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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

(later LPH-1, CVE-106 and AKV-38)

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: China Service Medal (extended) / American Campaign Medal / Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (2 stars)
2nd Row: World War II Victory Medal / Navy Occupation Service Medal ("Asia" and "Europe" clasps) / National Defense Service Medal

Displacement 21,397 Tons (full load), Dimensions, 557' 7" (oa) x 75' x 30' 8" (Max)
Armament 2 x 5"/38AA 36 x 40mm, 20 x 20mm, 33 Aircraft.
Machinery, 16,000 SHP; Allis-Chambers, Geared Turbines, 2 screw
Speed, 19 Knots, Crew 1066.

Operational and Building Data

Built by Todd Pacific, Tacoma, Wash. Initially named Sunset Bay. Keel laid 25 Oct 1943, launched 10 Jun 1944; commissioned 30 Dec 1944. Placed in service, in reserve, 28 May 1946.

After being placed in reserve, she was moved to the Naval Air Facility (NAF) at Annapolis, Maryland and used as a barracks for enlisted personnel as well as a mess hall for midshipmen undergoing flight indoctrination at the NAF. She was also used as a training facility for enlisted aviation personnel. She was towed to Norfolk and returned to the reserve fleet on 30 October 1950. (Thanks to Ken Sabel.)

Recommissioned as an ASW carrier, 28 Apr 1951. Decommissioned 27 Aug 1954. Reclassified as an "Amphibious Assault Ship (Helicopter)" and redesignated LPH-1, 22 Dec 1957, but conversion cancelled in Jun 1958. Reverted to original CVE designation, 17 Feb 1959. Reclassified as a "Cargo Ship and Aircraft Ferry" (AKV-38), 7 May 1959. Stricken from the Navy list 1 Jul 1959 and scrapped.

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Block Island

CVE-106 was initially named Sunset Bay.

Renamed Block Island, 5 July 1944, to commemorate the service of the previous Block Island, torpedoed and sunk on 29 May. Block Island is a sound that lies east of Long Island, N.Y., and south of Rhode Island. It takes its name from Block Island which it separates from the Rhode Island coast (NS0310620, courtesy of Google Maps).

NS0302102: The first USS Block Island (CVE-21) shortly after leaving Norfolk, 15 October 1943, on her first anti-submarine cruise. (National Archives and Records Administration, photo # 80-G-87149, via Tony Drury.)

USS Block Island (CVE-21)
World War II
CVE-106 Block Island

USS Block Island (CVE-106), location and date unknown (appears to be early in her career). Camouflaged in Measure 33, Design 18A.

Hazegray & Underway, via Gerd Matthes
CVE-106 Block Island

USS Block Island (CVE-106) underway, date and location unknown. She is wearing a very simple [Measure 33 Design 18A camo]. US Navy courtesy of Floating Drydock.

Photo from Naval Camouflage 1914–1945, A Complete Visual Reference, by David Williams.

Robert Hurst
CVE-106 Block Island
35k Date and place unknown. Tom Sparkman
CVE-106 Block Island
31k USS Block Island (CVE-106), date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
CVE-106 Block Island

BuAer photo of USS Block Island (CVE-106), taken on 13 January 1945 off the north end of Vashon Island, Washington. Taken at an altitude of 500 feet. Speed of CVE-106 was listed as 8 knots. Photo #Stl 1728-1-45.

David Buell
CVE-106 Block Island

USS Birmingham (CL-62), maneuvering alongside USS Block Island (CVE-106), 30 January 1945. Taken by LT(JG) Hoffman from an airship of ZP-31. USN photo.

David Buell
CVE-106 Block Island

As above. BuAer photo # 302556.

Courtesy of Scott Koen &
CVE-106 Block Island
112k A Vought F4U-1D Corsair of Marine Fighter Squadron (VMF) 511, attached to Marine Carrier Air Group (MCVG) 1, on the deck of the U.S. Navy escort carrier USS Block Island (CVE-106) preparing to launch, on 5 February 1945. MCVG-1 was the first all-Marine carrier air group in the Second World War. Photo taken by Pfc. E. Powers, USMC. National Naval Aviation Museum, photo No. 1996.253.7161.004. Robert Hurst
CVE-106 Block Island

Shots of F4U Corsairs and F6F Hellcats landing on USS Block Island (CVE-106) with arresting gear and taking off from it. Shots of F6F being loaded onto ship with crane, and shots of pilots in planes. These include Maj R.B. Porter, Capt William Hogue, Lt Edward J. Wallof, Lt Troyer, and Lt Pickering.

USMC video, digitized by the University of South Carolina.

Courtesy of University of South Carolina Libraries,
Digital Collections
CVE-106 Block Island
126k USS Block Island (CVE-106), April 30, 1945, somewhere in the Pacific. Official US Navy photograph. Robert M. Cieri
CVE-106 Block Island
149k A U.S. Marine Corps Grumman F6F-5N Hellcat of VMF(N)-511 is launched from the deck of the escort carrier USS Block Island (CVE-106) off Okinawa on 10 May 1945. Mechanics dubbed this aircraft the "Hanger Queen" because it had been "down" several times in one week for minor repairs. Here, "Hanger Queen" is about to head for Sakashima in support of the Okinawa campaign. The catapult officer in the foreground resembles a baseball umpire calling a strike on the Japanese by launching this plane. Photo taken by PFC Harvey M. Uribe, USMC.

National Naval Aviation Museum photo (# 1996.253.7190.001).

Robert Hurst
CVE-106 Block Island
104k A Marine "odie" maintaining the .50 cal. MGs of a VMF-511 F4U-1D Corsair assigned to MCVG-1 aboard USS Block Island (CVE-106) during the battle for Okinawa, on 5 June 1945. MCVG-1 and Block Island were the first Marine/CVE team to form. USMC, courtesy Robert J. Cressman.

From Carrier Air War in Original Color, by Robert Lawson and Barrett Tillman.

Robert Hurst
CVE-106 Block Island
171k Carrier Division 27 successfully weathering China Sea Typhoon, October 1945. Taken by USS Salerno Bay (CVE-110). Ships shown are: USS Block Island (CVE-106), USS Gilbert Islands (CVE-107), USS Siboney (CVE-112) and Salerno Bay.

NS0310617; U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # 80-G-354599.

NS0310617a; U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # 80-G-354600.

NS0310617b; U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # 80-G-354604.

CVE-106 Block Island
CVE-106 Block Island
CVE-106 Block Island

USS Block Island (CVE-106) alongside the Naval Air Facility (NAF) at Annapolis, Maryland sometime between May 1946 and October 1950. (Thanks to Ken Sabel.)

Ron Reeves
CVE-106 Block Island

USS Block Island (CVE-106) mast and antennae, view from astern. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, NY4-739, 1 of 4. Probably in 1951, at about the time of her recommissioning.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), # rg19nn-b1584-005-018.

CVE-106 Block Island

USS Block Island (CVE-106) mast and antennae, head-on view. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, NY4-739, 2 of 4. Probably in 1951, at about the time of her recommissioning.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), # rg19nn-b1584-005-019.

CVE-106 Block Island

USS Block Island (CVE-106) broadside view. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, NY4-739, 3 of 4. Probably in 1951, at about the time of her recommissioning.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), # rg19nn-b1584-005-020.

CVE-106 Block Island

USS Block Island (CVE-106) mast and antennae. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, NY4-739, 4 of 4. Probably in 1951, at about the time of her recommissioning.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), # rg19nn-b1584-005-021.

CVE-106 Block Island

USS Block Island (CVE-106) underway in the Atlantic Ocean, circa 1952, with Antisubmarine Squadron (VS) 801 embarked.

National Naval Aviation Museum photo, Robert L. Lawson Photograph Collection (# 1996.488.035.006).

Mike Green
CVE-106 Block Island

Interior views of USS Block Island (CVE-106), 1952.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photos.

NS0310621: rg19nn-b1584-005-022.

NS0310621a: rg19nn-b1584-005-023.

NS0310621b: rg19nn-b1584-005-024.

NS0310621c: rg19nn-b1584-005-025.

NS0310621d: rg19nn-b1584-005-026.

CVE-106 Block Island
CVE-106 Block Island
CVE-106 Block Island
CVE-106 Block Island
CVE-106 Block Island

USS Block Island (CVE-106) refueling USS Hunt (DD-674) in the Western Atlantic, probably in January-April 1952. Reserve Air Anti-Submarine Squadron (VS) 831 (called to active duty in 1951; redesignated VS-36 in February 1953) was aboard Block Island.

David Buell
CVE-106 Block Island

USS Block Island (CVE-106) anchored at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, 22 February 1952.

National Naval Aviation Museum photo (# 2012.004.011).

Mike Green
CVE-106 Block Island

USS Block Island (CVE-106) underway, summer 1953, with Air Anti-Submarine Squadron (VS) 22 aboard.

David Buell
CVE-106 Block Island

Recovery of Ensign E.H. Barry, pilot of a Grumman AF-2 Guardian from anti-submarine squadron VS-22, by a Piasecki HUP-1 Retriever helicopter after the plane was forced to ditch immediately after launching on 12 August 1953. The parent escort carrier USS Block Island (CVE-106) is standing by in the background.

NS0310605: Photo USN. Source U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation, photo No. 1996.488.035.009.

NS0310605a: Photo USN. Source Naval Aviation News, October 1953 issue.

Pieter Bakels
Mike Green
Robert Hurst
CVE-106 Block Island
128k Robert Hurst
Gerd Matthes, Germany
CVE-106 Block Island
53k Block Island was the first ship designated as a helicopter-assault ship, or LPH. Conversion work began in January 1958, but was cancelled six months later. USN
In "Mothballs"
Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia

Reserve Fleet Basin, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Pennsylvania, photographed on 19 May 1955 with numerous cruisers, escort carriers, and auxiliaries in reserve.

The nearest ship is the never-completed Hawaii (CB-3), which lacks its previously-installed three 12" gun turrets.

The cruisers outboard of Hawaii are (in unknown order) Honolulu (CL-48), Columbia (CL-56), Denver (CL-58), Galveston (CL-93), and Portsmouth (CL-102).

To their left are Tranquility (AH-14), Sanctuary (AH-17), and Pocono (AGC-16).

Behind Hawaii (from left to right) are Montpelier (CL-57), Houston (CL-81), Huntington (CL-107), Savannah (CL-42), Cleveland (CL-55), and Wilkes-Barre (CL-103).

Beyond them (from left to right) are Wichita (CA-45), Oregon City (CA-122), Chester (CA-27), and New Orleans (CA-32).

The cruisers on the left side of the basin (from front to rear) are Minneapolis (CA-36), Tuscaloosa (CA-37), San Francisco (CA-38), Augusta (CA-31), Louisville (CA-28), and Portland (CA-33).

Among the other ships in reserve in the basin are Fomalhaut (AE-20), Webster (ARV-2), Albemarle (AV-5), Tangier (AV-8), Pocomoke (AV-9), Chandeleur (AV-10), Abatan (AW-4), Mission San Carlos (AO-120), Prince William (CVE-31), Anzio (CVE-57), Block Island (CVE-106), Palau (CVE-122), and San Carlos (AVP-51).

Moored in the shipyard at the extreme left are Tennessee (BB-43), California (BB-44), and Cabot (CVL-28).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-668655).

Robert Hurst
CVE-106 Block Island

Chips off the Old Block, Vol. II, No. 1, U.S.S. Block Island, 30 December 1944.

Thomas Doll
CVE-106 Block Island


"Putting into Saipan on 23 October [1945], Block Island soon sailed for the United States, picked up planes and passengers at Guam, and reached Pearl Harbor on 2 December. Returning to sea on the 5th, she arrived at San Diego on the 11th." (Quoted from DANFS, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.)

Kathy Murphy
CVE-106 Block Island

The officers of the Block Island Association in 2007. Left to right: Otis Long, Bill MacInnes (Editor of Chips, BI Newsletter), Bob Mathis, Dick Johnson, Walter (Smiley) Burnette, and Bob Wolfe.

Ron Reeves
CVE-106 Block Island

"In 1969, Block Island resident Maizie Rose enlisted the help of Senator Claiborne Pell and tracked down the bell at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. The bell was placed outdoors at the Island's American Legion Park, across from the cemetery. At the base is a plaque stating: 'Ship's Bell of U.S.S. Block Island CVE 106 World War II, Dedicated May 31, 1971.' On May 31, 1971 (Memorial Day), Maizie spoke at the dedication. After honoring the men who served on the two Block Island aircraft carriers, she pulled the bell rope three times: 'This bell will be symbolic of more than three centuries of our history. On Memorial Day, in years to come, it will reverberate across our hills.' The Block Island's bell, as does any symbol of distinguished cooperation and individual striving, represents more than what most passersby would realize."

Read the
USS BLOCK ISLAND (CVE-106 / LPH-1 / AKV-38) DANFS History entry
Crew Contact and Reunion Information
Contact: Bill MacInnes
Address: 6650 Richard St.,
San Diego, CA 92115
Phone: 619- 460- 3568
Web site:  

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

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Escort Carrier
Photo Index Page
Amphibious Assault Ship (Helicopter) (LPH)
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This page was created by Paul Yarnall and is maintained by Fabio Peña
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Last update: 14 February 2019