This fortress guarding the entrance to Manila Bay marked the scene of the last gallant stand of the outnumbered American-Filipino force which surrendered to the overwhelming Japanese invaders on 6 May 1942.
(CVE-58: displacement 7,800; length 512'3"; beam 65'2"; extreme width 108'1"; draft 22'6"; speed 20 knots; complement 860; armament 1 5-inch, 16 40-millimeter, 28 20-millimeter; aircraft 28; class Casablanca)
Aircraft escort vessel Auguilla Bay (AVG-58) was reclassified to an auxiliary aircraft carrier (ACV-58) on 20 August 1942; laid down on 17 December 1942, by Kaiser Co., Inc., of Vancouver, Wash., under a Maritime Commission contract; launched as Corregidor on 12 May 1943 sponsored by Mrs. J. Hallett; reclassified to an escort aircraft carrier (CVE-58) on 15 July 1943; acquired by the Navy on 31 August 1943; and commissioned the same day, Capt. R. L. Bowman in command.
Clearing San Diego, Calif., on 26 October 1943, Corregidor joined Carrier Division 24 at Pearl Harbor, T.H., for air strikes in the Gilbert Islands invasion (10 November–6 December). She returned to San Diego to undergo repairs and load aircraft and men, then resumed operations out of Pearl Harbor with her division. She then (22 January–3 March 1944) sailed in the Marshalls operation, providing air cover for the invasion of Kwajalein.
Corregidor put to sea on 11 March 1944 for Guadalcanal in the Solomons, arriving on 21 March. With the Third Fleet, she sortied on 30 March to provide air cover for the landings on Emirau Island in the Bismarcks, returning to Port Purvis on 14 April. Two days later she sailed to join the Seventh Fleet for air operations at Hollandia (22–26 April), then put in to Seeadler Harbor at Manus Island for replenishment and antisubmarine patrols until 4 May. Embarking Commander, Carrier Division 24, for the Marianas operation, Corregidor provided combat air patrols and antiaircraft support for the invasion of Saipan (15–25 June), accounting for as many as eight enemy planes. She covered the logistics force off Eniwetok (1–3 July), then aided in the softening up bombardment of Guam and provided air cover for the invasion until 28 July when she returned to San Diego for overhaul.
After qualifying pilots in carrier operations at Pearl Harbor (12 October–21 November 1944), Corregidor joined a hunter-killer group patrolling east of the Hawaiian Islands. On 2 January 1945, this group moved to patrol the area between Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok to protect heavy Allied shipping, returning to Pearl Harbor 13 February. Corregidor sailed from Pearl Harbor on 27 February to search for an overdue Consolidated C-87A Liberator Express carrying Lt. Gen. Millard F. Harmon Jr., USAAF, Commander Strategic Air Force, Pacific Ocean Areas, Task Force 93, and Brig. Gen. James R. Andersen, USAAF, his chief of staff, arriving at Majuro on 20 March. From 21 March to 27 April, she conducted an antisubmarine patrol in the vicinity of Japanese-held Wotje and Maloelap in the Marshalls, then off Eniwetok.
Returning to Pearl Harbor on 4 May 1945, Corregidor served as a training ship in Hawaiian waters, conducting carrier pilot qualifications until the end of the war. From 2 October 1945 to 10 January 1946 she alternated this duty with three voyages from Pearl Harbor to San Diego to return homeward-bound servicemen during Operation Magic Carpet. Corregidor cleared San Diego on 18 January 1946 for Norfolk, arriving on 4 February. Here she was placed out of commission in reserve on 30 July 1946.
Recommissioned on 19 May 1951 Corregidor was assigned to operate with the Military Sea Transportation Service. She ferried men, aircraft and aviation cargo to NATO nations under the Mutual Defense Assistance Plan but also made five voyages through the Panama Canal to bring men and cargo to the United Nations forces fighting the Korean War in 1952, 1953, and 1954. Corregidor was reclassified to a utility aircraft carrier (CVU-58) on 12 June 1955. When the Lebanon crisis broke in the summer of 1958, Corregidor lay at Brindisi, Italy, and immediately lifted two reconnaissance planes of the 24th Infantry, USA, and 10 helicopters to support the landings in Lebanon. Returning to the United States, Corregidor was decommissioned on 4 September 1958 and sold on 28 April 1959.
Corregidor received four battle stars for World War II service.