Named for a bay in the Alexander Archipelago in southeastern Alaska, USS Kalinin Bay was commissioned on Nov. 27, 1943. Her primary duty on her first voyage was as a replenishment ship for Pacific operations. She was next sent to provide support for the invasion of the Marshall Islands. In May 1944, the ship was sent to provide air operations during the Marianas operations. In June she sent air strikes against entrenched enemy forces in Saipan. July saw her doing the same thing during the invasion of Guam.
Kalinin Bay was an integral part of the Taffy 3 group sent to the Philippine Islands. As part of this group, the ship took part in the Battle off Samar. This naval legend pitted a smaller American force against a larger Japanese enemy. The ship took several direct hits from enemy shells. She avoided torpedo strikes. One kamikaze strike did land on the port side of her deck. The ship lost five souls during the attack.
After extensive repairs, the ship commenced replenishment operations throughout the Pacific Theater. She provides support to Guam, Pearl Harbor, and Eniwetok. After the war ended, the ship was part of the “Magic Carpet” effort to take men home. She was decommissioned on May 15, 1946.
CVE-68 General Specifications
Class: Casablanca-class escort carrier
Complement: 860 Officers and Enlisted
Displacement: 7800 tons
Length: 512 feet 3 inches
Beam: 65 feet 2 inches
Draft: 22 feet 6 in
Range: 10 240 Nautical Miles
Final Disposition: Sold for scrap 8 December 1946