Naval History and Heritage Command

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Attu (CVE-102)


Image related to Attu
Caption: Attu (CVE-102) after weathering a typhoon, 5 June 1945; note several upended "Avenger" torpedo planes on her flight deck. (NH 96050, Capt. Hays R. Browning Collection)

The westernmost island in the Aleutians, located between the Bering Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. During World War II, Japanese forces invaded Attu in June 1942, and in May 1943, the Americans recaptured the island in a bloody battle.

(CVE-102: displacement 10,400; length 512'; beam 65'2"; draft 20'; speed 19.3 knots; complement 860; armament 1 5-inch, 16 40-millimeter, 20 20-millimeter; class Casablanca; T. S4-S2-BB3)

Attu (CVE-102) was laid down on 16 March 1944 at Vancouver, Wash., by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co. under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1139); launched on 27 May 1944; sponsored by Mrs. George W. Steele; and commissioned on 30 June 1944, Capt. H. F. MacComsey in command.

Following shakedown along the west coast, Attu got underway from San Diego on 7 August with numerous aircraft and personnel for transportation to Pearl Harbor. After a two-day stop in Hawaii, Attu continued on to Guadalcanal and Espiritu Santo to deliver replacement aircraft and personnel. The escort carrier then got underway on 31 August to return to the United States.

She reached San Diego on 13 September and, shortly thereafter, began post-snakedown availability at Terminal Island, Calif. Tnis work was completed on 28 September; and Attu sailed for Alameda, Calif, to load fuel, provisions, and aircraft.

The escort carrier departed the west coast on 1 October and reached Finschhafen, New Guinea, on the 18th. She later made a stop in Seeadler Harbor at Manus Island before reversing her course and heading back, via Pearl Harbor, to Alameda. Following a two-week availability period, Attu sailed for Pearl Harbor on 23 November. She shuttled supplies and troops between Guam and Pearl Harbor before returning to San Diego on 4 January 1945.

The next day, Attu began an availability and was ready to sail once again on the 20th. The ship reached Pearl Harbor on the 27th and began gunnery exercises and flight operations off Oahu. On 1 February, the vessel sailed for Eniwetqk. After pausing there briefly on the 10th, she moved on to Ulithi. The ship departed the atoll on 16 February to rendezvous with ships of Task Force 50. Attu was assigned the role of supplying replacement aircraft and pilots to the fast carrier task forces operating in the forward area. After discharging her cargo to the carriers, Attu sailed to Guam for replenishment. The escort carrier continued her logistics support role for the carrier forces through early July.

At that time, Attu returned to San Diego for repairs. On 24 July, the ship sailed back to the Pacific theater of operations. Attu was steaming in a fueling area south of the Japanese home islands when word of Japan's capitulation arrived.

The carrier sailed back to the west coast on 11 November and, on the 25th, began her participation in Operation "Magic Carpet." In this capacity, Attu made voyages to numerous points in the Pacific to shuttle troops back to the United States.

In May 1946, Attu was slated for disposal. The escort carrier sailed to Norfolk, Va., via the Panama Canal and Jacksonville, Fla. Attu was decommissioned at Norfolk on 8 June 1946, and her name was stricken from the Navy List on 3 July 1946.

Attu earned two battle stars for her World War II service.

Published: Tue Apr 07 11:13:59 EDT 2020