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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Whiskey - Uniform

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 (4 stars)
2nd Row: World War II Victory Medal / Philippine Presidential Unit Citation / Philippine Liberation Medal

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 10 Jul 1943 22 Nov 1943 28 Dec 1943   27 Nov 1944
Builder: Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vancouver, Wash.

Fate: Sunk by gunfire of Japanese surface warships off Samar, Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 25, 1944.

USS Gambier Bay and the other ships and aircraft of "Taffy 3," aided by planes of "Taffy 2," gallantly fought and stopped the powerful Japanese Center Force, and inflicted significant losses on the enemy. However, Gambier Bay was heavily damaged in this action; she capsized at 0907 and sank four minutes later. Nearly 800 survivors were rescued by Task Group 78.12.

More than 130 of her crew were lost with the ship and remain on active duty.

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Gambier Bay

AVG-73 (later ACV-73 and CVE-73) was named Gambier Bay for a bay on the east coast of Admiralty Island, in the Alexander archipielago, Southeast Alaska.

The name derives from Point Gambier and was given in 1889 by LCDR Henry B. Mansfield, USN. It was published by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS) in the 1891 American Coast Pilot.

(Image: Google Maps.)

CVE-73 Gambier Bay
15k (Poor quality) Undated, as completed. USN
CVE-73 Gambier Bay
76k Underway, good image showing AA armament. USN
CVE-73 Gambier Bay

Radar antennae on USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73): YE (top), SG (middle), and SK (bottom). Photographed on 14 January 1944.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) (# 80-G-218332).

CVE-73 Gambier Bay

F6F Hellcats, with folded wings, on the flight deck of USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) en route to the South Pacific, 12 February 1944.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) (# 80-G-218352).

CVE-73 Gambier Bay

Starboard battery aboard USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) in action during the Marshall Islands Campaign, 15 February 1944. Note the 40mm, and the F4U Corsairs with folded wings on the flight deck.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) (# 80-G-218364).

CVE-73 Gambier Bay

USS Norman Scott (DD-690) coming alongside USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) for refueling operations in the South Pacific, 177 meridian, 19 February 1944.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) (# 80-G-218356).

CVE-73 Gambier Bay

Planes taking off during first catapulting operations aboard USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) in Marshall Islands Campaign. In the first craft to leave is Lieutenant Commander M.G. Guerrieri, Squadron Commander of VF-39, and he is flying an F6F-3 Hellcat. Date is given as 21 February 1944.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) (# 80-G-218366).

CVE-73 Gambier Bay

Planes taking off during first catapulting operations aboard USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) in Marshall Islands Campaign. In this F6F-3 Hellcat, Lieutenant Miner, pilot, clears the flight deck, and was the fifth plane to be launched. Note the F4U Corsairs with folded wings in the foreground. Date is given as 21 February 1944.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) (# 80-G-218367).

CVE-73 Gambier Bay

Ensign R.R. Foltz is landing the first plane, an F6F Hellcat, aboard USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) in the South Pacific. Note the destroyer in the background (probably USS Norman Scott (DD-690), since she appears in other photos of this series). Photograph released 25 February 1944.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) (# 80-G-218377).

CVE-73 Gambier Bay

In celebration of the first plane landing aboard USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73), officers gathered around an F6F Hellcat and a cake was baked in honor of the occasion, somewhere in the South Pacific. Captain Hugh H. Goodwin, USN, Commanding Officer of the ship and Ensign R.R. Foltz, the pilot of the first aircraft to land on Gambier Bay, are holding the cake. Photograph released 25 February 1944.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) (# 80-G-218380).

CVE-73 Gambier Bay

USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) in port, April 1944. The ship is painted in Camouflage Measure 32, Design 15A.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph (#NH 79408).

Naval History & Heritage Command, via Robert Hurst
CVE-73 Gambier Bay

Bow view of USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) in April 1944, showing her Measure 32, Design 15A camouflage pattern.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph (#NH 79409).

Mike Green
CVE-63 Midway
36k Bridge of USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73), 23 July 1944, showing CAPT Hugh H. Goodwin pointing to Jap flags designating enemy aircraft shot down in a recent [17–18 June] air attack in central Pacific area. Photo # CVE 73-359. National Archives photo # 80-G-243853 (thanks to Tracy White, Researcher @ Large, for the identification). USS Saint Lo Association
CVE-73 Gambier Bay

Ensign Darrell C. Bennett, A-V(N), USNR, stands beside his plane, a General Motors FM-2 Wildcat fighter, on board USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73), 1 August 1944. Note pinup art and nickname "Smokey's Lucky Witch" adorning the engine cowling; what appears to be a Composite Squadron Ten (VC-10) insignia below the cockpit windshield; plane numbers ("27") in white on the wing leading edge and in black under the lip of the cowling; and Ensign's Bennett's flight gear and .45 caliber M1911A1 pistol carried in a shoulder holster.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-243864).

Doug Bennett comments: "Ensign Darrell C. Bennett had an older brother stationed on the St. Lo. Both were stationed on their ships when they sank AND both are still alive [as of May 2009]! They are my uncles."

Robert Hurst
CVE-73 Gambier Bay

Composite Squadron (VC) 10 patch, designed by then ENS Robert B. "Tuffy" Barrows, a TBM Avenger pilot. VC-10 was commissioned on 23 September 1943 at Sand Point Naval Air Station, Seattle, WA. LCDR E.J. Huxtable, USN, took command six days later. The squadron went aboard its carrier, USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73), on 5 April 1944. Gambier Bay and VC-10 took part in the capture and ocupation of Saipan, Tinian, Guam and the southern Palau Islands. Gambier Bay was sunk off Samar on 25 October 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

"With its ship gone, the Leyte invasion marked the end of the squadron's activities as a unit. In small groups the members went by various methods to Manus, Pearl, San Francisco, and then home on leave. Some were transferred to other units for duty. Nineteen pilots and twenty-five of the crew chose to stay with Lt. Cdr. Huxtable and form the nucleus of a new Composite Squadron Ten, to be reformed in January 1945." (Quoted from Narrative History of Composite Squadron Ten, by CAPT Edward Huxtable.)

Courtesy of Mike Pyzdrowski, USS Gambier Bay/VC-10 Association website archiver/historian
Battle off Samar, October 25, 1944
CVE-73 Gambier Bay
20k Straddled by gunfire. Haze Gray & Underway
CVE-73 Gambier Bay
74k Gambier Bay burning and shells from Japanese surface forces splashing down beside her. (Circled ship is a Japanese heavy cruiser. This is one of the few photos showing both American and Japanese ships in the same image.) USN
CVE-73 Gambier Bay
109k - Courtesy of Scott Koen &
CVE-73 Gambier Bay
223k - Courtesy of Scott Koen &
CVE-73 Gambier Bay
206k - Courtesy of Scott Koen &
CVE-73 Gambier Bay
199k - Courtesy of Scott Koen &
CVE-73 Gambier Bay

USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) is seen on fire after being hit, viewed from on board her sister-ship USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71). Photo courtesy of Conway Picture Library.

Photo and text from Conway's The War at Sea in Photographs, 1939–1945, by Stuart Robertson and Stephen Dent.

Robert Hurst
CVE-73 Gambier Bay
89k Another photo of Gambier Bay under Japanese fire during the Battle of Samar. The smudge in the upper right corner is another Japanese heavy cruiser. USN
CVE-73 Gambier Bay

USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) bracketed by Japanese shells while making smoke, during the battle off Samar, 25 October 1944. After these near misses the ship appeared to slow down and fall behind the rest of her task group. Photographed from USS Kalinin Bay (CVE-68) by Phi Willard Nieth.

United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo, # 80-G-288149.

Mike Green
CVE-73 Gambier Bay

USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) bracketed by Japanese gunfire during the Battle of Leyte Gulf (US National Archives photo from Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944–45, by Max Hastings).

Robert Hurst
CVE-73 Gambier Bay
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Letter from Captain Walter V.R. Vieweg, Commanding Officer, USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73), to the Commanding Officer and Crew of LCI(L)-337, thanking them for saving the lives of the survivors of the escort carrier, sunk by enemy gunfire on 25 October 1944.

Marc Levine
CVE-73 Gambier Bay

Card model of USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73), by Andrzej Halinski Publishing.

Tomnmy Trampp

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Read the USS GAMBIER BAY (CVE-73) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact and Reunion Information
Web site: USS Gambier Bay / VC-10 Association

Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages by Andrew Toppan
Official U.S. Navy Carrier Website
Escort Carrier Sailors & Airmen Association
USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) & Composite Squadron VC-10
USS Gambier Bay / VC-10 Association
Building the Gambier Bay in 1/72 Scale by Bill Waldorf

The Battle Off Samar - Taffy III at Leyte Gulf

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

Last update: 12 September 2020