USS Sangamon (CVE-26)
USS Sangamon (AO-28, later AVG-26, ACV-26, and CVE-26), 1940-45
USS Sangamon (AO-28) was originally laid down in March 1939 as oiler tanker Esso Trenton at Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Kearny, New Jersey. Commissioned on October 23, 1940, she was serving in the Atlantic during the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Following the attack, she was designated for conversion to an auxiliary aircraft carrier and was redesignated as AVG-26 and was the first of her class of escort carriers. Redesignated on August 20, 1942, Sangamon departed to provide air cover for Operation Torch in November. Relocating to the Pacific in January 1943, she provided protection for convoys in the Guadalcanal Campaign. In July 1943, Sangamon was redesignated CVE-26 and supported the Tarawa Invasion in November. During the Kwalajein Invasion in January 1944, she received damage. Following repairs, she served in the Marshall Islands area and participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea that June. Covering the landings at Leyte, Philippines, in October, she also saw action in the Naval Battle of Leyte Gulf. When Task Force 77.4.3, "Taffy 3", came under attack by the Japanese Center Force on October 25, during the Battle off Samar, she joined the intense fighting and was damaged. After repairs at Bremerton, Washington, Sangamon participated in the Okinawa Invasion and was damaged on May 4 by a kamikaze, resulting in damage to her flight deck, along with the loss of 11 of crew, 25 missing, and 21 seriously wounded. In June, she arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, and was under repairs when the Japanese surrendered in mid-August. Decommissioned on October 24, Sangamon was sold in February 1948.
A model of the Sangamon-class escort carrier can be found In Harm's Way (Atlantic Section) of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.
Image: 80-G-K-15081: USS Sangamon (CVE-26), in harbor, probably in the South Pacific, circa 1943. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.