(YFB-23: l. 65'; b. 13'; dr. 4')
An island in the mouth of the Patuxent River in Maryland.
A group of islands in the southwestern Pacific, east of New Guinea, containing 15 major islands and numerous smaller ones. United States forces invaded the group at Guadalcanal on 7 August 1942. This was the first amphibious operation directed against Japanese-held territory in World War II. By February 1943, Guadalcanal had been secured, and landings were made on two other islands of the group, Bougainville and New Georgia. The development of the campaign in New Guinea, however, enabled the Americans to bypass the approximately 120,000 remaining Japanese who were scattered among the other islands of the Solomons group.
The first Solomons was named after the Maryland island; the second for the pivotal campaign in the South Pacific.
The first Solomons was laid down at Seattle, Wash., on 5 May 1942 by the Shain Manufacturing Company. The wooden-hulled ferry was launched on 20 June 1942; was delivered to the Navy on 21 August; and was assigned to the 14th Naval District. She was sea-lifted via Pearl Harbor to Midway Island and placed in service there on 8 December 1942.
Solomons served her entire World War II career performing ferry services at Midway. She was renamed Sanibel on 6 November 1943 to allow her original name to be given to an aircraft carrier, CVE-67, then being constructed. Sanibel operated on local transport and ferry duty in the Midway Island area until deleted from the 14th Naval District list of service craft on 1 July 1946. Placed out of service after the war's end, she was declared surplus and intentionally destroyed by burning on 3 July 1946 at Midway. Sanibel was struck from the Navy list on 28 January 1947.