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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive


Contributed by Gerd Matthes, Germany

USS KULA GULF   (CVE-108)
(later AKV-8)

(Ex- VERMILION BAY)

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
2nd Row: World War II Victory Medal / Navy Occupation Service Medal ("Asia" and "Europe" clasps) / National Defense Service Medal


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Bravo - Foxtrot

CLASS - COMMENCEMENT BAY
Displacement 11,3730 Tons, 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.
Fate: Entered Beaumont, Texas, Reserve Fleet at 1700 (local time), 6 October 1969. Advertised for sale under PD-X-899, dated 17 February 1971, opened 10 March 1971. Sold for scrap to Southern Scrap Material Co., Ltd., 12 March 1971, under contract MA-6271, for $108,888.88. Departed Navy custody at 1215 (local time), 28 June 1971. (Thanks to Ron Reeves for this info.)

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Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
Name
Vermillion Bay
NS0310821
145k

CVE-108 was initially named Vermillion Bay, for a bay (frequently spelled Vermilion, with only one "L") located in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, southeast of Vermilion Parish and southwest of Iberia Parish (NS0310821).

Renamed Kula Gulf, 6 November 1943, after the night naval battle of 6 July 1943 between an American cruiser-destroyer task group under Rear Admiral Walden L. "Pug" Ainsworth and a powerful Japanese destroyer force in a 5-mile-wide gulf between Kolombangara and New Georgia, Solomon Islands (NS0310821a). (At the time, Kula Gulf was believed to be an American victory, as the Japanese had been unable to land their reinforcements. After the war, however, it became clear that the Japanese had landed 1,600 soldiers at Vila and, even though they lost two destroyers, they managed to sink a light cruiser—the battle could then be seen as a Japanese victory.)

US forces: light cruisers USS Honolulu (CL-48), USS St. Louis (CL-49), and USS Helena (CL-50, sunk); destroyers USS Radford (DD-446), USS Jenkins (DD‑447), USS Nicholas (DD-449), and USS O'Bannon (DD-450).

Japanese forces: destroyers Niizuki (sunk), Suzukaze, Tanikaze, Amagiri, Hatsuyuki, Nagatsuki (ran aground; was bombed later the same day and blew up), Satsuki, and Mochizuki.

NS0405009: Battle of Kula Gulf, 6 July 1943. Helena, in the center, firing during the battle, just before she was torpedoed and sunk. The next ship astern is Saint Louis. Photographed from Honolulu. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, # 80-G-54553.

(Maps courtesy of Google Maps.)

NavSource.
Kula Gulf
NS0310821a
47k
Battle of Kula Gulf
NS0405009
33k
The 1940s
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310801
40k

The USS Kula Gulf at sea during a typhoon.

National Archives photo (#80-G-265624).

Daniel Dunham
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310803
80k

Bow on-bottom painted (in drydock at Todd's Shipyard Harbor Island in Seattle, Washington).

National Archives photo (#80-G-334016).

Daniel Dunham
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310812
32k

USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108), date and location unknown.

Tommy Trampp
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310815
142k

Kula Gulf (CVE-108), stern view, 10 May 1945 (two days before commissioning). Willamette Iron & Steel Corp. photo (# CVE 108-019).

David Buell
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310802
103k

USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108) underway on 5 September 1945.

National Archives photo (#80-G-265619).

Daniel Dunham
Larger copy submitted by Mike Green and Robert Hurst
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310804
136k

USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108), circa 1945-46.

Ed Moninghoff Jr.
The 1950s
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310806
138k

Collage (probably 1951).

Ed Moninghoff Jr.
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310807
94k

S-3 Division, 12 October 1951.

Sailor in the 3rd row from front to back, 10th from left, is Gerald Weinmann (thanks to Earl Weinmann, his son).

Ed Moninghoff Jr.
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310810
133k

Underway with F4U Corsairs on the after flight deck, location unknown. Circa 1951–1953.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command (# NH 106716).

Robert Hurst
Larger copy submitted by Mike Green
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310818
155k

Annonated view of her mainmast, looking forward. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, July 1953 (# NY4-2759-7-53, 1 of 5). Bureau of Ships photo # BS143712.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-007_pr from Record Group 19.

NARA
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310818a
185k

Annonated view of her mainmast, looking forward. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, July 1953 (# NY4-2759-7-53, 2 of 5). Bureau of Ships photo # BS143713.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-008_pr from Record Group 19.

CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310818b
191k

Annonated view of her mainmast and upper island, looking to starboard. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, July 1953 (# NY4-2759-7-53, 3 of 5). Bureau of Ships photo # BS143714.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-009_pr from Record Group 19.

CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310818c
169k

Annonated view of her mainmast and upper island, looking aft. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, July 1953 (# NY4-2759-7-53, 4 of 5). Bureau of Ships photo # BS143715.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-010_pr from Record Group 19.

CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310818d
251k

Annonated view of her mainmast and upper island, looking to starboard. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, July 1953 (# NY4-2759-7-53, 5 of 5). Bureau of Ships photo # BS143716.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-011_pr from Record Group 19.

CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310819
106k

USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108), looking aft. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 24 August 1955 (# NY4-12298-8-55, 1 of 8). Bureau of Ships photo # BS153204.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-012_pr from Record Group 19.

NARA
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310819a
92k

USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108), looking starboard & aft. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 24 August 1955 (# NY4-12295-8-55, 2 of 8). Bureau of Ships photo # BS153205.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-013_pr from Record Group 19.

CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310819b
96k

USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108), looking starboard. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 24 August 1955 (# NY4-12294-8-55, 3 of 8). Bureau of Ships photo # BS153206.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-014_pr from Record Group 19.

CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310819c
110k

USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108), looking forward & starboard. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 24 August 1955 (# NY4-12296-8-55, 4 of 8). Bureau of Ships photo # BS153207.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-015_pr from Record Group 19.

CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310819d
82k

USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108), looking forward. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 24 August 1955 (# NY4-12297-8-55, 5 of 8). Bureau of Ships photo # BS153208.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-016_pr from Record Group 19.

CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310819e
73k

USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108), looking starboard & aft. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 24 August 1955 (# NY4-12300-8-55, 6 of 8). Bureau of Ships photo # BS153209.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-017_pr from Record Group 19.

CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310819f
102k

USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108), looking aft & port. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 24 August 1955 (# NY4-12299-8-55, 7 of 8). Bureau of Ships photo # BS153210.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-018_pr from Record Group 19.

CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310819g
91k

USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108), looking port & forward. Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 24 August 1955 (# NY4-12301-8-55, 8 of 8). Bureau of Ships photo # BS153211.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # rg19nn-b1584-006-019_pr from Record Group 19.

The Crew
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310817
642k

Clockwise from upper left: Richard Varie; Richard Varie; Jack Barnett and Richard Varie; USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108). 1954.

Richard Varie
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310808
125k

Undated.

Ed Moninghoff Jr.
Ex-USS Kula Gulf
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310809
150k

"An unusual feat is accomplished at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard when two carriers are placed in one dry-dock. Shown are the USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108) and the USS Monterey (CVL-26)." From a Philadelphia Naval Shipyard booklet, late 1950s.

EMC(SW) Brian Kroenung
MSTS
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310813
123k

"(PX-4)PHILADELPHIA, July 20[, 1965]—WORLD WAR II CARRIER REACTIVATED—The 15,000 ton escort carrier Kula Gulf, is being reactivated at Philadelphia Naval Base after ten years of inactivity as part of the mothball fleet. Food is loaded aboard the vessel by a crane as workmen aboard restore the ship for service as an aircraft ferry cargo ship in the Navy's Military Sea Transportation Service. The ship will be known as the U.S. Naval Ship Kula Gulf and will be operated by MSTS with an all-Civil service crew. A sea trial has been scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. (AP WIREPHOTO)"

Ron Reeves
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310820
105k

"Demothballed escort carrier Kula Gulf starts sea trials. Tugs pull the Kula Gulf out of Drydock 5 as she starts her sea trials. Navy Base (Philadelphia, Pa.) 26 July 1965. Photo by Wiedelman. Published by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. George D. McDowell Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Photographs."

Courtesy of the Temple University Libraries, via Michael Mohl
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310816
101k

"These pictures were taken in April of 1967 at Alameda. My helicopter company (188th AHC) was shipping out to Vietnam. We loaded two Assault Helicopter Companies and one Mohawk company plus supporting eqipment. The trip from Alameda to Nam was 15 days."

David Miller
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310816a
142k
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310816b
136k
Memorabilia
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
NS0310811
143k

Liberty card, USS Kula Gulf (CVE-108), 1944–1945. Gerald A. La-Haise was an Aviation Machinist's Mate, 3rd Class (AMM/3c), who served aboard Kula Gulf in the Pacific until 1945.

Steven La-Haise

For more information and photos of this ship, see:

Read the
USS KULA GULF (CVE-108 / AKV-8) DANFS History entry
Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Mr. Andrew R Warade
Address:9444 Holnwon Ct Hudson, FL, 34667-8549
Phone: 813-862-305
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: 17 September 2017