Nehenta Bay CVE-74

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This Month in Naval History
Nehenta Bay CVE-74

Nehenta Bay
(CVE-74: dp. 7,800; 1. 512'3": b. 65': ew. 108'1", dr. 22'6" s. 19 k.; cpl. 860, a. 1 5", 16 40mm., 28 a e.;cl. Casablanca; T. S4-S2-BB3)

Nehenta Bay (CVE-74) was launched by Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vaneouver, Wash., 28 November 1943, under Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. Robert H. Smith, acquired 3 January 1944: and commissioned at Astoria, Oreg., the same day, Captain Horace A. Butterfield in eommand.

Nehenta Bav made her shakedown eruise from San Francisco Bay to Pearl Harbor 6 to 12 February 1944, earryin~ rPDlacementaircrewsand planes. She put into San Diego21 February with damazed planes returned from combat zones for repair. Af1;er further West Coast training, she sailed for Pearl Harbor 18 March, again with reDIacement aircraft and aviation materiel, added to her lading in Hawaii, and reached Majuro 7 April to deliver mail, men, and aircraft to fast carriers moored there. She returned to San Diego from Majuro and Pearl Harbor 27 April, bringing home wounded and other passengers, along with damaged aircraft.

After combat readiness training off California and in Hawaii, ~Nehenta Bay left Pearl Harbor 18 June for the Marianes assault, staging at Eniwetok late in the month. With TF 51, her planes flew antisubmarine and combat air patrols during operations against Tinian, which they strafed 5 and 7 July, blasting gun emplacements and a sugar refinery. Returning to Eniwetok 16 July to refuel and replenish, Nehenta Bay next sailed, with Midtoay and 12 destroyers, for

antisubmarine and combat air patrols off Guam and Saipan, striking targets on the latter.

Next assigned to escort fleet oilers during at-sea replenishment operations, Nehenta Bay played an essential part in the 3d Fleet's victory-winning operations from August 1944 through January 1945. The ships she guarded made it possible for the fast carriers to remain at sea for extended periods, smashing at targets in the Carolines and Philippines, on Formosa, and on the Chinese coast. Such attacks in turn made possible the capture of the Palaus and the return to the Philippines.

With Manus and Ulithi as her bases, Nehenta Bay faithfully and tirelessly protected her vulnerable charges, fighting through the December typhoon despite heavy damage and shooting down a Japanese attacker 12 January 1945. She returned to San Diego 19 February for overhaul, refreshed her training in Hawaiian waters, then qualified new aviators off Guam before arriving at Ulithi 9 May to prepare for strikes on Okinawa. Her planes flew patrols and made direct strikes on enemy positions to aid fighting men ashore, blasting the Japanese from oaves and ridges. Her formation came under kamikaze attack 7 June, when two of her sisters were crashed.

From the end of June through early August, Nehenta Bay again guarded oilers as they served the 3d Fleet in its elimaetie raids against Japan itself. She was en route to operations in the Aleutians when hostilities ended, and her task force sailed 31 August for ocoupation duties around Japan, patrol ling and dropping supplies to prisoners of war. She returned to Pearl Harbor 24 September to disembark her air squadron and all aviation equipment and gasoline, thus making room for passengers. She sailed 30 September to embark homewardbound troops in the Marshalls, and with them reached San Francisco in mid-October. In November she sailed to the Philippines on similar duty, returning to the West Coast 27 November. Sailing via the Panama Canal, Nehenta Bay arrived Boston 31 January 1946 for inactivation. She decommissioned and entered reserve at Boston 15 May 1946. Re~ classified CVU-74 on 12 June 1955 and AKV-24 on 7 May 1959, Nehenta Bay wa~s sold to Conlmarket, Inc., 29 June 1960 and scrapped.

Nehenta Bay received 7 battle stars for World War II service.

 

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