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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski



Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons


Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: American Campaign Medal / Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (3 stars)
2nd Row: World War II Victory Medal / Philippine Presidential Unit Citation / Philippine Liberation Medal

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Zulu - India

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.
Operational and Building Data

Built by Kaiser Co., Inc., Vancouver, Wash. Initially named Alikula Bay. Keel laid 31 Jan 1944, launched 17 Apr 1944. Renamed Bismarck Sea 16 May 1944. Commissioned 20 May 1944.

Fate: Sunk by kamikazes off Iwo Jima, 21 Feb 1945.
318 of her crew were lost with the ship and remain on duty.

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Alikula Bay

CVE-95 was initially named Alikula Bay, for an estuary east of Egg Harbor, on the NW coast of Coronation Island, Alexander Archipelago, Alaska (NS0305766). The name is derived from a Haida Indian word meaning "night," because "this bay is so clear it may be readily entered at night." The name was given in 1924 by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS).

Renamed Bismarck Sea, 16 May 1944, after a body of water located northeast of New Guinea, scene of an Allied naval victory during World War II.

On 28 February 1943, in an attempt to augment their forces on Papua, a Japanese convoy consisting of eight transports (Aiyo Maru, Kyokusei Maru, Oigawa Maru, Shinai Maru, Taimei Maru, Teiyo Maru, Kenbu Maru, and Nojima) and eight destroyers (Shirayuki, Shikinami, Uranami, Tokitsukaze, Yukikaze, Asashio, Arashio, and Asagumo) departed Rabaul. Foul weather could not hide the convoy for long; and, on 1 March, one of Lt.Gen. George C. Kenney's planes sighted it and began tracking it. By noon of 2 March, the Allies had attacked, sinking one transport and damaging two others. On 3 March, Allied bombers and PT boats demolished most of the remaining ships. From the entire convoy, only four destroyers escaped (Shikinami, Uranami, Yukikaze, and Asagumo).

NS120514318: PT-143 (photo) and PT-150 torpedoed Japanese transport Oigawa Maru, previously damaged by air attack, during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, 3 March 1943.

(Maps courtesy of Google Maps Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History, by Norman Friedman.).

Bismarck Sea
CVE-95 Bismarck Sea

A photo of the future USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) finishing construction at Kaiser Shipyard, Vancouver, Washington, just before commissioning on 20 May 1944.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo from the Bureau of Ships, # BS 95527.

Courtesy of C. Lee Johnson,
CVE-95 Bismarck Sea

USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95), probably in Puget Sound just after commissioning on 20 May 1944. She is wearing camouflage Measure 32, Design 16A.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo from the Bureau of Ships, # BS 95528.

Courtesy of C. Lee Johnson,,
via Mike Green
CVE-95 Bismarck Sea

Vaughn Ruppert's uncle served aboard USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) during World War II. Vaughn shared some of his uncle's photos with us. He has his own website and has posted his uncle's album under a specific portfolio. Vaughn wrote: "I invite anyone interested in the USS Bismarck Sea who may wish to view his file to visit my site if they like. I would share any copies of the photos with interested parties. Although my photo site is an ecommerce site my uncle's photos would be free for historical education purposes as long as it would not be for profit by someone."

Vaughn Ruppert
CVE-95 Bismarck Sea
CVE-95 Bismarck Sea
CVE-95 Bismarck Sea

USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) loading Douglas SBD Dauntless scout bombers from a barge, circa 1944.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph (#NH 78142), courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1973.

Naval History & Heritage Command, via Robert Hurst
Larger copy courtesy of Jim Kurrasch, Battleship Iowa, Pacific Battleship Center
CVE-95 Bismarck Sea
18k Anchored in bay formed by Majuro Atoll. Joe Litkenhaus,
grandson of Harold G. Kirchhoff EM/2C, still serving aboard the USS Bismarck Sea
CVE-95 Bismarck Sea
51k "Royal Parade" on flight deck as viewed from the open bridge.
CVE-95 Bismarck Sea

USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) underway, 24 June 1944, taking it green, seen from an altitude of 500' (152 m). Location unknown. USN photo now in the collections of the National Archives (NARA), # 80-G-240135.

Robert Hurst
Larger copy submitted by Gerhard Mueller-Debus
Still larger copy obtained from NARA
CVE-95 Bismarck Sea

Photo of Composite Squadron (VC) 86 officers, taken aboard USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95), 20 October 1944, en route from San Diego to the Pacific war zone.

Gregg Easterbrook
USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) had a near collision with USS Sargent Bay (CVE-83) after breaking away from her mooring, 6 November 1944, in Ulithi Atoll.

Note: The original mount card caption has Bismarck Sea listed as Bismark Bay (CVE-59), which is incorrect. CVE-59 was USS Mission Bay and was off Africa at this time. CVE-95 was named Bismarck Sea. Both Sargent Bay and Bismarck Sea were in the Pacific.

Sargent Bay's War Diary reads:

"At 1045 General Quarters was sounded when a bogey bearing 060°, 14 miles, was picked up. Fighters were ordered to standby to scramble. At 1051 word came over the TBS that this was a real alert. At 1054 bogey merged with land, and Condition Red was set throughout the anchorage."

"In the midst of this Red condition the anchor chain of the U.S.S. Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) broke, and the ship, anchored in the adjacent berth [(Berth 152)], on this ship's starboard, started drifting in the direction of the Sargent Bay, broadside toward this ship's bow. When only a few yards ahead, the Bismarck Sea got underway, and she started forward, missing this ship's bow by approximately fifteen (15) feet. At 1117 she dropped starboard anchor in berth assigned."

"At 1105 bogey showed friendly, and at 1120 General Quarters was secured."

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photos.

CVE-95 & CVE-83
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NARA photo 80-G-263876
CVE-95 & CVE-83
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NARA photo 80-G-263877
CVE-95 & CVE-83
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NARA photo 80-G-263878
CVE-95 & CVE-83
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NARA photo 80-G-263879
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NARA photo 80-G-263880
CVE-95 & CVE-83
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NARA photo 80-G-263881
CVE-95 Bismarck Sea

USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) flight deck photo taken on 19 December 1944. An FM-2 Wildcat aircraft (N-27), coming in for a landing, either missed or broke an arresting hook and crashed into planes parked on the bow. Here N-27 has crashed into N-33 pushing it over the bow. N-27 also went over the bow. Ensign Woods, pilot of N-33, is seen lying on the deck amid flying wreckage of planes.

Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC) photo NH 69351.

Mike Green
CVE-95 Bismarck Sea

Large explosion on board USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) during the night of February 21, 1945. She was struck by two Kamikazes within two minutes of each other, while she was taking part in the Iwo Jima operation. She sank as a result of her damage. Photographed from USS Saginaw Bay (CVE‑82).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (NARA), # 80-G-335103.


For more information about this ship, see:

Read the USS BISMARCK SEA (CVE-95) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Mr. Jaco LaBlanc
Address:PO Box 3166 Lafayette, LA, 70502-3166
Phone: 318-984-2221
E-mail: None

Additional Resources
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages, by Andrew Toppan.
Escort Carrier Sailors & Airmen Association

Photo Index
Escort Carrier
Photo Index Page

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This page was created by Paul Yarnall and is maintained by Fabio Peña
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Last update: 10 September 2023