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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

(later CVU-62)

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Victor - November

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Presidential Unit Citation / American Campaign Medal / Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (7 stars)
2nd Row: World War II Victory Medal / Philippine Presidential Unit Citation / Philippine Liberation Medal (2 stars)
More info)

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.

Casablanca Class Escort Carrier
Awarded Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Stricken
18 Jun 1942 17 Jan 1943 20 Jul 1943 14 Oct 1943 20 May 1946 1 Sep 1958
Builder: Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vancouver, Wash.

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Natoma Bay

CVE-62 was named for a bay in the Graham Islands off the southwest coast of Alaska, approximately 45 miles south-southwest of Ketchikan.

(Image: Google Maps.)

Lady Halifax

Natoma Bay was sponsored by Lady Halifax (née Lady Dorothy Onslow), wife of Lord Halifax (earlier Edward Wood), United Kingdom's ambassador to the United States of America. In this 1922 portrait she appears as Dorothy Wood, since her husband had not yet inherited the title Viscount Halifax from his father.

Courtesy of
Lord Halifax,
via Leeds City Council, Temple Newsam House
World War II
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
119k Commissioning ceremony, Thursday, October 14, 1943. Bruce Leininger
CVE-62 Natoma Bay

USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62) taking aboard stores in Tulagi harbor, Solomon Islands, on 8 April 1944.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-235018).

Robert Hurst
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
46k Underway in the Pacific, circa 1944. Note aircraft on deck and badly weathered camouflage, Measure 33 Design 14A. Official USN Image. USN
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
126k An FM-2 Wildcat assigned to VC-81 gets ready to take off. Exact date and place unknown. Bruce Leininger
CVE-79 Ommaney Bay

[USS Ommaney Bay (CVE-79)] burns in the background while a sister ship, Natoma Bay (CVE-62), passes in front, able only to look on at the disaster.

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

Robert Hurst
CVE-62 Natoma Bay

Sequence of three photographs taken on the same day, 5 January 1945, from the port catwalk amidships on USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62).

NS0306215: A Zeke bears down from the starboard quarter. It has already been damaged to the extent that its left landing gear has dropped, meaning the hydraulics have been shot out on that side. Nevertheless it bore down on its target.

NS0306215a: The Zeke has straightened out into a shallow dive. Note the deck crew scattering, trying to find a safe hiding place. Some are crouching under the wing of a Wildcat to the left, perhaps not the safest place to be.

NS0306215b: The Kamikaze falls just short and splashes harmlessly aft.

Photos National Archives and Records Administration.

Robert Hurst
Gerd Matthes, Germany
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
114k Robert Hurst
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
43k Underway, March 1, 1945, during the Iwo Jima campaign. Haze Gray & Underway
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
50k I am reasonably sure that Dean Tate, VC-81, was the pilot of this aircraft and that the photo was taken on 3 March 1945. He flipped on a take-off due to a combination of pitching deck, slow aircraft speed, and engine torque during a launch from Natoma Bay. Bruce Leininger
Kamikaze attack, June 7, 1945
CVE-62 Natoma Bay

During the Battle of Okinawa, at 0635 hours on 7 June 1945, a Japanese Zeke piloted by a Kamikaze crashed through the flight deck and caused explosions and fire. The Damage Control Party sprang into action and extinguished the flames quickly, then immediately set about the task of repairing the flight deck. Flight operations were uninterrupted, as planes were launched as repairs were underway.

(NS0306211) Japanese Kamikaze impacts and explodes on USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62). Photo taken from USS Sargent Bay (CVE-83).

(NS0306211a) The resulting smoke from the blaze rises into the air. Photo taken from USS Sargent Bay (CVE-83).

(NS0306211b) The hole in the flight deck from the crashed Kamikaze.

(NS0306211c) A view from the hangar deck, looking up at the hole in the flight deck, showing the Damage Control Party hurriedly repairing the damage.

(NS0306211d) Flight operations continue, even as the ship is undergoing repair. A TBM-3E Avenger torpedo-bomber of VC-9 catapults by the damage scene.

Official US Navy photographs.

Robert M. Cieri
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
16.7M Forty-five photo collection of the World War II service of USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62). National Archives and Records Administration
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
55k Squadrons that served on USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62). -
CVE-62 Natoma Bay

USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62) plaque and Roster of Lost. The Natoma Bay configuration in a cross is the way the Chaplain configured the name of the ship for all religious services. All but Eddie Barron were Christian, Eddie was Jewish.

"O God, thou who art the Pilot of souls of men. Grant, we beseech thee, that the memory of our comrades fallen in battle, may ever be sacred in our hearts; and that sacrifice which they have offered for our country’s cause may be acceptable in thy sight; that an entrance into Thine eternal peace may, by Thy pardoning grace, be open unto them, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."

William Bird, Clarence Davis, Peter Hazard   (VC-9)
Memorial service, 1 April 1945 – aboard U.S.S. Natoma Bay

"A memorial service is not an admission that one is dead; but rather, is an admission that we know and believe there is life hereafter."

Ensign Billie Peeler Memorial Service, held at his church,
Wittenberg Lutheran Church, Granite Quarry, NC, 21 November 1954
(See also NS0306206c)

Bruce Leininger
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
CVE-62 Natoma Bay

"On 17 November 1944 ENS [Billie R.] Peeler with LT(JG) [Lloyd] Holton as a passenger while on a routine flight in a CASU 42 SBD[-5 Dauntless, BuNo 10904,] which failed to recover from a spin and crashed into the sea. Both officers were killed and nothing was recovered." (Quoted from "History of Composite Squadron Eighty One (VC-81)," USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62) Logbook Project.)

ENS Billie Rufus Peeler, USNR.

Letter from LCDR William B. Morton, Staff, Com 1st Carrier Task Force, dated 4 December 1945.

Letter from LCDR William B. Morton, Staff, Com 1st Carrier Task Force, dated 12 December 1945.

Telegram informing Mr. & Mrs. Carl Banks Peeler Sr. of the death of their son, ENS Peeler. Dated 10 January 1945.

(See also NS0306206.)

Bill R. Carter, nephew of ENS Peeler
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
CVE-62 Natoma Bay

LT Robert Thomas Williamson. Chaplain Williamson was born in 1915 in Oak Park, Illinois. He was the middle child of three, having an older and younger sister. He attended and graduated from Oak Park High School, Wheaton College then Princeton Seminary prior to WWII. He enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and attended the Navy's Chaplain Training Program at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He joined USS Natoma Bay in late summer of 1944 and remained with her until December 1945. He married Sarah Jane Simmons of Rome, Georgia, in March 1944 and they had three sons and one daughter. After the war, he served as a minister to Presbyterian churches in Detroit; Easton, PA and Philadelphia, taking time off between Detroit and Easton to get his PhD in ecclesiastical history from Edinburgh University in Scotland on the GI Bill. He suffered from cancer from 1966–1970 and eventually died in March 1970. His tour of duty on USS Natoma Bay was one of the most important times in his life. He had very fond memories of his shipmates and enjoyed sharing them with his family. In fact, one of the family pets (a pure bred Miniature Schnauzer nicknamed "Gretchen") was officially named "Leyte Natoma of Merionhoff" (kennel) as she was born on October 25th the anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Leininger.

Biographical info by Herb Williamson, son of Robert Thomas Williamson
Ex-USS Natoma Bay
CVE-62 + CVE-57

"Stern view of camels separating USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62) and USS Anzio (CVE-57) at berth." Norfolk, VA. Photo # NA8-1549, dated 20 August 1947.

National Archives photo (# 80-G-279242).

David Thornton
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
109k South Boston Naval Annex, 1959. © Richard Leonhardt
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
91k Awaiting scrapping, Mystic River, Charlestown, MA., March 1960. © Richard Leonhardt
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
59k Natoma Bay Christmas Card issued just prior to departure to Hawaii after commissioning. It was 1943, the first Natoma Bay Christmas. There were two cards and I believe they were given to the officers. I obtained the original from the son of the first athletic officer aboard Natoma Bay. Bruce Leininger
CVE-62 Natoma Bay

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Read the USS NATOMA BAY (CVE-62 / CVU-62) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Mr. Leo Pyatt
Address:4400 Wanda Lane Rd Columbus, OH, 43224-1026
Phone: 614-263-6844
E-mail: None

Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Escort Carrier Sailors & Airmen Association
USS Natoma Bay CVE-62 Historical Archive Website

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This page was created by Paul Yarnall and is maintained by Fabio Peña
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Last update: 11 March 2018