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Munda

 

A Japanese airfield on New Georgia important as a refueling area for Rabaul based planes raiding Tulagi and Guadalcanal, it was the frequent target for shore bombardment units. Partially neutralized after the occupation of Rendova and the setting up there of shore batteries which joined ships on the bombardment line in pounding the field, it was taken on 5 August 1943 during the Solomons campaign.

 

(CVE-104: displacement 7,800 tons; length 512'3"; beam 65'; extreme width 108'1"; draft 22'6"; speed 19 knots; complement 860; armament 1 5-inch gun, 16 40mm., 20 20mm., 28 aircraft; class Casablanca; T. S4-S2-BB3)

 

Munda, laid down 29 March 1944 under Maritime Commission contract as MC hull 1141 by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Corp., Vancouver, Wash., was originally designated ACV‑104; redesignated CVE‑104, 15 July 1943; named Tonowek Bay, 23 September 1943; renamed Munda, 6 November 1943; launched 27 May 1944; sponsored by Mrs. James E. Dyer; and accepted and commissioned 8 July 1944, Capt. L. A. Pope in command.

 

After a west coast shakedown, Munda, assigned to Carrier Transport Squadron, Pacific Fleet, got underway independently 16 August 1944 on her maiden voyage. With 71 planes and 202 passengers aboard, she arrived at Espiritu Santo 1 September. Proceeding next to Finschafen and Manus, she returned to Alameda, Calif., for brief availability before setting out again to carry replacement planes and personnel to forward areas. Returning from her second supply run 5 December, she was underway again on the 12th. She completed three more runs to various islands in the Pacific before midyear, 1945, when she sailed for Eniwetok (3 July). There she joined TG 30.8 and commenced supplying planes, pilots, and aviation stores to the fast carriers of TF 38.

 

She rendezvoused with that force on 20 July, as it blasted the enemy’s home islands, and remained in the area through the 26th, when she returned to Guam for replenishment. At sea again by the end of the month, she rejoined TF 38 on 3 August, resupplying the carriers then, and again on the 7th and the 11th. On 13 August she departed the formation and was en route back to Guam when she received word of the Japanese surrender. Rejoining TG 30.8, she remained off Japan through the first week of the occupation and on 10 September steamed into Tokyo Bay.

 

Departing Tokyo 2 October, she joined the ships assigned to operation “Magic Carpet,” and, into the next year, ferried servicemen back to the United States. After completion of that duty, 18 January 1946, Munda prepared for inactivation at Port Angeles. Decommissioned 13 September 1946, she joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet, berthing at Tacoma. Redesignated CVU‑104, 12 June 1955, she was shifted to Bremerton 29 April 1958. Munda was struck from the Naval Register 1 September 1958 and sold, 17 June 1960, to the General Ore Co., New York.

 

Munda received one battle star for her service in World War II.