USS Matanikau (CVE-101) - Service History - World War II

World War II

Following training in Puget Sound, Matanikau steamed to San Diego on 25 July. After embarking 191 military passengers and loading 56 planes, she departed on 1 August on an extended shakedown and ferrying run to the South Pacific. She touched at Espiritu Santo and Finschhafen, reached Manus in the Admiralty Islands on 23 August, and after discharging men and planes, she carried 112 sailors and 41 damaged aircraft back to the west coast, arriving San Diego on 19 September.

Matanikau's run to the Admiralties and back marked her closest advance to the sea war in the Pacific. On 14 October, she embarked Composite Squadron 93 (VC-93) and began duty as qualification carrier for naval and marine aviators. Operating along the west coast out of San Diego, she trained hundreds of pilots during the closing months of World War II. For more than 8 months, she conducted flight training and qualification landings. From January-June 1945, she qualified 1,332 aviators, and during these 6 months, pilots completed 12,762 landings on her flight deck. On 25 May alone, fighter and torpedo planes of Marine Air Groups CVS-454 and CVS-321 made 602 daylight landings, the greatest number on an aircraft carrier in one day.

Matanikau departed San Diego on 28 July and carried 65 planes and 158 troops to the Marshall Islands. Operating under Carrier Transport Squadron, Pacific Fleet, she reached Roi Island, Kwajalein on 10 August, then returned to Pearl Harbor on the 16th. On 31 August, she sailed for the western Pacific to support occupation operations in Japan. As a unit of Task Force 4 (TF 4), she reached Ominato, Honshū on 11 September. For the next 2 weeks, she supported operations along the northern coast of Honshū, including landings by the 8th Army at Aomori on 25 September. After steaming to Yokosuka, she departed Tokyo Bay 30 September, touched at Guam and Pearl Harbor, and arrived San Francisco 23 October.

Assigned to "Magic Carpet" duty from 3–19 November, Matanikau steamed to Saipan, where she embarked more than 1,000 returning veterans. Departing for the west coast on the 21st, she reached San Pedro, California on 5 December. Six days later, she again sailed for the Marianas. She arrived Guam on 27 December, embarked 795 troops of the 3rd Marine Division, and departed the next day for China. Arriving Taku Forts on 3 January 1946, Matanikau debarked the marines who were part of an American force supporting the Chinese Nationalists in their struggle against the Communists for control of China.

Read more about this topic:  USS Matanikau (CVE-101), Service History

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