USS CURTISS (AVB-4)
Curtiss (AV-4) was launched 20 April
1940 by New York
Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.; sponsored by Mrs. H. S. Wheeler; and
commissioned 15 November 1940, Commander S.
P. Ginder in command.
out of Norfolk and in the Caribbean for
training and in fleet exercises through the spring of 1941. On 26 May she got underway for Pearl
Harbor from which she served on patrol
as well as tending two patrol bomber
squadrons. From 15 October to 9 November she voyaged to Wake Island
carrying aviators, air-crewmen, and cargo to reinforce the garrison there. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor Curtiss got underway immediately, firing at the enemy planes. At 0836 she sighted a periscope and opened fire. A torpedo from the submarine missed Curtiss,
smashing into a dock at Pearl
City. Four minutes later the Japanese midget submarine surfaced and was
further damaged by gunfire before diving again,- after which Monaghan (DD-354) took over with a depth charge attack. Curtiss turned her attention
to the air again. At 0905 she hit an
enemy plane which crashed into her
No. 1 crane and burned. Three minutes
later she splashed a plane, then began firing at a dive bomber. A bomb from this plane crashed Curtiss in the vicinity of her damaged crane and exploded below decks, setting the hangar and main decks and No. 4
handling room on fire, as the plane splashed off
her port beam. Despite 19 dead and many wounded, Curtiss' crew
quenched the fires, then turned to for emergency
repairs. On 28 December she was underway for San Diego for permanent
repairs and replacement of the damaged crane
with 20mm. guns. Her repairs
completed in only 4 days, she was back in Pearl Harbor 13 January 1942 to begin the job of ferrying men and
supplies to forward bases at Samoa, Suva, and Noumea until June.
Departing Pearl Harbor 2 June 1942 Curtiss served as
flagship for Commander, Naval Air, South Pacific, at
Noumea from 16 June to 4 August, then served as seaplane tender,
flagship, repair and supply ship for destroyers and small craft
engaged in the Solomons operation from Espiritu Santo until 9 July 1943. After overhaul at San Francisco, she arrived at
Funafuti, Ellice Islands, 7 November
to serve as flagship for Commander Air, Central Pacific, based at
Funafuti until 29 December 1943, then at
Tarawa (31 December 1943-8 March 1944), Kwajalein (10 March-26 June), Eniwetok (27 June-9 August), Saipan (12 August 1944-1 January 1945), and Guam (2 January-7 February).
After repairs at San Francisco, Curtiss sailed to Okinawa,
arriving 22 May 1945 to serve as flagship for Commander, Fleet Air Wing
1. On 21 June a kamikaze and its bomb ripped two holes in her hull and
exploded on the third deck, killing 35 and wounding 21 of her crew. Effective damage control
kept her afloat and 4 days later she was
underway for the west coast and an overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard.
the Fleet in the Western Pacific, Curtiss embarked Commander, Fleet Air Wing 1 (who was also Commander Task Force 75) at Okinawa 5 December
1945. She joined in fleet exercises, operated with patrol squadrons in the Formosa Strait, ferried men and supplies to outlying bases and made
several visits to Tsingtao, China,
until 8 March 1947 when she headed
for the west coast for overhaul and alterations recommended by the Atomic Energy Commission for stowage of scientific equipment.
Curtiss operated off the California
coast on a number of fleet and training exercises until early in 1949 when
she served as flagship for Commander First Fleet for 3 weeks of amphibious
operations in Alaskan waters to evaluate cold weather equipment. She continued to serve as flagship
for this command during amphibious
exercises off Seattle during the summer of 1949. Shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War, Curtiss sailed from San Diego to join the 7th Fleet in July 1950 on patrol in the Korean Strait.
Sailing out of Iwakuni and Kure, she tended two PBM Mariner squadrons
and a squadron of British Sunderlands operating
over Korean territory. She returned to San Francisco 14 January 1951 for further alterations to fit her as a base for scientific work.
From 23 February to 13 June 1951 Curtiss served as
flagship for Operation "Greenhouse" and was the base for
civilian and military technicians during the atomic tests at Eniwetok. She also provided
meteorological information and operated a boat pool. Curtiss served at
San Diego in local operations until 29 September
1952 when she again sailed to Eniwetok as flagship during the atomic
tests of Operation "Ivy." Returning
to San Diego 4 December, she cruised the west coast, and visited Acapulco, Mexico in 1953. From 10 January to 28 May 1954 she participated in Operation "Castle" during which the
first hydrogen bomb was exploded.
with a helicopter deck during November and December
1954, Curtiss engaged in a large scale amphibious exercise on the coast of California in March 1955. From 21 March to 8 August 1956 she took part in Operation "Redwing," the
atomic tests at Eniwetok during which
she was visited by the Assistant
Secretary of the Navy. As flagship for the First Fleet she was visited by Vice Admiral A. H. Vdel, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Danish Navy on 20 September 1956.
Curtiss departed San Diego 27 December
1956 for Operation "Deep Freeze II," carrying sailors of
the wintering-over party, and scientists to take part in the
International Geophysical Year program. Calling at Port Lyttelton, New
Zealand, from 12 to 15 January 1957, she entered McMurdo Sound 19 January and transferred cargo by helicopter to Glacier (AGB-4).
From 21 to 28 January she "put
men and cargo ashore in the same
manner as she lay moored to the ice shelf, continuing these operations at Little America from 30 January to 6 February. She carried out ice reconnaissance to Okuma Bay and Sulzberger Bay, then
departed McMurdo Sound 10 February. She called at Port Lyttelton and Auckland, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia, before returning to San Diego 25
March to undergo repairs for ice
damage. She continued her local
operations until placed out of commission
in reserve 24 September 1957.
Curtiss received seven battle stars for
World War II
[Note: The above USS CURTISS (AVB-4) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS CURTISS (AVB-4), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]