At Cape Gloucester, New Guinea, on 26 November 1943, the 7th Amphibious Force commanded by Rear Adm. Daniel E. Barbey successfully landed the 1st Marine Division under heavy enemy air attack.
(CVE-109: displacement 11,373; length 557'1"; beam 75'; extreme width 105'2"; draft 32'; speed 19 knots; complement 1,066; armament 2 5-inch, 36 40-millimeter; aircraft 34; class Commencement Bay)
Willapa Bay (CVE-109) was laid down on 10 January 1944, by Todd-Pacific Shipyards, Inc., Tacoma, Wash.; renamed Cape Gloucester (CVE-109) on 26 April 1944; launched on 12 September 1944; sponsored by Mrs. R.M. Griffin; and commissioned on 5 March 1945, Capt. J.W. Harris in command.
The newly commissioned ship reported to the Pacific Fleet, and after operational training at Pearl Harbor, T.H., Cape Gloucester arrived at Leyte in the Philippines on 29 June 1945, to join the Third Fleet. Her planes flew combat air patrol fighting off Japanese suicide planes attempting to attack minesweepers operating east of Okinawa (5–17 July). They then took part in air raids and photographic reconnaissance of shipping and airfields along the China coast until 7 August. During this time, her aircraft shot down several Japanese planes, and aided in damaging a 700-ton cargo ship.
After a period covering minesweeping along the Japanese coasts, and aiding in the recovery of Allied troops from prison camps on Kyushu, Cape Gloucester made four voyages returning servicemen from Okinawa and Pearl Harbor to the west coast. The escort carrier returned to Tacoma, Wash., 22 May 1946, and was placed out of commission in reserve there on 5 November 1946. Still in reserve, she was reclassified to a helicopter escort aircraft carrier (CVHE-109) on 12 June 1955, and further reclassified to a cargo ship and aircraft ferry (AKV-9) on 7 May 1959. The ship was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 April 1971, and sold for scrap.
Cape Gloucester received one battle star for her World War II service.