Please report any broken links or trouble you might come across to the Webmaster. Please take a moment to let us know so that we can correct any problems and make your visit as enjoyable and as informative as possible.

NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

(later AKV-18)

Patches contributed by Mike Smolinski (left) and Gerd Matthes (center, right)
Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons


Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Navy Unit Commendation
2nd Row: American Campaign Medal / World War II Victory Medal / National Defense Service Medal
3rd Row: Korean Service Medal (6 stars) / United Nations Korean Medal / Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)

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 Shipyards Inc., Tacoma, Wash. Laid down 23 Oct 1944. Launched 14 Apr 1945 and commissioned 27 Feb 1946.

Decommissioned to reserve 4 Oct 1954. Reclassified as an aircraft transport and redesignated AKV-18, 7 May 1959, while in reserve.

FATE: Stricken from the Navy List 1 Jul 1960. Sold for scrap 31 Oct 1960.

Click On Image
For Full Size Image
Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
Sandy Bay

CVE-118 was initially named Sandy Bay, for a bay in Alaska. According to Dictionary of Alaska Place Names, by Donald J. Orth (United States Government Printing Office, Washington; reprinted 1971), two bays named Sandy Bay had been reported by 1944: one on the southern coast of Baranof Island, Alexander Archipelago (also known as Peschanaia Bay and Peshchannaya Bukhta); the second on the southern central coast of Sanak Island, Aleutians (NS0311824).

Renamed Sicily, 5 June 1944 (prior to keel laying), for an island in the Mediterranean Sea separated from the Italian mainland by the narrow Strait of Messina (NS0311824a). Sicily was invaded by U.S. and British troops during World War II. D-Day was 10 July 1943, and Operation Husky, as it was known, formally concluded on 17 August.

NS0311824b: "Operation Husky, July–August 1943. U.S. Army Air Force Reconnaissance plane photograph shows part of the southeastern Sicilian coast, the day the Allies invaded. Scores of our boats can be seen mostly transports and landing craft. The smaller craft darting speedily among the large ships (indicated by their white wakes), are probably PT boats and unloading craft. In bay on the right, LCT boats for unloading tanks are discernible at the beach. Explosions in the water may be seen nearby. Note airplane near this beach, and another at the mouth of the bay. Shellbursts from land batteries can also be seen near the transports lying offshore. U.S. Army Photograph: 24195A."

Map NS0311824 courtesy of Map NS0311824a courtesy of Google Maps. Photo NS0311824b courtesy of the Library of Congress (Accession #: PR-13-CN-1971-246-10).

CVE-118 Sicily

Launching of the future USS Sicily (CVE-118) at Todd-Pacific Shipyards Inc., Tacoma, Washington, Saturday, 14 April 1945. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo, # 80-G-313215.

CVE-118 Sicily

Preliminary Acceptance Trial pamphlet (PDF format).

Joe Dietrich, Lt Col, USAF (Ret)
CVE-118 Sicily

Nice overhead, undated.

CVE-118 Sicily

USS Sicily (CVE-118) photographed while moored in Hampton Roads, Virginia, 6 June 1948.

Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1969.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph (# NH 67896).

CVE-118 Sicily

USS Sicily (CVE-118) dockside, date and location unknown.

Charles E. Mac Kay comments: "The image was taken in July 1948. The carrier has just collected F-80's from Panama. The picture is in the Canal Zone. A few days later she arrived here in Glasgow. The air group was commanded by Colonel Spicer."

Robert Hurst
CVE-118 Sicily

"My father flew air reconnaissance A-26's with the 45th Recon. Squadron out of Furstenfeldbruk, Germany in 1947–48. [...] [These photos] were taken 9 August 1948 at the King George V docks in Glasgow Harbor, Scotland. The ship at the center of the images is USS Sicily (CVE-118). Aircraft (P/F-80s) of the 36th Fighter Group are being offloaded, assembled and towed to the nearby RAF station where they are to be flown to Germany. This Fighter Group was being transferred from Panama to Furstenfeldbruk Airfield to support the Berlin Airlift."

NS0311820b: Photo by Walter Sanders, courtesy of LIFE magazine (used for educational and non-commercial purposes).

Jack M. Fancher
CVE-118 Sicily
CVE-118 Sicily
205k Charles E. Mac Kay
CVE-118 Sicily

"K-125 operations aboard USS Sicily (CVE-118) during the recent maneuvers in the Caribbean. As the blimp descends, the flight deck crewmen take hold of the handling lines and bring her to rest on the deck of the ship." Photo released on 6 April 1949.

U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-707078).

Note: the image is curved.

(See also photos NS0311811, NS0311816 & NS-03-cve118-z03.)

National Archives & Records Administration (NARA)
CVE-118 Sicily

"K-125 operations aboard USS Sicily (CVE-118) during the recent maneuvers in the Caribbean. Flight deck crewmen hold the blimp down until lines are secured to the deck, and the blimp then is refueled and rearmed." Photo released on 6 April 1949.

U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-707079).

Note: the image is curved.

(See also photos NS0311811, NS0311816 & NS-03-cve118-z03.)

CVE-118 Sicily

USS Sicily (CVE-118) underway, 12 April 1949, location unknown. The chevron-type deck markings are believed to be associated with airship (blimp) trials and were designed to show a landing pilot the centerline of the flight deck (USN photo, now in the collections of the National Archives, #80-G-438017.)

(See also photos NS0311822, NS0311816 & NS-03-cve118-z03.)

Robert Hurst
CVE-118 Sicily

A K-type blimp lands on USS Sicily (CVE-118), circa April 1949.

US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum,Photo No. 1996.488.035.045. Robert L. Lawson Photograph Collection.

(See also photos NS0311822, NS0311811 & NS-03-cve118-z03.)

Mike Green
CVE-118 Sicily

USS Sicily (CVE-118) on transport duties at the time of the Korean War. (USN photo.)

Robert Hurst
CVE-118 Sicily

Hand-tinted photo of USS Sicily (CVE-118) at the time of the Korean War. Aircraft aboard appear to be attached to Anti-Submarine Squadron (VS) 22.

Tommy Trampp
CVE-118 Sicily

USS Sicily (CVE-118) launches a U.S. Marine Corps OY-2 Sentinel spotter plane during operations in the Yellow Sea, off the west coast of Korea, 22 September 1950. Sicily was then supporting the campaign to recapture Seoul.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-420239).

CVE-118 Sicily

U.S. Marine Corps F4U-4B Corsair fighter-bomber receives final checks to its armament of bombs and 5-inch rockets, just prior to being catapulted from USS Sicily (CVE-118) for a strike on enemy forces in Korea. The original photograph is dated 16 November 1950, but was probably taken in August-October 1950. Note battered paint on this aircraft.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), # 80-G-419929.

CVE-118 Sicily

Pilots of VMF-323 pose in front of an F4U-4 Corsair aboard USS Sicily (CVE-118), 1951.

Photo courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum (# 1996.488.006.012).

Bill Gonyo
CVE-118 Sicily

The aircraft carrier USS Sicily (CVE 118) enters San Diego Bay on her return from her first deployment to the Korean War zone, February 5, 1951. Her crew spells out the ship's name on the flight deck.

Official US Navy photo.

Contributed by Robert M. Cieri
CVE-118 Sicily
100k From "All Hands" magazine, April 1951 issue.

Contributed by Stanley Svec
CVE-118 Sicily

Korean War. Major General Christian Frank Schilt, USMC, Commanding General of the First Marine Air Wing visits the "Death Rattlers" Squadron (VMF-323) aboard USS Sicily (CVE-118) off the coast of Korea. General Schilt observes the last flight of the day from the carrier with, left to right: First Lieutenant G.H. Brady, USMC; Captain Robert C. Simons, USMCR; Captain Charles Whipple, USMCR; and Captain Charles Whitehead, USMCR. Schilt received the Medal of Honor in 1928 during the Nicaraguan campaign. Photograph received on 25 September 1951. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), # 80-G-433466.

CVE-118 Sicily

The helicopter carrier USS Sicily underway as she cruises off Inchon harbour, circa 1952.

Robert Hurst
CVE-118 Sicily

AF-2W Guardian, #17, of Antisubmarine Squadron (VS) 931—later VS-20—that landed on the USS Sicily (CVE-118) at night with the tail hook up, circa 1952. The plane was piloted by LCDR Arthur Hoorshead.

NS0311821: US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum, photo # 1996.253.6139.

NS0311821a: US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum, photo # 1996.253.6138.

Mike Green
CVE-118 Sicily
CVE-118 Sicily

USS Sicily (CVE-118), launches U.S. Marine Corps HRS-1 helicopters during Operation Marlex-5 off the west coast of Korea in the Inchon area. This was the first time that Marine Corps landing forces had moved from ship to a foreign shore by helicopter. Photo is dated 1 September 1952. Nearest HRS-1 is Bureau # 127798. It wears the markings of squadron HMR-161.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-477573).

Scott Dyben
CVE-118 Sicily

U.S. Marine Sikorsky HRS-2 helicopters operating from the escort carrier USS Sicily (CVE-118) underway, location unknown, circa 1950s. U.S. Navy photo.

Photo and text from Aircraft Carriers, by Norman Polmar.

Robert Hurst
CVE-118 Sicily

"A year ago these battle tactics of setting up an 'airhead' ashore by helicopter from a CVE offshore in Korea were secret. But today they can be talked about. In Operation Marlex 5 in Korea, [(see photo 0311802, above)] the CVE Sicily and HMR-161 'assaulted' Chak Tak island."

Photo and text from Naval Aviation News, June 1953 issue.

Robert Hurst
Larger copy and additional info submitted by Theresa Pinamonti Zeigler
CVE-118 Sicily

USS Sicily (CVE-118) underway, with the AF-2S and AF-2W Guardians of VS-931.

These photos were probably taken in October 1952, en route to Hawaii, during Sicily's Korean War deployment, 19 October–4 December.

VS-931 (tail code "SV") was a Reserve Antisubmarine Squadron called to active duty on 1 March 1951.

The Grumman AF Guardian was the first purpose-built antisubmarine carrier-based aircraft to enter service with the U.S. Navy. It operated in two-plane ("Hunter/Killer") teams, one plane carrying the sensors and the other the weapons. The AF-2S was the "killer" production variant, the AF-2W the "hunter," with a search radar in a ventral radome.

LT(JG) Philip Nelson (hometown of Tulsa, OK) was a Communications Officer aboard USS McNair (DD-679).

LT(JG) Philip Nelson.
Submitted by his son, Steve Nelson
CVE-118 Sicily
CVE-118 Sicily
CVE-118 Sicily
CVE-118 Sicily
CVE-118 Sicily
CVE-118 Sicily

USS Sicily (CVE-118) photographed at the Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, circa February 1954, with USS Yorktown (CVA-10) at right and eleven LCM landing craft in the foreground. Grumman AF Guardian anti-submarine aircraft are parked on Sicily's flight deck. Douglas AD Skyraider attack planes are parked aft on Yorktown's flight deck.

The original caption, released by Commander Naval Forces Far East on 18 February 1954, reads: "Twins, Almost — The Essex-class carrier USS Yorktown (CVA-10) and her smaller counterpart, the escort carrier USS Sicily (CVE-118), rest side by side during a recent in-port maintenance period at the Yokosuka, Japan, Naval Base".

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 97318).

CVE-118 Sicily

USS Sicily (CVE-118) underway with F4U aircraft parked aft, April 1954.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 97317).

In "Mothballs"
CVE-86 Sitkoh Bay

Ex-USS Sitkoh Bay (CVE-86), with ex-USS Sicily (CVE-118) moored across the pier, at the Hunters Point (San Francisco Group) Inactive Ship Facility in the mid-1950s. Special attention was paid to the wooden decks of the carriers, and they were periodically sprayed with preservatives. Still, the ravages of weather took their toll. In the foreground are the cruisers ex-USS Vincennes (CL-64) and ex-USS Amsterdam (CL-101). Note the metal "igloos" fitted over the ships' light AA mounts.

Robert Hurst
Scott Koen &

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Read the USS SICILY (CVE-118 / AKV-18) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact and Reunion Information
Contact: Ed Smith
Address: P.O. Box 369
Centreville, MD 21617
Phone: 410-758-1659
Web site:  

Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Official U.S. Navy Carrier Website
Escort Carrier Sailors & Airmen Association
Korean Combat Action Reports located on the Naval History & Heritage Command Website

Photo Index
Escort Carrier
Photo Index Page
Aircraft Trasport (AKV)
Index Page

Comments, Suggestions or Image submissions, E-mail Carrier Information
Problems and site related matters, E-mail Webmaster

This page was created by Paul Yarnall and is maintained by Fabio Peña
All pages copyright NavSource Naval History

Last update: 27 April 2019