USS Shamrock Bay
USS Shamrock Bay in November, 1944
|Name:||USS Shamrock Bay|
|Laid down:||15 March 1943|
|Launched:||4 February 1944|
|Commissioned:||15 March 1944|
|Decommissioned:||6 July 1946|
|Struck:||27 June 1958|
|Fate:||Sold for scrapping May 1958|
|Class and type:||Casablanca-class escort carrier|
|Length:||512 ft 3 in (156.13 m) overall|
|Draft:||22 ft 6 in (6.86 m)|
|Speed:||19.3 knots (35.7 km/h)|
|Range:||10,240 nmi (18,960 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)|
|Awards:||3 Battle stars|
USS Shamrock Bay (CVE-84) was a Casablanca-class escort carrier of the United States Navy. She was laid down with the hull code ACV-84 on 15 March 1943 by the Kaiser Co., Vancouver, Washington, under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1121); re-designated CVE-84 on 10 June 1943; launched on 4 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. James R. Dudley; and commissioned on 15 March 1944, Captain Frank T. Ward, Jr., in command.
Following shakedown, Shamrock Bay remained on the west coast into June qualifying pilots in carrier landings. Then transferred to transport duty in the Atlantic, she carried Army fighter planes and Army and Navy personnel to Casablanca and brought back damaged P-40s for use in training and for salvage and aircraft engines for overhaul and salvage. Passengers on the return voyages were, for the most part, Army Air Corps personnel from the China-Burma-India theater.
On 27 October, Shamrock Bay completed her second transport run at Norfolk and prepared for antisubmarine operations in the South Atlantic. However, the loss of escort carriers in the Philippine area brought a change of orders; and, on 11 November, with Composite Squadron 42 (VC-42) embarked, she sailed for the Pacific.
Transiting the Panama Canal on 18 November, she arrived at San Diego on the 27th; embarked VC-93 for transportation to Hawaii on 2 December; and reached Pearl Harbor on the 9th. There, VC-42 and −93 were disembarked and VC-94 reported for duty. On the 11th, Shamrock Bay continued west, and, delivering planes to Johnston Island en route, arrived at Seeadler Harbor, on Manus in the Admiralty Islands, on the 22nd to join the 7th Fleet.
With an increase in aircraft from her normal ASW complement of 9 Grumman TBM Avengers and 12 General Motors FM-2 Wildcats to 12 Avengers and 20 Wildcats, Shamrock Bay covered Task Groups 79.1 and 79.2 from 31 December 1944 through 8 January 1945, as those groups departed the Admiralties and moved into the Philippines for the Lingayen Gulf invasion of Luzon. Enemy aerial resistance increased as the force closed its objective. On the 8th, dogfights peppered the sky. Kadashan Bay was hit by a kamikaze and was unable to accommodate all of her planes. Two were landed on Shamrock Bay. Shortly afterwards, another kamikaze, a Nakajima Ki-43 "Oscar", headed for Shamrock Bay, but was driven off only to crash into Kitkun Bay. Shamrock Bay then landed that CVE's planes, as escort ships went to the aid of the stricken carrier.
From 9 to 17 January, Shamrock Bay remained in the assault area conducting flight operations in support of the invasion. Five hundred and seventy-one sorties were flown, 180 of which were over Luzon. On the 17th, she joined TG 77.14 and sailed for Ulithi.
At Ulithi, the escort carrier joined TU 50.8.25; and, on 16 February, departed that atoll to act as carrier escort of group Baker of the Logistics Support Group for the Iwo Jima landings. She continued that support into March. On the 5th, she returned to Ulithi to prepare for Operation Iceberg, the assault on Okinawa; and, on the 13th, she got underway for the Ryukyus, again supplying cover for the Logistics Support Group. Detached on 7 April, a week after the main landings on the Hagushi beaches, she joined TU 52.1.1 and commenced strikes over Okinawa.
On 15 April 1945, four of the Shamrock Bay's FM-2 Wildcat fighters were scrambled to help save the USS Laffey (DD-724). The Laffey was under attack from kamikazes in Picket Station 1, 50 miles north of Okinawa. The four fighters shot down six enemy kamikazes but were forced to return to the Shamrock Bay due to being low on fuel and ammunition. The Laffey is later saved by a flight of 12 Marine Vought F4U Corsair fighter-bombers.
With only a few, brief interruptions to take on supplies and ammunition at Kerama Retto, Shamrock Bay remained at sea conducting flight operations in support of the Okinawa campaign until 11 May. She then sailed for Guam to take on aircraft and aviation spares as well as ammunition and supplies. On the 20th, Captain J.E. Leeper relieved Captain Ward, and VC-96 replaced VC-94. On the 28th, the ship departed Apra Harbor to return to the Ryukyus; and, at the end of the month, she resumed her support activities as a unit of TU 32.1.1. In early June, flight operations were interrupted as the force rode out a typhoon, then continued until the ships headed for the Philippines after mid-month.
Shamrock Bay, having launched over 1,200 sorties in support of the Okinawa campaign, arrived in San Pedro Bay on 27 June. In early July, she transferred her planes to Guiuan airfield. On the 5th, she sailed for Guam to take on aircraft engines to be returned to the United States for overhaul; and, on the 27th, she arrived at San Diego. VC-96 then disembarked, and Shamrock Bay commenced an availability period which ended just before the cessation of hostilities in the Pacific.
After the end of the war, Shamrock Bay made a transport run to Guam, carrying Army and Navy planes out and vehicles back. Then assigned to "Magic Carpet" duty, she offloaded her aviation stores and detached her aviation personnel at Alameda; and, on 20 October, headed for Pearl Harbor to embark her first contingent of returning veterans, members of the 4th Marine Division. She completed that run at San Diego on 2 November 1945, then made two transpacific runs, one to Okinawa and one to Honshū. She completed the second run at Seattle on 26 January 1946. On 2 February, she sailed for Alameda; and, on the 7th, she got underway to return to the east coast for inactivation.
Shamrock Bay arrived at Boston on 1 March; underwent overhaul; and was decommissioned on 6 July 1946. Reclassified CVU-84 on 12 June 1955, she remained in the Reserve Fleet until struck from the Navy List on 27 June 1958. In May 1958, she was sold for scrapping to the Hyman-Michaels Co., of Chicago.
Shamrock Bay earned three battle stars during World War II.