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  USS Liscome Bay (CVE-56)
escort carrier

8,188 Tons (Standard)
10,902 (Full Load)
512’3" x 65’ 2" x 108'
1 x 5" 38 cal gun
8 x Twin 40mm AA
30 x 20mm AA
27 aircraft
1 x catapult
2 x elevators

USN September 20, 1943

USN November 24, 1943
Ship History
Built by Kaiser Shipbuilding Company in Vancouver, Washington under a contract from the United States Maritime Commission. Laid down December 9, 1942 as a Type S4-S2-BB3 hull, MCE hull 1093. Yard Number 302. During construction, appropriated by the U.S. Navy (USN) as the second Casablanca-class escort carrier.

Originally intended for the Royal Navy as HMS Ameer as part of lend-lease, but USS Baffins was chosen instead and this escort carrier was retained by the U.S. Navy (USN). Launched April 19, 1943 sponsored by Mrs. Clara Klinksick, wife of wife of Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, the Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Yards and Docks. On June 28, 1943 renamed USS Liscome Bay (ACV-56) after Liscome Bay in Alaska. On July 15, 1943 assigned hull classification symbol (hull code) CVE-56. Commissioned August 7, 1943 in the U.S. Navy (USN) with Captain Irving D. Wiltsie in command with her crew largely drawn from USS Glacier (CVE-33).

Wartime History
Departed for San Francisco where she embarked 60 aircraft then steamed to San Diego arriving on September 22, 1943. For the next month, underwent training off the coast of southern California. On October 11, 1943 designed the flagship for Carrier Division 24 (CarDiv 24) under the command of of Rear Admiral Henry M. Mullinnix. On October 14, 1943 embarked her aircraft contingent and made final preparations to depart for the war zone.

Wartime History
On October 21, 1943 departed San Diego bound for Pearl Harbor arriving a week later and continued to train off Hawaii until assigned to Operation Kourbash the capture of Makin. On November 10, 1943 departs Pearl Harbor attached to Task Force 52 (TF-52), Northern Attack Force under the command of Rear Admiral Richard K. Turner for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands and to support the landings on Makin and Tarawa. On November 20, 1943 carrier aircraft from Liscome Bay provided close air support for the landings and flew a total of 2,278 sorties. Afterwards, Liscome Bay remained in the area as mopping up operations continued.

Meanwhile, the Japanese deployed nine submarines to the Gilbert Islands to attack the U.S. Navy warships. On November 23, 1943 Japanese submarine I-175 arrives off Makin and began shadowing a task group including USS Liscome roughly 20 miles southwest of Makin as they were steaming at 15 knots in a circular formation and not zig-zagging.

Sinking History
On November 24, 1943 at 4:30am went to routine general quarters at 5:05am her flight crews prepared to launch at dawn. Meanwhile, Japanese submarine I-175 was shadowing the carrier and fired a torpedo. At roughly 5:10am without any prior warning a lookout shouted: " comes a torpedo!" and moments later it struck abaft of the after engine room and exploded followed by a second detonation causing the interior to burst into flames. At 5:33am Liscome Bay listed to starboard and sank.

Aboard, a total of 642 of her crew were lost in the explosion and sinking. Among those lost was Cook Third Class Doris "Dorie" Miller who earned the Navy Cross on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor.

Afterwards, 272 of her crew were rescued by destroyers and transported to Makin were they were embarked aboard transports Leonard Wood and Neville. On November 25, 1943 two survivors died and were buried at sea.

For her World War II service, USS Liscome Bay one battle star for the Gilbert Islands.

Those Missing In Action (MIA) were officially declared dead a year later on November 25, 1944 and are memorialized at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the courts of the missing.

At the Valley Forge Military Academy and College in the Chapel of St. Cornelius are two stained-glass windows, installed in 1965 as a memorial to Liscome Bay. In 1990, a memorial plaque was installed aboard USS Yorktown (CV-10) to honor Liscome Bay.

Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) - USS Liscome Bay (ACV-56, later CVE-56)
Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) - Liscome Bay (CVE-56)
NavSouce - USS Liscome Bay CVE-56
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Doris Miller
FindAGrave - Doris “Dorie” Miller (photo, courts of the missing photo)

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Last Updated
February 3, 2023


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