USS Cape Esperance
USS Cape Esperance (CVE-88), c. in 1945
|Namesake:||Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal|
|Laid down:||11 December 1943|
|Launched:||3 March 1944|
|Acquired:||9 April 1944|
|Commissioned:||9 April 1944|
|Decommissioned:||22 August 1946|
|Recommissioned:||5 August 1950|
|Decommissioned:||15 January 1959|
|Two Battle Stars|
|Fate:||Sold 14 May 1959|
|Class and type:||Casablanca|
|Length:||512 ft 3 in (156.13 m)|
|Beam:||65 ft 2 in (19.86 m)|
|Draft:||22 ft 6 in (6.86 m)|
|Armament:||1 × 5 in (127 mm) gun|
She was ordered under the name Tananek Bay, but the name was changed on 6 November 1943. She was launched on 3 March 1944 by Kaiser Co., Inc., Vancouver, Washington, under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. W. M. McDade; transferred to the Navy on 9 April 1944; and commissioned the same day, with Captain R. W. Bockius in command.
World War II
Assigned to the Pacific Fleet, Cape Esperance made two voyages from the west coast to South Pacific bases from 26 May-20 September 1944, carrying new aircraft out, and returning with planes needing repairs. Loaded with combat-ready aircraft, she sailed from San Francisco on 5 October to join Task Group 30.8 (TG 30.8) on 2 November in its support of 3rd Fleet air strikes on Leyte and Luzon. From her decks, replacement aircraft roared off to the operating carriers, ready to take their part in pounding the Japanese out of the Philippines. Continuing to operate from Ulithi and Guam through January, Cape Esperance carried fresh aircraft to the far-ranging Task Force 38 (TF 38) for its strikes on Japanese air bases on Formosa and the China coast.
In February the escort carrier returned to the west coast to load new aircraft which she carried to Guam. This was the first of a series of such voyages in which she brought to the western Pacific a large number of the aircraft which roared over Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the Japanese home islands in the massive carrier raids of the war's last months.
At the close of the war, Cape Esperance sailed from San Diego to Pearl Harbor, returning to San Francisco on 11 September 1945 with aircraft and passengers. She made similar voyages until decommissioned and placed in reserve at Bremerton, Washington, 22 August 1946.
Recommissioned on 5 August 1950, Cape Esperance reported to the Military Sea Transportation Service for duty as an aircraft transport. During the next nine years, she cruised widely in the Pacific, delivering aircraft to Japan for use in the Korean War, supporting atomic tests at Eniwetok, and making two voyages to bring aircraft to the Royal Thai Air Force at Bangkok. In 1952, she sailed to Hong Kong, to evacuate Chinese Nationalist aircraft in danger of seizure by the Chinese Communists. Reclassified CVU-88 on 12 June 1955, Cape Esperance made her first transatlantic crossing in 1956 to ferry aircraft to and from Italy, France, and Portugal. Returning to the Pacific under an operating schedule that found her almost constantly at sea, Cape Esperance carried aircraft to Pakistan later in 1956. She continued to make as many as eight transpacific voyages in a year, supporting forces of the United States and Southeast Asia Treaty Organization countries. Cape Esperance was decommissioned 15 January 1959, and sold on 14 May 1959.