top of page

Makin Island received five battle stars for World War II service.

USS Makin Island (CVE-93) was an Casablanca class escort carrier of the United States Navy.

Named for the 1942 Makin raid, she was laid down on 12 January 1944 by Kaiser Shipbuilding Company, Vancouver, Washington; launched 5 April 1944; sponsored by Mrs. B. B. Nichol; and commissioned at Astoria, Oregon, 9 May 1944, Commander W. B. Whaley in command.

Service history

Following a brief west coast shakedown cruise, on the eighth of June, Makin Island left for San Diego, California, stopping at Alameda, California, to load bombs and aviation gasoline. Makin Island departed San Diego on 19 June 1944, to ferry aircraft and men to Pearl Harbor, Majuro, and Kwajalein, returning to San Diego 24 July. The escort carrier then trained out of San Diego, preparing for combat until 16 October, when she sailed for Ulithi via Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, arriving 5 November. On 10 November, the ship got underway for Leyte, protecting convoys in transit to the invasion beachhead. Extensive air operations were conducted, but no enemy resistance was encountered. On 22 November, she sailed to Manus for the forthcoming invasion of Luzon.

Flying the pennant of Rear Admiral C. T. Durgin, Commander TG 77.4, Makin Island left Manus 27 December to rendezvous with the invasion force in Surigao Strait, Leyte. Sailing for Lingayen Gulf, 3 January 1945, the carrier was subjected to fierce, almost continuous enemy air attack during the passage to the assault beaches. Though sister carrier Ommaney Bay was sunk and a number of other ships damaged, Makin Island arrived unscathed 6 January. For the next 11 days, she remained off the beachhead flying air support for the amphibious operation, then sailed for Ulithi.

Admiral Durgin flew his flag in Makin Island once more, during the invasion of Iwo Jima, off which she arrived 16 February 1945. Her planes made pre-invasion strikes and after the landings provided aerial fire support, essential to success in the hot action ashore, until 8 March. The carrier group again came under heavy Japanese kamikaze attacks, but Makin Island once more was not hit. After replenishing at Ulithi, she sailed for Okinawa, again as flagship.

From her arrival off Okinawa on 25 March, Makin Island remained on station for 67 days, flying constant fire support, supply, and reconnaissance missions for the ground forces. The ship’s aircraft, from Composite Squadrons 84 and 91 (VC-84 and -91), flew 2,258 combat sorties, recording over 8,000 hours of flying time. Relieved 1 June, the carrier sailed for Guam, arriving 5 June.

She sailed again 11 July, to provide air cover for ships conducting minesweeping and raiding operations in the East China Sea and to launch airstrikes against Japanese targets on the Chinese coast. On 13 August she anchored in Buckner Bay, Okinawa, and on 9 September proceeded to Wakanoura Wan, in southern Honshū, for occupation duty. Among her missions was providing air cover for the evacuation of Allied prisoners of war. She sailed for San Francisco 18 October, arrived 5 November, then voyaged to Shanghai to return troops (including the famous Flying Tigers) to the United States at Seattle 30 December.

Makin Island was decommissioned on 19 April 1946 at Puget Sound, was stricken from the Navy list on 11 July, and sold on 1 January 1947.

bottom of page