Information

Marcus Island CVE-77 - History


Marcus Island
(CVE-77; dp. 7,800; L 512'3"; b. t',5'; ew., 108'1", dr. 22'0"; s. 19 k.; cpl. 860; a. 1 5", 10 40mm., 20 20mm. 28 dct; cl. Casablanca; T. S4-S2-BB3)

Marcus Island(CVE~77) was laid down as Manila Bay under Maritime Commission contract by Kaiser Co.. Ine., Vancouver, Wash., 15 September 1943, renamed Marcus Island 6 November 1943; launched 1a December 1943; sponsored by Mrs. S. L. La Hache, acquired by the navy 20 January 1944, and commissioned at Astoria Oreg., 20 January 1944, Capt. Charles E`. Greber in command.

After shakedown and training along the west coast Marcus Island made a round trip aircraft ferry run to U.S. bases in the South Pacific between 19 May and 1 July. Thence, she embarked Composite Squadron 21, departed San Diego 20 July, and ,arrived Tulagi, Solomons 24 August to prepare for operations in the Palaus. As flagship for Rear Adm. W. D. Sample's CarDiv 27, she began preinvasion strikes against Peleliu and Anguar 12 September. She provided close air support as assault troops hit the beaches beginning the 15th, and until 20 October she launched scores of sorties during embittered fighting on the rugged island.

Marcus Island arrived Manus, Admiralties, the 4th, and after completing preparations for the invasion of the Philippines, she sortied with the Escort Carrier Group (TG 77.4) 12 October for Leyte as part of the task unit known as "Taffy 2." Beginning 18 October, she launched air strikes against enemy positions and during the next week her pilots flew 201 target and air cover missions.

The Battle for Leyte Gulf and the running fight of "Taffy 3" in the battle off Samar 25 October are well chronicled elsewhere; Marcus Island s war diary succinctly recorded the pace of action on the 25th—"A day of intense activity." During the heroic stand of "Taffy 3,"fighters and bombers from Marcus Island struck hard at the Japanese force. One TBM put a torpedo into the portside aft of a heavy cruiser, probably Chikunsa. Amidst intense antiaircraft fire, her fighters made repeated strafing runs against battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. Her planes joined in two strikes against the retreating Japanese ships that afternoon, and her pilots claimed 14 hits on enemy ships including a torpedo and six bomb hits on an Agato class cruiser. In addition her fighters battled and shot down five Japanese planes. On the 26th, she sent 12 bombers and fighters to the Visayan Sea where they helped sink cruiser Kinu and destroyer Uranami with repeated hits from bombs, rockets, and strafing.

Marcus Island departed the Philippines 30 October but returned less than 2 weeks later as part of the escort for the Mindoro attack group. Departing Rossol 10 December she transited Surigao Strait the 13th. Her patrolling aircraft splashed one enemy fighter 14 October and shot down three more planes on the 15th. Marcus Island came under attack the morning of the Mindoro invasion, and between 0810 and 0930 enemy planes made three suicide runs and one bombing strike against the carrier. All the planes were splashed or deflected by intense antiaircraft fire, although two kamikazes splashed close off the bow to port and starboard causing minor damage and several casualties.

Between 16 and 23 December Marcus Island returned to the Admiralties; on the 29th she departed once more for the western Philippines, steaming with units of the Luzon Attack Force for operations in Lingayen Gulf. As she steamed through the Mindanao Sea 5 January 1945, one of her planes depth-bombed a Jap midget submarine which was subsequently rammed and sunk by Taplor (DD-468). Three days Inter her planes splashed four enemy aircraft in spirited dogfights. As the amphibious landings began the 9th, Marcus Island touched close support and strafing strikes over the Tingayen beaches. In addition they attacked and sank by o small enemy coastal ships north of lingayen Gulf along the Luzon coast that same day. ~IarCl/8 1oland continued to provide coordinated air strikes in support of the Lingayen operations until steaming down the Luzon coast 17 January. On the 29th she furnished close air support during unopposed landing at Zambales Province, Luzon; thence she steamed to Ulithi, arriving 5 February.

Rear Admiral Sample hauled down his flag 6 February, and on the 8th ~farcuo Islands became flagship of Rear Adm. Felix B. Stump's CarDiv 24. The carrier debarked hard-hitting Composite Squadron 21 on 14 February and embarked Composite Squadron 87 the same day. After completing training out of Ulithi, she steamed to Leyte Gulf 4 to 7 March to conduct rehearsal e';ercises for the impending invasion of the Ryukyus.

Departing 21 March,Marcus Island arrived south of Kerama Retto the 26th and began launching air strikes. She provided close air support and air cover during operations in the Ryukyus. Between 26 March and 29 April she operated primarily south and southeast of Okinawa while launching attack and spotter strikes. Composite Observation Squadron 1 replaced Composite Squadron 87 on 5 April. Planes of both the squadrons flew 1,085 sorties during this period and pounded enemy airfields, gun emplacements, supply dumps, and troop concentrations. Her pilots shot down 11 Japanese aircraft and destroyed another 13 on the ground.

Marcuo Islands departed Okinawa 29 April; and, after loading damaged aircraft at Guam, she sailed 5 May for the United States, arriving San Diego 22 say. She sailed west again on 10 July, carrying replacement troops and aircraft to Pearl Harbor and Guam before returning to Alameda, Calif., on V-J Day. Sailing once more via Pearl Harbor and Guam, she reached Okinava 28 September and embarked returning troops, arriving San Francisco 24 October. By early January 1946 she completed additional "Magic Carpet" runs to Guam and Pearl Harbor.

Departing San Diego, 12 January Alarcuo Islands sailed v ia the Panama Canal and Norfolk, arriving Boston 2 February She remained at Boston, decommissioned there 12 December 1946, and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She reclas.sified to CVHE-77 on 12 June 1055 and to AKV-27 on 7 May 10~9. She was sold at Boston to Comarket, Ine., 29 February 1060.

Marcus Island received four battle stars for World War II service.


World War II Database


ww2dbase Originally laid down as Kanalku Bay but renamed several months later, USS Marcus Bay was commissioned into service in Jan 1944 with Captain Charles Greber in command. After shakedown and training cruises along the west coast of the United States, she ferried aircraft to the South Pacific in mid-1944 before embarking on US Navy Composite Squadron 21 (VC-21) for combat duty in Jul 1944. As flagship Rear Admiral W. D. Sample's flagship for Carrier Division 27, she participated in the pre-invasion strikes on Peleliu and Angaur in the Palau Islands as well as covering the invasion force from the air when the landings began on 15 Sep. In the following month, she participated in actions supporting the Leyte, Philippine Islands invasion, during which she participated in the Battle off Samar and damaged Japanese heavy cruiser Chikuma and claimed the downing of five Japanese aircraft. On the next day, 26 Oct 1944, her aircraft shared the credit for the sinkings of Kinu and Uranami in the Visayan Sea. Later in the year and into early 1945, she would support the US invasion of Mindoro and Luzon of the Philippine Islands. She was relieved of her duty as Rear Admiral W. D. Sample's flagship while at Ulithi, Caroline Islands on 6 Feb 1945, and then was then made the flagship of Rear Admiral Felix Stump's Carrier Division 24 two days later. With squadron VC-87 and later squadron VCO-1 aboard, USS Marcus Island operated in the Ryukyu Islands from late Mar through late Apr 1945 in support of the invasion of Okinawa, Japan, flying 1,085 sorties during that period, claiming 11 Japanese aircraft shot down in combat and 13 on the ground. Her final missions in the Pacific War saw her returning to the role of logistics, ferrying aircraft and men across the Pacific Ocean. After the war, she made several additional journeys across the Pacific to bring American service members back to the US as a part of Operation Magic Carpet. She remained in Boston, Massachusetts, United States for the most part of 1946 before being decommissioned in Dec 1946. In 1960, Marcus Island was sold for scrapping.

ww2dbase Source: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Feb 2013

Escort Carrier Marcus Island (CVE-77) Interactive Map

Marcus Island Operational Timeline

15 Sep 1943 The keel of Kanalku Bay was laid down by Kaiser Shipyards in Vancouver, Washington, United States.
6 Nov 1943 Escort carrier Kanalku Bay, still under construction at Vancouver, Washington, United States, was renamed Marcus Island.
16 Dec 1943 Marcus Island was launched at Vancouver, Washington, United States, sponsored by Mrs. S. L. La Hache.
26 Jan 1944 USS Marcus Island was commissioned into service at Astoria, Oregon, United States with Captain Charles F. Greber in command.
19 May 1944 USS Marcus Island embarked aircraft on the west coast of the United States for ferrying to the South Pacific.
20 Jul 1944 USS Marcus Island embarked US Navy squadron VC-21 at San Diego, California, United States.
24 Aug 1944 USS Marcus Island arrived at Tulagi, Solomon Islands.
12 Sep 1944 USS Marcus Island launched aircraft against Japanese positions on Peleliu and Angaur in the Palau Islands.
15 Sep 1944 USS Marcus Island launched aircraft to provide cover for the Peleliu, Palau Islands invasion.
2 Oct 1944 USS Marcus Island departed Palau Islands.
4 Oct 1944 USS Marcus Island arrived at Manus, Admiralty Islands.
12 Oct 1944 USS Marcus Island departed Manus, Admiralty Islands with Task Group 77.4.
18 Oct 1944 USS Marcus Island launched aircarft against Japanese positions in the Philippine Islands.
26 Oct 1944 USS Marcus Island launched 12 aircraft to attack and shared the credit for the sinkings of Kinu and Uranami in the Vasayan Sea in the Philippine Islands.
30 Oct 1944 USS Marcus Island departed the Philippine Islands.
10 Dec 1944 USS Marcus Island departed Kossol Roads, Palau Islands.
13 Dec 1944 USS Marcus Island transited Surigao Strait in the Philippine Islands.
14 Dec 1944 USS Marcus Island's air group shot down one Japanese aircraft.
15 Dec 1944 USS Marcus Island's air group shot down three Japanese aircraft off Mindoro, Philippine Islands two aircraft crashed in the water near her and caused minor damage and some casualties.
16 Dec 1944 USS Marcus Island departed Mindoro, Philippine Islands.
23 Dec 1944 USS Marcus Island arrived at the Admiralty Islands.
29 Dec 1944 USS Marcus Island departed the Admiralty Islands.
5 Jan 1945 Aircraft from USS Marcus Island damaged a Japanese midget submarine in the Mindanao Sea in the Philippine Islands.
8 Jan 1945 USS Marcus Island's air group shot down four Japanese aircraft.
29 Jan 1945 USS Marcus Island provided air support during the unopposed US landing at Zambales Province on the island of Luzon in the Philippine Islands.
5 Feb 1945 USS Marcus Island arrived at Ulithi, Caroline Islands.
6 Feb 1945 USS Marcus Island was relieved as Rear Admiral W. D. Sample's flagship while at Ulithi, Caroline Islands.
8 Feb 1945 USS Marcus Island was made the flagship of Rear Admiral Felix Stump's Carrier Division 24 whiel at Ulithi, Caroline Islands.
14 Feb 1945 USS Marcus Island disembarked US Navy squadron VC-21 and embarked squadron VC-87.
4 Mar 1945 USS Marcus Island began a 4-day period of training in Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands.
7 Mar 1945 USS Marcus Island completed a 4-day period of training in Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands.
26 Mar 1945 USS Marcus Island arrived in the Kerama Islands southwest of Okinawa, Japan and would remain in the Okinawa area for the next month in support of the invasion.
5 Apr 1945 USS Marcus Island disembarked US Navy squadron VC-87 and embarked squadron VCO-1 while operating off Okinawa, Japan.
29 Apr 1945 USS Marcus Island departed Okinawa, Japan.
5 May 1945 USS Marcus Island departed Guam, Mariana Islands with damaged aircraft on board.
22 May 1945 USS Marcus Island arrived at San Diego, California, United States.
10 Jul 1945 USS Marcus Island departed the west coast of the United States for Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii with troops and aircraft on board.
2 Sep 1945 USS Marcus Island arrived at Alameda, California, United States.
28 Sep 1945 USS Marcus Island arrived at Okinawa, Japan.
24 Oct 1945 USS Marcus Island arrived at San Francisco, California, United States.
12 Jan 1946 USS Marcus Island departed San Diego, California, United States for the Panama Canal Zone.
2 Feb 1946 USS Marcus Island arrived at Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
12 Dec 1946 USS Marcus Island was decommissioned from service at Boston, Massachusetts, United States and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
12 Jun 1955 Marcus Island's designated changed from CVE-77 to CVHE-77 while in reserve at Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
7 May 1959 Marcus Island's designated changed from CVHE-77 to AKV-27 while in reserve at Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
29 Feb 1960 Marcus Island was sold to the firm Comarket, Inc. for scrapping.

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Product Description

USS Marcus Island CVE 77

Jan 1944 - Sept 1945

World War II Cruise Book

Bring the Cruise Book to Life with this Multimedia Presentation

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  • Ports of Call: San Francisco, Hawaii, Russell Islands, Tulagi Harbor, Utithi, Guam, Leyte, Samar and Mog Mog.
  • Commissioning the Ship
  • Recreation and Parties
  • War Operations
  • Flight Operations
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    U.S.S. MARCUS ISLAND (CVE 77) NOTE TO THE CREW #7

    1. The following information can be used as a guide in writing letters or can be sent home complete.

    2. Copies may be obtained upon request at the Executive Officer's Office.

    J. B. VREDENBURGH
    Commander, U.S. Navy
    Executive Officer

    Some of the cloud of censorship has been lifted concerning the recent operations in which we have been present. We participated in the operations which culminated in the seizure of Leyte and Samar Islands, the Philippine Islands, and in the defeat and route of the Japanese Fleet the night of the 24th and 25th, and the day of the 25th of October.

    On the 24th we were operating off the East Coast of Samar in the vicinity of the Strait which gives entrance to Leyte Gulf. That evening we had rumors that the Jap was up to something but we were still somewhat in the dark as to his exact intentions. During the night of the 24th and 25th the Jap tried to force Surigao Strait and enter Leyte Gulf from the West, but was beaten off with heavy losses by our forces stationed in the Gulf. At the same time a Jap Naval Task Force composed of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers slipped out of the San Bernardino Strait, to the North of Samar Island, and turned South with the probable intention of entering Leyte Gulf from the East.

    At dawn on the 25th we launched our regular flights and made ready to continue the schedule for the day. Shortly after this we received a report that one of our search planes to the North had sighted the Jap Force. This was the first indication that there was such a Force in the vicinity. A few minutes later we received word that one of our small CVE Forces to the North was under large caliber gunfire from the Jap Force. Well, we were in somewhat of a quandry at this point because we had not expected such large enemy ships to be so close to us. However, we recovered from the surprise in short order and started the air operations which were to spell the doom of the Jap.

    A little while later we received word that the Japs were opening on the Force to the North on which they had been firing and we breathed somewhat easier. But, a few minutes later, our complacency was rudely and completely shattered when we learned that the Jap was most certainly opening on our Northern Force but were CLOSING ON US. WOW-----!?"#$%&'@/. . 6-7/8-----WOW. There wasn't much we could do about it except to relieve those parts of our presence as expeditiously as possible and in a direction which would take us out of range of the Jap eight and sixteen inch guns and give us maneuvering room so that we could launch our planes. We felt like one would feel trying to beat off a Sherman Tank with a twenty-two caliber target pistol using twenty-two short ammunition. During this time we launched quite a few of our aircraft armed to the teeth and with orders to attack the Japs.

    While they were forming and getting ready to hit, the Jap was throwing large caliber gunfire at us, which was in no wise pleasant, as one can well imagine. The top-mast of the Jap ship could be seen on the horizon to the North and, with his superior speed, he was closing rapidly. It was quite a sight to see the Jap shells landing around about, making big splashes which shot huge geysers of water into the air. Between salvos we all held our breath, wondering where the next one would fall. However, none of our ships were hit. These ships, that is the CVEs, weren't built to stand up to any ship of the size of a battleship or cruiser and slug it out with them at short range, so it can be well imagined what our chargin must have been to find ourselves in such close proximity to such big stuff. We were all wishing for some turrets full of sixteen inch guns or a few more horse-power so that we could either shoot at the Jap ship or have enough speed to put a bit more ozone between him and us. After a few minutes of dodging around our planes started whacking at the Jap and evidently hurt him pretty badly, because he turned away from us and retired to the Northward. Some minutes later reports began to come in that the Jap was hard hit and seemingly bewildered by the weight of airpower we had thrown at him and was in full retreat to the West, heavily damaged and in great confusion.

    During the remainder of the day our status was changed from hunted to hunter and we continued to hit the retreating Jap with everything we had in the way of airpower, continuing to inflict damage on him. Late in the afternoon we learned that there was a large group of Jap dive and torpedo bombers headed our way. We sent fighters to intercept them and made ready aboard ship to repel the attack by gunfire from our anti-aircraft batteries. The fighters intercepted the Jap planes well away from our Force and shot down over half of them. The remaining Jap pilots must have thought over the situation because they turned tail and beat it for home. We didn't see those planes at all from the ship. This ended the night and day which saw us defeat the major portion of the Jap Fleet in a night surface action and a day air-surface action and sent it hightailing for home with their teeth knocked down their throats. It must have been quite a disappointment to the Jap to see all his carefully planned operations blow up in this face. And it was quite an experience for us to be so close to the Jap Force with our thin-skinned ships yes, quite an experience.

    There "ain't no use sayin" we weren't scared when the Jap was lobbin' sixteen inch bullets at us, because we were, and plenty, but everyone went about his business regardless of how he felt and the whole crew came through like veterans, and how!


    History

    The first discovery and mention of an island in this area was made by a Captain Arriola in 1694.Its location was left unrecorded until further sightings in the early 19th century. Japan annexed the island, called Minami Torishima, in the late 19th century but ceded it to the USA after World War II. The US Coast Guard built a LORAN radio station on the island to help ships navigate that region of the Pacific. Even though the US relinquished sovereignty over the island to Japan in the 1960s, the US Coast Guard continued to operate the LORAN station.

    The base was far too insignificant to be a nuclear target in World War III, although the USSR may have had long-term plans to attack it conventionally had the war lasted longer. The 20-odd Coasties manning the station escaped to Hawaii soon after the Doomsday event, leaving Marcus uninhabited.

    In 1992, the American Provisional Administration, with help from Australia, sent a team to Marcus to refurbish the LORAN station. The operation was part of the ANZUS powers' revived interest in world exploration after the successful round-the-world journey of the Benjamin Frankin the year before. Putting the station online helped re-open the northwest Pacific Ocean to modern navigation, opening the route to Japan and the Asian coast.

    The APA continued to administer Marcus as a separate territory until it was disbanded in 1995. Marcus was one of the few American territories directly transfered to the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand without holding a referendum, since there was no civilian population. It was also one of the few former uninhabited US islands that Hawaii did not claim in its long-simmering territorial dispute with the ANZ Commonwealth.

    The island is currently used for weather observation and has a radio station, but little else. Because of its isolation, it is of some interest to amateur radio hobbyists in the ANZC. The island is considered as a separate country for amateur radio awards.


    Marcus Island CVE-77 - History

    Jan 1944 - Sept 1945

    A great part of naval history.

    You would be purchasing an exact copy of the USS Marcus Island CVE 77 cruise book during World War II. Each page has been placed on a CD for years of enjoyable computer viewing. The CD comes in a plastic sleeve with a custom label. Every page has been enhanced and is readable. Rare cruise books like this sell for a hundred dollars or more when buying the actual hard copy if you can find one for sale.

    This would make a great gift for yourself or someone you know who may have served aboard her. Usually only ONE person in the family has the original book. The CD makes it possible for other family members to have a copy also. You will not be disappointed we guarantee it.

    Some of the items in this book are as follows:

    • Ports of Call: San Francisco , Hawaii , Russell Islands , Tulagi Harbor , Utithi, Guam, Leyte, Samar and Mog Mog.
    • Commissioning the Ship
    • Recreation and Parties
    • War Operations
    • Flight Operations
    • Crossing the Equator
    • Divisional Crews Photos with Names
    • Many Crew Activity Photos
    • Plus Much More

    Over 188 Photos on Approximately 97 Pages.

    Once you view this book you will know what life was like on this Escort Carrier during World War II.


    Marcus Island CVE-77 - History

    Download this Cruise Book as high resolution .pdf file

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    Task Unit 77.4.2 (Taffy II) RADM Felix B. Stump

    COMCARDIV 24 RADM Felix B. Stump

    USS NATOMA BAY (CVE-62) (Flagship) CAPT A.K. Morehouse
    VC-81 16 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR R.C. Barnes

    USS MANILA BAY (CVE-61) CAPT Fitzhugh Lee
    VC-80 16 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR H.K. Stubbs

    COMCARDIV 27 RADM William D. Sample

    USS MARCUS ISLAND (CVE-77) (Flagship) CAPT C.F. Greber
    VC-21 17 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR T.O. Murray

    USS KADASHAN BAY (CVE-76) CAPT R.N. Hunter
    VC-20 15 FM-2 & 11 TBM-1C LCDR J.R. Dale

    USS SAVO ISLAND (CVE-78) CAPT C.E. Ekstrom
    VC-27 17 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR P.W. Jackson

    USS OMMANEY BAY (CVE-79) CAPT H.L. Young
    VC-75 16 FM-2 & 11 TBM-1C LT A.W. Smith Jr.


    1960s

    20 October 1962: The USCG cutter KUKUI departed Oakland for Marcus Island carrying the structure for a new LORAN C tower. The island had previously been surveyed for the establishment of a LORAN C station by the USCG.

    22 October 1962: The USCG announced they are adding four LORAN stations to the Pacific network. Selected sties are Marcus Island, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Japan. The USCG now has 27 LORAN stations in the Pacific. –

    1963 Spring – Construction began on the LORAN C facility on Marcus Island.

    1 October 1963: The USCG commissioned the LORAN C facility and became operational. The USCG also took over responsibility for the Radio Beacon (NDB) on the island. The US Weather Bureau took over control of the weather station on Marcus Island and the observation work of the Japanese came to an end. The Japanese left the island to an all American crew.

    C130s on the ramp at Tachikawa AB, Japan during the 1960s (Mike Skidmore photo)

    1964: In 1964 after some delays caused by storms that ravaged the island during construction the U.S. Coast Guard, opened a LORAN-C navigation station on Marcus Island, whose mast was until 1985 one of the tallest structures in the Pacific area. Before replacing Loran A for general marine navigation, Loran C was used by submarines that launched Polaris missile systems and the existence and location of Loran C stations was classified. LORANSTA Marcus Island was billeted for 23 U.S. Coast Guard personnel. The commissioning commanding officer was LtJG. L. C. Snell. A detachment of SEABEES from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 9 remained on the island for several months making repairs to the island’s air strip.

    1967: A discussion for the reversion of the Ogasawara Islands, which included Marcus Island and Iwo Jima, was held between Japananese Prime Minister Sato and American President Johnson.

    C130 637855 lands at Tachikawa AB, Japan during the 1960s. Japanese protestors can be seen in the foreground (Mike Skidmore photo)

    April 5, 1968: The Ogasawara Reversion Agreement is signed, returning Marcus Island to Japan.

    C130 637878 sits on the ramp at Tachikawa AB, Japan The Tachikawa C130s made weekly supply flights to the USCG on Marcus Island during the 1960s (Mike Skidmore poto)

    June 26, 1968: Marcus Island is returned to the control of Japan and the official name changes back to Minami Torishima. The Japanese Meteorological Agency takes over responsibility for weather observations from the US Weather Bureau and the Maritime Self Defense Force assume control of the runway and navigational aids. The US retains the right to continue operation of the USCG LORAN C station.https://www.youtube.com/embed/MBUDnW8vks4?start=382&feature=oembed


    Marcus Island CVE-77 - History

    From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships , Vol. IV, p. 233.

    A small triangular island in the western Pacific about midway between Wake Island and the Bonins named Minami Tori Shima by the Japanese the site of an enemy naval base during World War II, subjected to U.S. naval bombardment beginning in March 1942, by passed by the Allies during the westward advance across the Pacific and surrendered by the Japanese 31 August 1945.

    (CVE: 77, dp. 7,800 l. 512' 3" b. 65' ew., 108' 1", dr. 22' 6", s. 19 k., cpl. 860 a. 1 5", 18 40mm., 20 20mm. 28 ac. cl. Casablanca T. S4-S2-BB3)

    Marcus Island (CVE-77) was laid down as Kanalku Bay under Maritime Commission contract by Kaiser Co., Inc., Vancouver, Wash., 15 September 1943, renamed Marcus Island 6 November 1943, launched 16 December 1943 sp onsored by Mrs. S. L. La Hache acquired by the Navy 20 January 1944 and commissioned at Astoria, Oreg., 26 January 1944, Capt. Charles F. Greber in command.

    After shakedown and training along the west coast Marcus Island made a round trip aircraft terry run to U.S. bases in the South Pacific between 19 May and 1 July. Thence, she embarked Composite Squadron 21, departed San Diego 20 July, and ar rived Tulagi, Solomons 24 August to prepare for operations in the Palaus. As flagship for Rear Adm. W. D. Sample's CarDiv 27, she began preinvasion strikes against Peleliu and Anguar 12 September. She provided close air support as assault troops hit the b eaches beginning the 15th, and until 2 October she launched scores of sorties during embittered fighting on the rugged islands.

    Marcus Island arrived Manus, Admiralties, the 4th, and after completing preparations for the invasion of the Philippines, she sortied with the Escort Carrier Group (TG 77.4) 12 October for Leyte as part of the task unit known as "Taffy 2." B eginning 18 October, she launched airstrikes against enemy positions and during the next week her pilots flew 261 target and air cover missions.

    The Battle for Leyte Gulf and the running fight of "Taffy 3" in the battle off Samar 25 October are well chronicled elsewhere Marcus Island's war diary succinctly recorded the pace of action on the 25th-"A day of intense activity." During t he heroic stand of "Taffy 3," fighters and bombers from Marcus Island struck hard at the Japanese force. One TBM put a torpedo into the portside aft of a heavy cruiser, probably Chikuma. Amidst intense antiaircraft fire, her fighters made repeated strafing runs against battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. Her planes joined in two strikes against the retreating Japanese ships that afternoon, and her pilots claimed 14 hits on enemy ships including a torpedo and six bomb hits on an Agato class cruiser. In addition her fighters battled and shot down five Japanese planes. On the 26th, she sent 12 bombers and fighters to the Visayan Sea where they helped sink cruiser Kinu and destroyer Uranami with repeated hits from bombs, rockets, and strafing.

    Marcus Island departed the Philippines 30 October but returned less than 2 weeks later as part of the escort for the Mindoro attack group. Departing Kossol 10 December, she transited Surigao Strait the 13th. Her patrolling aircraft splashed one enemy fighter 14 October and shot down three more planes on the 15th. Marcus Island came under attack the morning of the Mindoro invasion, and between 0810 and 0930 enemy planes made three suicide runs and one bombing strike against the carrier. All the planes were splashed or deflected by intense antiaircraft fire, although two kamikazes splashed close on the bow to port and starboard causing minor damage and several casualties.

    Between 16 and 23 December Marcus Island returned to the Admiralties on the 29th she departed once more for the western Philippines, steaming with units of the Luzon Attack Force for operations in Lingayen Gulf. As she steamed through the M indanao Sea 6 January 1945, one of her planes depth-bombed a Jap midget submarine which was subsequently rammed and sunk by Taylor (DD-468). Three days later her planes splashed four enemy aircraft in spirited dogfights. As the amphibious landings began the 9th, Marcus Island launched close support and strafing strikes over the Lingayen beaches. In addition they attacked and sank two small enemy coastal ships north of Lingayen Gulf along the Luzon coast that same day. Marcus Island continued to provide coordinated airstrikes in support of the Lingayen operations until steaming down the Luzon coast 17 January. On the 29th she furnished close air support during unopposed landing at Zambales Province, Luzon thence she stea med to Ulithi, arriving 6 February.

    Rear Admiral Sample hauled down his flag 6 February, and on the 8th Marcus Island became flagship of Rear Adm. Felix B. Stump's CarDiv 24. The carrier debarked hard hitting Composite Squadron 21 on 14 February and embarked Composite Squadron 87 the same day. After completing training out of Ulithi, she steamed to Leyte Gulf 4 to 7 March to conduct rehearsal exercises for the impending invasion of the Ryukyus.

    Departing 21 March, Marcus Island arrived south of Kerama Retto the 26th and began launching airstrikes. She provided close air support and air cover during operations in the Ryukyus. Between 26 March and 29 April she operated primarily sout h and southeast of Okinawa while launching attack and spotter strikes. Composite Observation Squadron 1 replaced Composite Squadron 87 on 5 April. Planes of both the squadrons flew 1,085 sorties during this period and pounded enemy airfields, gun emplacem ents, supply dumps, and troop concentrations. Her pilots shot down 11 Japanese aircraft and destroyed another 13 on the ground.

    Marcus Island departed Okinawa 29 April and, after loading damaged aircraft at Guam, she sailed 5 May for the United States, arriving San Diego 22 May. She sailed west again on 10 July, carrying replacement troops and aircraft to Pearl Harb or and Guam before returning to Alameda, Calif., on V-J Day. Sailing once more via Pearl Harbor and Guam, she reached Okinawa 28 September and embarked returning troops, arriving San Francisco 24 October. By early January 1946 she completed additional "Ma gic Carpet" runs to Guam and Pearl Harbor.

    Departing San Diego, 12 January Marcus Island sailed via the Panama Canal and Norfolk, arriving Boston 2 February. She remained at Boston, decommissioned there 12 December 1946, and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She reclassified to CVH E-77 on 12 June 1955 and to AKV-27 on 7 May 1959. She was sold at Boston to Comarket, Inc., 29 February 1960.


    Watch the video: Documentary Slideshow on Marcus Island 1968-1969 (January 2022).