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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

(later AKV-22)

CVE-122 ship's patch
Contributed by Gerd Matthes, Germany

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Charlie - Mike

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: American Campaign Medal
2nd Row: World War II Victory Medal / Navy Occupation Service Medal ("Europe" clasp) / National Defense Service Medal
3rd Row: Korean Service Medal / 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.

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CVE-122 (later AKV-22) was named Palau after a group of islands of the West Caroline Group, in the western Pacific (NS0312214), some 850 miles east of Mindanao, Philippine Islands, which was the scene of hostile land, sea, and air action between American and Japanese forces in World War II. The United States captured Palau from Japan after the costly Battle of Peleliu (NS0312214a), September–November 1944.

NS0556206: USS Robinson (DD-562) fires 40mm guns to cover underwater demolition team men clearing beach obstacles in mid-September 1944, prior to landings on Peleliu by the First Marine Division. (National Archives and Records Administration photo # 80-G-257701, via Tony Cowart.)

The Ship
CVE-122 Palau

Palau (CVE-122) was launched on Monday, 6 August 1945, sponsored by Mrs. Whitney, wife of CAPT John P. Whitney, CO of USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, in October 1944. Mrs. Bridgett to the left.

NS0312211: National Archives photo (# 80-G-326720).

NS0312211a: National Archives photo (# 80-G-326721).

Tracy White, Researcher @ Large
CVE-122 Palau
CVE-122 Palau

USS Palau (CVE-122) at anchor, with F4U Corsair fighters parked on her flight deck. The original photograph is dated July 1947.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command (# NH 106720).

Naval History & Heritage Command, via Robert Hurst
CVE-122 Palau

USS Palau (CVE-122), with American Minister Lanier aboard, at Monrovia, Liberia, for Centennial Ceremonies. Photograph released 25 July 1947. Official U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), # 80-G-399800.

CVE-122 Palau

USS Palau (CVE-122) at Monrovia, Liberia, for Centennial Ceremonies. Photograph released 25 July 1947.

Official U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), # 80-G-399807.

CVE-122 Palau

USS Palau (CVE-122) for Centennial Ceremonies at Monrovia, Liberia. Shown: President William V.S. Tubman delivers address at Civic Center. Photograph released 26 July 1947.

Official U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), # 80-G-399830.

CVE-122 Palau

Taken in November 1949, this photograph shows a Project Skyhook balloon being prepared for launch aboard USS Palau (CVE-122). Project Skyhook involved the use of polyethylene balloons carrying instrument packages to altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet (30,480+ meters); these balloons provided a stable vehicle for long duration observations and offered the opportunity of collecting highly specialized information and photographs.

Planes parked aft belong to Marine Fighter Squadron 212 (VMF-212).

Bill Wiseman
CVE-122 Palau

USS Palau (CVE-122) at Pier 7, Norfolk Naval Base, circa 1950.

Master Chief Boatswain's Mate Carl M. Brashear, USN, served aboard Palau and Tripoli. BMCM(MDV) Brashear (1931–2006) was a pioneer in the Navy as the first black deep-sea diver, the first black Master Diver and the first Navy diver to be restored to full active duty as an amputee, the result of a leg injury he sustained during a salvage operation in January 1966, off the coast of Spain. His life story was immortalized on the big screen in the movie Men of Honor (2000). USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7) is named after him.

Tom Langford
CVE-122 Palau

"PRIME MISSION of the Marine Corps Piasecki HRP-1's [Flying Bananas] is movement of assault troops to beachheads, taking the place of the usual surface assault craft. Here eight HRP's are shown aboard the escort aircraft carrier USS Palau [(CVE-122)], ready to land troops and equipment." Naval Aviation News, August 1951 issue.

Robert Hurst
CVE-122 Palau

As above, from a slightly different angle.

John Spivey
CVE-122 Palau

Official Navy photograph of USS Palau (CVE-122) underway, May 10, 1950. Photo # CVE-122-554-(L)-5-10-50.

Aircraft on deck are TBM-3E Avengers. (Thanks to Robert Hurst.)

Robert M. Cieri
CVE-122 Palau

A U.S. Navy Grumman AF-2S Guardian of Air Anti-Submarine Squadron (VS) 31 "Topcats" landing aboard the escort carrier USS Palau (CVE-122). VS-31 was assigned to Palau for a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea from 19 April to 28 June 1952.

U.S. Navy photo from the Palau 1952 Cruise Book.

Robert Hurst
CVE-122 Palau

USS Palau (CVE-122) at anchor in Augusta Bay, Sicily (Italy), between 14 and 19 May 1952. Submarines USS Chivo (SS-341) and USS Burrfish (SSR-312) are visible alongside. Palau, with assigned Air Anti-Submarine Squadron (VS) 31 "Topcats," was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea from 19 April to 28 June 1952.

U.S. Navy photo from the Palau 1952 Cruise Book.

Robert Hurst
CVE-122 Palau

"Flying above the USS Palau (CVE-122) in November 1952 is HRS-1, Bureau Number 127793. It was the first HRS delivered to HMR-261 at MCAS Cherry Point, NC. arriving there on May 26, 1951. It's interesting to note that a pattern is developing which shows HMR-261's original fifteen aircraft were numbered in reverse order beginning with HM-15 for the first HRS and HM-1 for the final delivery. In June 1953, the HRS was transferred to sister squadron HMR-263, in January 1954 to sister squadron HMR-262, and back to HMR-263 in March 1954. In November that year, it entered O&R at Cherry Point and was returned to service with HMR-262, now at MCAS New River, in May 1955. It returned to HMR-263 in September 1955. On November 1, 1957 it was administratively Struck From Inventory with only 1469 hours and was relegated as a Ground Instructional Airframe at the Navy Technical Training Center at NAS Memphis, TN. Sometime in the early to mid 1960's it was sold to the civilian market and purchased by Orlando Helicopters Airways. Registered as N4957S, it was converted by Orlando to S-55B standards and in June 1967 was sold to the W.S. Young Construction Company in Lousiana."

Photo and text courtesy of USMC Sikorsky HRS Database
Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia

Reserve Fleet Basin, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Pennsylvania, photographed on 19 May 1955 with numerous cruisers, escort carriers, and auxiliaries in reserve.

The nearest ship is the never-completed Hawaii (CB-3), which lacks her previously-installed three 12" gun turrets.

The cruisers outboard of Hawaii are (in unknown order) Honolulu (CL-48), Columbia (CL-56), Denver (CL-58), Galveston (CL-93), and Portsmouth (CL-102).

To their left are Tranquility (AH-14), Sanctuary (AH-17), and Pocono (AGC-16).

Behind Hawaii (from left to right) are Montpelier (CL-57), Houston (CL-81), Huntington (CL-107), Savannah (CL-42), Cleveland (CL-55), and Wilkes Barre (CL‑103).

Beyond them (from left to right) are Wichita (CA-45), Oregon City (CA-122), Chester (CA-27), and New Orleans (CA-32).

The cruisers on the left side of the basin (from front to rear) are Minneapolis (CA-36), Tuscaloosa (CA-37), San Francisco (CA-38), Augusta (CA-31), Louisville (CA-28), and Portland (CA-33).

Among the other ships in reserve in the basin are Fomalhaut (AE-20), Webster (ARV-2), Albemarle (AV-5), Tangier (AV-8), Pocomoke (AV-9), Chandeleur (AV-10), Abatan (AW-4), Mission San Carlos (AO-120), Prince William (CVE-31), Anzio (CVE-57), Block Island (CVE-106), Palau (CVE-122), and San Carlos (AVP-51).

Moored in the shipyard at the extreme left are Tennessee (BB-43), California (BB-44), and Cabot (CVL-28).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-668655).

Robert Hurst
The Crew
CVE-122 Palau

Officers of the escort carrier Palau (CVE-122) pictured at dinner in Tacoma, Washington, around the time of her launching or commissioning (1945–1946). Seated in the right foreground is Lieutenant W.C. Fitzpatrick and at center is Captain W.E. Cleaves, Palau's commanding officer.

Photo courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum.

Bill Gonyo
CVE-122 Palau

1946—Captain Willis E. Cleaves, commanding officer of the escort carrier USS Palau (CVE-122), pictured on the bridge of the ship with Lieutenant Commander W.C. Fitzpatrick.

Photo courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum.

Bill Gonyo
CVE-122 Palau

Patches, USS Palau (CVE-122).

Tommy Trampp
CVE-122 Palau

Model of USS Palau (CVE-122), as she appeared circa 1951.

Courtesy of Chris Miles

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Read the USS PALAU (CVE-122 / AKV-22) DANFS History entry

USS Palau
A History of USS Palau, submitted by Wolfgang Hechler

Crew Contact and Reunion Information Web Sites
U.S.Navy Memorial Foundation
Reunion Information
Web site:  

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Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Escort Carrier Sailors & Airmen Association

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Last update: 12 April 2024