USS Card (CVE-11)
|Builder:||Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation|
|Laid down:||27 October 1941|
|Launched:||27 February 1942|
|Acquired:||1 May 1942|
|Commissioned:||8 November 1942|
|Decommissioned:||13 May 1946|
|Recommissioned:||16 May 1958 as USNS Card|
|Decommissioned:||10 March 1970|
|Struck:||15 September 1970|
|Fate:||Scrapped in Clatskanie, Oregon, 1971|
|Class and type:||Bogue-class escort carrier|
|Displacement:||9,800 long tons (9,957 t)|
|Length:||496 ft (151 m)|
|Beam:||69 ft 6 in (21.18 m)|
|Draft:||26 ft (7.9 m)|
|Speed:||16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph)|
|Complement:||890 officers and men|
|Aircraft carried:||12 × TBM and 16 × FM-2|
USS Card (AVG-11/ACV-11/CVE-11/CVHE-11/CVU-11/T-CVU-11/T-AKV-40) was a Bogue-class escort aircraft carrier. Her hull was laid down on 27 October 1941 as a C-3 cargo ship (type C3-S-A1) but she was acquired from the Maritime Commission while under construction and was converted into an escort carrier.
She was launched as hull 178 on 27 February 1942 by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding, Tacoma, Washington, sponsored by Mrs. J. Perry. Acquired by the Navy on 1 May 1942, she was designated AVG 11 (Aircraft Escort Vessel #11). Reclassified ACV-11 (Auxiliary Aircraft Carrier) on 20 August 1942 she was commissioned 8 November 1942 with Captain J. B. Sykes in command.
World War II
Departing San Diego 18 January 1943, the Card arrived at Hampton Roads 1 February for training in Chesapeake Bay. She ferried aircraft and troops for the North African invasion from New York to Casablanca (14 May–1 June), returning to Norfolk 5 July. She was reclassified CVE-11 on 15 July 1943. Card steamed from Norfolk as flagship of TG 21.14, one of the hunter-killer groups formed for offensive operations against German submarines. Her first cruise from 27 July to 10 September 1943 was very successful. Her planes sank U-117 on 7 August in .; U-664 on 9 August in .; U-525 on 11 August in .; and U-847 on 27 August in .
Her second cruise from 25 September to 9 November provided even more lucrative hunting. Planes from the Card spotted a nest of four submarines refueling 4 October and sank two of them, the U-460 in ., and U-422 in . Nine days later in ., the U-402 fell victim to her aircraft. Her aircraft added another submarine to their score on 31 October when they sank the U-584, in . The fifth and final kill of the cruise was made on 1 November by one of Card's escorts. After a violent, close-range surface action, Borie rammed and sank the U-405 in . Too badly damaged to be saved, the Borie had to be sunk by one of the other escorts. For her outstanding antisubmarine activities from 27 July to 25 October, Card and her task group were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
Card began her third hunter-killer cruise 24 November heading for the North Atlantic. Late on 23 December the group ran into a wolf pack Borkum; Card had 12 contacts in 5 hours. Schenck sank U-645 in ., but one of the other escorts, Leary, was sunk by the combined efforts of three submarines in . Card dodged submarines all night with only Decatur as screen, while Schenck rescued survivors from Leary. The task group returned to Norfolk 2 January 1944.
From 18 March to 17 May Card operated on transport duty between Norfolk and Casablanca, then underwent overhaul until 4 June when she steamed for Quonset Point to hold pilot qualification exercises. She returned to Norfolk 21 June to serve as the nucleus of TG 22.10. The hunter-killer unit departed Norfolk 25 June and on 5 July two of her escorts, Thomas and Baker, sank U-233 in . Thirty survivors, including the mortally wounded commanding officer of the submarine, were taken on board Card and put ashore at Boston the next day.
Her next antisubmarine cruise was in the Caribbean and uneventful (10 July–23 August). She sortied 18 September as flagship of TG 22.2 for patrol off the Azores, during which she cooperated with British Escort Group 9 to attack a submarine on 12 October. After another patrol with TG 22.2 (1 December 1944 - 22 January 1945), Card entered Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for overhaul until 7 February, then transported Army aircraft and Army and Navy personnel to Liverpool, returning to Norfolk 12 March. From 21 March to 24 May, Card was based on Quonset Point, conducting carrier pilot qualifications. She ferried men and aircraft to Guantanamo Bay (21 June-24 June), then transited the Panama Canal to transport materiel to Pearl Harbor and Guam, returning to San Diego 14 August 1945. Assigned to "Magic Carpet" duty, she made two voyages to Pearl Harbor and one to the western Pacific from 21 August to 16 December 1945, returning servicemen to the west coast. Card departed Alameda 7 January 1946 for the east coast where she was placed out of commission in reserve at Norfolk 13 May 1946.
She was reclassified as a helicopter escort carrier CVHE-11, 12 June 1955; a utility carrier CVU-11, 1 July 1958; and an aviation transport AKV-40, 7 May 1959.
In addition to her Presidential Unit Citation, Card received three battle stars for service in World War II.
The ship was reactivated on 16 May 1958 as USNS Card and operated with a civilian crew under Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) control as an aircraft transport. On December 15, 1961, the Card left Quonset Point, Rhode Island, with a cargo of H-21 Shawnee helicopters and U.S. soldiers from Fort Devens, Massachusetts, bound for Vietnam. At Subic Bay in the Philippines, the cargo and troops were transferred to the USS Princeton, which arrived and unloaded off the coast of Da Nang on January 25, 1962.
On 2 May 1964, while moored dockside in Saigon, a North Vietnamese frogman, Lam Son Nao, planted an explosive charge that blew a hole in the hull, killing five crewmen. (It should be noted that this event was prior to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident which led to the escalation of American involvement in Vietnam.) Card settled in 20 feet (6.1 m) of water. She was patched and pumped out, and raised on 19 May, and towed to Subic Bay, and then Yokosuka for repairs. Card returned to service on 11 December.
During the latter part of 1967 & early part of 1968 the Card brought US military helicopters to the Republic of South Vietnam. These helicopters were assembled on board the ship by members of the 388th Transportation Company, 765th Transportation Battalion, and then flown to the US Army airfield at Vung Tau. From there the helicopters were assigned to aviation units.
Eventually placed out of service on 10 March 1970, Card was stricken for disposal on 15 September and sold for scrap in 1971.
- Presidential Unit Citation
- American Campaign Medal with one battle star
- European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two battle stars
- World War II Victory Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
- Vietnam Service Medal
- Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
In popular culture
In the climatic scene of the movie Magnum Force, Dirty Harry (played by Clint Eastwood) is in a motorcycle chase on board two abandoned escort carriers in San Francisco. It is possible that one of the carriers seen in the movie was the Card.
-  BATTALION HISTORY, 93rd Trans / 121st AHC, Early History, Web 4 Jan 2013.
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