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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

USS VELLA GULF   (CVE-111)
(later CVHE-111 and AKV-11)



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

(Ex- TOTEM BAY)
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
.
Operational and Building Data

Laid down, 7 February 1944, as Totem Bay, after a bay on the southern shore of Kupreanof Island, in the Alexander Archipelago, in the southern panhandle of Alaska. Built by Todd-Pacific Shipyards, Inc., Tacoma, Wash.

Renamed Vella Gulf, 26 April 1944, after a naval engagement in the Solomons campaign of World War II, fought in Vella Gulf between the islands Vella Lavella and Kolombangara on the night of 6–7 August 1943. Six American destroyers (Task Group 31.2, under Commander Frederick Moosbrugger: USS Craven (DD-382), USS Dunlap (DD-384), USS Lang (DD-399), USS Maury (DD-401), USS Stack (DD-406), and USS Sterett (DD-407)) engaged a group of four enemy destroyers attempting to reinforce Japanese troops on Kolombangara. The American warships closed, undetected, and fired torpedoes which sank Hagikaze, Arashi, and Kawakaze.

Launched on 19 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Donald F. Smith. Commissioned on 9 April 1945. Decommissioned on 9 August 1946.

Reclassified as a helicopter carrier (CVHE-111) on 12 June 1955, while in reserve, Vella Gulf was later transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service and again reclassified, this time to (T-)AKV-11. However, she never returned to active service. Struck from the Navy list on 1 June 1960, she was reinstated on 1 November of the same year. Struck for the second and last time on 1 December 1970.

FATE: Sold to the American Ship Dismantlers, Inc., of Portland, Oreg., on 22 October 1971 and scrapped.


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Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
CVE-111
NS0311101
53k USN Photo. Possibly running trials. Joe Radigan
CVE-111
NS0311102
18k

The newly commissioned USS Vella Gulf (CVE-111) in Puget Sound, April 21, 1945. Commencement Bay-class escort carriers could operate more planes than their predecessors and embodied design improvements to increase endurance and resistance to damage. Photo # 19-N-81247.

NHC
CVE-111
NS0311103
56k

As seen from SS Marine Raven, the escort carrier in the background appears to be USS Vella Gulf (CVE-111). Location and date unknown.

Tommy Trampp

Read the USS VELLA GULF (CVE-111 / CVHE-111 / AKV-11) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact And Reunion Information
NONE LOCATED.

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Related Links
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: 21 April 2013