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Naval History and Heritage Command

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St. George

(CVE-17: dp. 9,800; l. 492'; ew. 111'6"; b. 69'6"; dr. 23'3"; s. 16.5 k.; cpl. 890; a. 2 4", 8 40mm., 15 20mm.; cl. Bogue; T. C3-S-A2)

A sound on the coast of Florida.

St. George (CVE-17) was laid down on 31 July 1941 by Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Pascagoula, Miss., under Maritime Commission contract as SS Mormacland (MC hull 163); renamed St. George (AVG-17) by the United States Navy on 7 January 1942; assigned to the United Kingdom under Lend-Lease as HMS Pursuer (D.73) on 24 February 1942; launched on 18 July 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Mary Ann S. Bartman; reclassified ACV-17 on 20 August 1942; acquired by the Navy and simultaneously transferred to Britain on 14 June 1943. She was reclassified CVE-17 on 15 July 1943.

HMS Pursuer served in the Home Fleet during World War II, primarily on convoy escort duty. On 3 April 1944, however, she provided fighter support for an air strike on the German battleship Tirpitz in Altafjord, Norway, which disabled the German ship for three months. In August and September 1944, she served with a British carrier group providing air cover for the landings in southern France. The carrier was returned to United States custody on 12 February 1946, struck from the Navy list on 28 March 1946, and sold for scrapping on 14 May 1946 to the Patapsco Steel Scrap Co., Bethlehem, Pa.

(AV-16: dp. 12,000; 1. 492'; b. 69'6"; dr. 23'9"; s. 18.7 k.; cpl. 1,077; a. 2 5", 12 40mm., 16 20mm.; cl. Kenneth Whiting)

St. George (AV-16) was laid down on 4 August 1943 by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corp., Tacoma, Wash.; launched on 14 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Alfred E. Montgomery; and commissioned on 24 July 1944, Capt. Robert G. Armstrong in command.

After shakedown, St. George sailed from San Pedro, Calif., on 12 October 1944 to salvage a seaplane which had crashed at sea. She was diverted to Pearl Harbor after word was received that the plane had sunk. After four days in Pearl Harbor, the ship sailed on 22 October to tend seaplanes in support of the Central Pacific drive. She stopped at Kwajalein between 29 October and 3 November, and then tended a squadron of aircraft at Eniwetok between 4 and 25 November. She moved frequently during the next four months, tending planes at Saipan between 28 November and 21 December; at Kossol Passage, Palau Is., from 24 December 1944 to 6 February 1945; at Ulithi between 7 and 25 February; and at Saipan again from 27 February to 23 March. On 28 March, she arrived at Kerama Retto, Ryukyus, to support aircraft in the Okinawa operation. During one of the frequent air raids there, the ship's gunners shot down an enemy plane on 29 April. A week later, she was hit by a kamikaze. Three men were killed, and her seaplane crane was destroyed. Nevertheless, the tender remained on station, using a barge crane to lift seaplanes for repairs; and, in addition, provided repair support to destroyers and destroyer escorts. She left Kerama Retto on 12 July for drydocking and repairs at Guam, returning on 21 August to Okinawa, where she rode out a typhoon on 16 and 17 September. On 20 September, the tender sailed to Wakayama Wan, Japan, where her aircraft provided surveillance of the Japanese Inland Sea and supplied passenger, mail, and courier service between Tokyo, Sasebo, and Okinawa. While there, she rode out two more typhoons. The ship proceeded to Sasebo on 14 November and tended aircraft there from 16 November until starting home on 12 February 1946. She arrived at San Diego on 25 March 1946 and was decommissioned and placed in reserve there on 1 August 1946.

St. George was struck from the Navy list on 1 July 1963 and simultaneously transferred to the Maritime Administration's reserve fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif. She was reacquired by the Navy on 11 December 1968 for sale to Italy as Andrea Bafile.

St. George received one battle star for her World War II service.

Published: Thu Sep 24 07:24:47 EDT 2015