No. 29.

Mike Green
CVE-78 Savo Island

Savo Island was sponsored by Miss Margaret Taffinder, daughter of Rear Admiral Taffinder, Commandant of the Thirteenth Naval District.

(From "Bo's'n's Whistle," Vol. 4, No. 2; January 28, 1944; pages 4 & 5.)

Courtesy of Ron Gough,
Bea Dee, Ltd.,
Kaiser Vancouver / Swan Island & Oregon Shipyards website
World War II
CVE-78 Savo Island

Naval Station Astoria, Oregon, oblique view looking northeast, altitude 1000 feet, 19 February 1944.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo, # 80-G-218308.

Three CVEs can be seen in the lower half of the picture, fitting out. They are, top to bottom, USS Petrof Bay (CVE-80), commissioned the day before; USS Ommaney Bay (CVE-79), that had just shifted berth from pier 3 to pier 2; and USS Savo Island (CVE-78).

CVE-78 Savo Island

Undated overhead photo of USS Savo Island (CVE-78) underway.

Source: U.S. Navy, photo no. unknown.

Mike Green
CVE-78 Savo Island

USS Savo Island (CVE-78) underway, date (circa 1944) and location unknown. US Navy photo, numbered 112-10.

Tommy Trampp
Larger copy submitted by Jim Kurrasch, Battleship Iowa, Pacific Battleship Center
CVE-78 Savo Island

USS Savo Island (CVE-78) underway on 25 May 1944, location unknown. Note dismantled SO3C Seamew, a J2F Duck (minus its engine), and SOC Seagull and three F6F Hellcats lining the port side, with spare floats lashed down aft (USN photo).

US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum, photo # 1996.488.034.023. Robert L. Lawson Photograph Collection.

Robert Hurst
Mike Green
CVE-78 Savo Island

"A U.S. Navy baby carrier [USS Savo Island (CVE-78)] arrived at Guadalcanal carrying a load of P-38 Lightning fighter planes for the replacement of worn out craft throughout the Solomons area. This carrier is one of the Navy's newest types." Before 10 July 1944. Guadalcanal.

U.S. Air Force Number 52212AC. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) ID 193853651.

David Upton
CVE-78 Savo Island

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) ID 193853654.

David Upton
CVE-78 Savo Island

"In addition to the space that is used on the flight deck, there is untold space available in the holds of the carrier [USS Savo Island (CVE-78)]. Wings, new engines and other vital replacement parts are stored within." Before 10 July 1944. Guadalcanal.

U.S. Air Force Number B52213AC. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) ID 193853658.

David Upton
CVE-78 Savo Island

"Here can be seen the wings of a dismantled Lockheed P-38 Lightning being loaded on to a truck and trailer." Before 10 July 1944. Guadalcanal.

U.S. Air Force Number C52215AC. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) ID 193853668.

David Upton
CVE-78 Savo Island

"By Christmas 1944, the men of the Savo Island had been through some rough battles. While the aviators were providing air and ground support for the invasions, the men on the ship were fighting off waves of kamikaze attacks (as shown in the picture at the top of the menu). A single kamikaze could sink a ship the size of an escort carrier."

Gerd Matthes, Germany
CVE-78 Savo Island

Good photo taken from the waterline, circa 1945. Good details.

CVE-78 Savo Island

USS Savo Island (CVE-78) on 3 January 1945, entering the Sulu Sea, as seen from USS West Virginia (BB-48). The camouflage pattern is Measure 33 Design 14A. The colors are Navy Blue, Haze Gray and Pale Gray.

Photo Source: United States National Archives and Records Administration, Photo No. 80-G-301851, courtesy of C. Lee Johnson, (

Mike Green
CVE-78 Savo Island

[A] Kamikaze [is] just meters above the flight deck of the escort carrier USS Savo Island (CVE-78) in this shot taken from the battleship USS West Virginia on 5 January 1945. It sheared off the carrier's air-search radar antenna with its wingtip and then hit the water close aboard. The splashes in the water to the right, no doubt from the battleship's anti-aircraft fire, highlight the constant danger of friendly fire among the closely-packed ships of the invasion fleet. Photo National Archives and Records Administration.

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

Robert Hurst
CVE-78 Savo Island

USS Savo Island (CVE-78) refueling from USS Tappahannock (AO-43) while operating with Task Group (TG) 50.8 off Okinawa, 15 April 1945. (Thanks to John Chiquoine for the information, derived from War Diaries and logs.)

David Buell
Ex-USS Savo Island
CVHE-78 Savo Island
162k In Reserve, South Boston Naval Annex, May 1958. DD-624 Baldwin moored alongside. © Richard Leonhardt
CVHE-78 Savo Island
48k See above. © Richard Leonhardt
CVHE-78 Savo Island
44k See above. Also visible is Natoma Bay (CVU-62). © Richard Leonhardt

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Read the USS SAVO ISLAND (CVE-78 / CVHE-78 / AKV-28) DANFS History entry
Read United States Navy, "Battle Baby: A Pictorial History of the Escort Carrier U.S.S. Savo Island" (1946). World War Regimental Histories, 133,
at the Bangor, Maine Public Library website, via Jonathan Eno.

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Mr. Donald B Hull
Address:4000 N Hampton Brook Dr Hamburg, NY, 14075-6410
Phone: 716-649-2587
E-mail: None

Additional Resources
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Escort Carrier Sailors & Airmen Association

Photo Index
Escort Carrier
Photo Index Page
Aircraft Transport (AKV)
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This page was created by Paul Yarnall and is maintained by Fabio Peña
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Last update: 14 April 2022