top of page

Kwajalein received two battle stars for her World War II service.

USS Kwajalein (CVE-98), formerly Bucareli Bay, was a Casablanca class escort carrier of the United States Navy.

It was launched on 4 May 1944, by the Kaiser Co., Inc., Vancouver, Washington, under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. Rudolf L. Johnson; acquired by the Navy on 7 June 1944, and commissioned the same day, Commander R. C. Warrack in command.

Service history

After shakedown along the West Coast, Kwajalein cleared San Pedro, California on 19 July 1944, bound for Espiritu Santo with passengers and a cargo of fuel and planes. Arriving on 3 August, she sailed 4 days later to transport aircraft to Guam and pick up salvaged Japanese equipment for intelligence studies in the United States.

Following repairs at San Diego, Kwajalein got underway on 7 October for operations as replenishment carrier. She loaded combat-ready aircraft at Manus Island and sailed for Eniwetok on 5 November to replenish the carriers of Task Force 38 (TF 38) as they prepared for raids on Manila and the Visayas. Continuing operations from Ulithi, Kwajalein furnished the big carriers with the planes needed to drive the Japanese out of the Philippines. In January 1945, replacement aircraft flew from her decks to TF 38 flat tops for strikes on enemy air bases on Formosa and the China coast. Kwajalein returned to San Diego on 23 February for overhaul and additional aircraft before resuming operations on 9 March.

From March–August Kwajalein carried aircraft on three cruises from Pearl Harbor to the western Pacific, keeping carrier-based air groups at full strength for the massive carrier raids on the Japanese home islands. With the cessation of hostilities on 14 August 1945, the carrier was assigned the task of returning Pacific veterans to the United States. She made four cruises to the Pacific Islands before arriving at San Pedro on 2 February 1946, from her final Operation Magic Carpet mission. On 23 April, Kwajalein cleared San Pablo Bay for Mukilteo, Wash., arriving there 3 days later. She decommissioned at Tacoma, Washington on 16 August, and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 April 1960, and she was scrapped in Japan the following year.

bottom of page