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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive


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) / World War II Victory Medal
2nd Row: Navy Occupation Service Medal ("Asia" clasp) / Philippine Presidential Unit Citation / Philippine Liberation Medal

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

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
ANGUILLA BAY (ACV-96) was reclassified CVE-96 on 15 July 1943, renamed SALAMAUA on 6 November 1943. Laid down under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1133) on 4 February 1944 by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vancouver,
Wash.; launched on 22 April 1944, and commissioned on 26 May 1944.

She was decommissioned on 9 May 1946, struck from the Navy list on the 21st; and subsequently sold to the Zidell Ship Dismantling Co., Portland, Oreg., for scrapping on 18 November 1946,

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Anguilla Bay

ACV-96 (later CVE-96) was initially named Anguilla Bay, for a bay between Anguilla and Esquivel Islands, in Maurelle Island, Alexander Archipelago, Alaska (NS0305808). The name comes from the Spanish word anguila, meaning "eel," and was given in 1924 by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS), "from name of island, of which this is the principal indentation."

Renamed Salamaua, 6 November 1943, after a town in New Guinea, taken by the Allies on 11 September 1943, during the Salamaua-Lae campaign in World War II (NS0309609).

NS0309609a: A US Army Air Forces (USAAF) B-24 Liberator bomber, flying over explosions on the Salamaua Peninsula, where the port is located. (The Army Air Forces in World War II, vol. 4, courtesy of

(Map NS0305808 courtesy of Map NS0309609 courtesy of Google Maps Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History, by Norman Friedman..)

The Ship
CVE-96 Salamaua

A Japanese kamikaze dives on USS Louisville (CA-28) of Task Group Twenty-Eight, Seventh Fleet. Attack took place outside of Lingayen Gulf, Philippines. Image taken by crew of USS Salamaua (CVE 96), 5 January 1945.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # 80-G-342376.

CVE-96 Salamaua

A Japanese kamikaze dives on USS Louisville (CA-28) of Task Group Twenty-Eight, Seventh Fleet. Attack took place outside of Lingayen Gulf, Philippines. Image taken by crew of USS Salamaua (CVE 96), 5 January 1945.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # 80-G-342378.

CVE-96 Salamaua

USS Louisville (CA-28) is hit by a Kamikaze in Lingayen Gulf, Philippine Islands, 5 January 1945. Photographed from USS Salamaua (CVE-96).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # 80-G-363217.

NARA via Scott Dyben
CVE-96 Salamaua

Just before 0900, 13 January 1945, a kamikaze carrying two 250 kg. bombs crashed Salamaua's flight deck.

John D. Cornwell, USNR, was, at the time, a TBM Avenger pilot with Composite Squadron (VC) 87 aboard Salamaua. He was later an S2F Tracker pilot and retired as a Captain.

See also "The World War II Experiences of George Bomely."

Janet Cornwell, daughter of CAPT Cornwell
CVE-96 Salamaua

USS Salamaua (CVE-96) shown five minutes after being hit by a Japanese suicide plane while off the coast of Lingayen Gulf, Philippine Islands, 13 January 1945. Photographed by Chief Photographer's Mate E.W. Peck, assigned to USS Tulagi (CVE-72).

The destroyer in between is possibly USS Gridley (DD-380).

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo, # 80-G-339181.

CVE-96 Salamaua

USS Salamaua (CVE-96) in dry dock following kamikaze strike. LT(JG) Warren A. Reckhow is on the right in the three-men group standing in front of the ship.

Anne Reckhow Clarkson, daughter of LT(JG) Reckhow
CVE-96 Salamaua

USS Salamaua (CVE-96) underway off San Francisco, California, circa 1945 (possibly postwar).

© John W. Smith
CVE-96 Salamaua

USS Salamaua (CVE-96) showing standard improvements in this 1 November 1945 photograph. She had just returned to the United States carrying troops from overseas and would not again see carrier service, but even so she was fitted with an SP height-finding radar for fighter control. Note single flight-deck catapult. USN Photo.

Photo and text from U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History, by Norman Friedman.

Robert Hurst
CVE-96 Salamaua

Servicemen returning to the United States from the Pacific aboard USS Salamaua (CVE-96). "Where hulking warplanes once awaited the call to action, bunks and cots now line the hangar deck of the ship." Photograph released 16 November 1945.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # 80-G-701514.

CVE-96 Salamaua

Ex-Salamaua at the Zidell Ship Dismantling Co., Portland, Oreg. The photo was probably taken by someone in the Zidell yard.

FC1(SW) William Curnow
The Men
CVE-96 Salamaua

August N. Opp was a steamfitter in the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vancouver, WA, shipyard and carried this card while working on the future USS Salamaua (CVE-96).

Nick White, grandson of August N. Opp
CVE-96 Salamaua

Shipmates aboard USS Salamaua (CVE-96), "Magic Carpet Duty" transporting veterans back to the United States, 1945.

Tommy Trampp
CVE-96 Salamaua

Oscar Burel Clarkson was a RdM2/c aboard USS Salamaua (CVE-96) during World War II.

Grady Clarkson
CVE-96 Salamaua
CVE-96 Salamaua

"The attached photograph is of my father-in-law who was a ADC on board USS Salamaua, with his crew. His name was William (Bill) Spaven. He is the one front center with his right arm across the propeller of the aircraft."

"I found a report from a Pilot, Robert W Porter, who was on board USS Salamaua, his aircraft slammed into the sea when the catapult fired too soon. He was rescued and returned to duty. Here is an excerpt from his report which mentions my father-in-law CPO Spaven, as follows:"

"My vision was fuzzy but I saw the whale boat speeding toward me. The sailors drew alongside, hauled me in and headed back to the carrier. Once there, thinking I would miss out on our first engagement with the enemy, I sought an airplane to join the fray. But CPO Spaven wisely cornered me and insisted I go to sick bay to get my face sewn up. I was flying again a few days later."

"There may have been others, but I believe I could be the only pilot to launch from a carrier before the engine was started."

(Quoted from "Scramble One!", Centennial of Naval Aviation, summer 2011, vol. 3, issue 3.)

"Scramble One!," by Robert W. Porter himself, is reproduced with permission from Wings of Gold magazine, Association of Naval Aviation.

Maggie Ryan
CVE-96 Salamaua
78k Janet Cornwell

For more information about this ship, see:

Read the USS SALAMAUA (CVE-96) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Mr. John W Smith
Address:7268 NW 16th St Ankeny, IA, 50021-8823
Phone: 515-289-1467
E-mail: None
Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Escort Carrier Sailors & Airmen Association

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Last update: 8 October 2022