USS Croatan was named for a sound off the North Carolina coast. The ship was commissioned April 28, 1943 as CVE-25. In August, she began patrol with a hunter group out of Norfolk looking for submarines. She had two skirmishes with a couple of surfaced submarines. In late 1943, the ship undertook ferrying duties from the east coast to Casablanca. Early 1944 saw her back on submarine patrols and then doing a stint for the Naval Research Laboratory. After her guinea pig run, she went back on submarine patrol and hit pay dirt. Two times in April, she spotted and sunk two German U-boats. Her summer patrol in June and July caught her two more targets.
Back in port, Croatan was overhauled and conducted more testing with the Naval Research Laboratory. In August and September, she was back on submarine hunting. She conducted antisubmarine training that autumn and winter in the Caribbean. In March 1945, she was part of a barrier group out to intercept German submarines. Later that year, she was used to qualify aviators. She also conducted two round trip voyages to return troops from Europe.
May 20, 1946, the ship was taken out of active service.