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USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) was a Casablanca-class aircraft carrier that was awarded the Presidential Unit citation and six battle stars for her role in World War II. She was built in 1943 and also classified as AVG-71 and ACV-71. She was part of the Pacific Fleet, and her most noteworthy operations were in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and in serving as escort to the admiral who would receive the Japanese surrender.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf

This epic battle, in which the allies were decidedly victorious, was one of the largest naval battles in history and by most accounts the largest in World War II.

On Oct. 20, 1944, her planes were launching strikes against the Japanese off the coast of Leyte, in the Philippine Islands, when Kitkun Bay and her Task Force, “Taffy 3,” were targeted by the Japanese Center Force. In a battle that lasted more than two hours, the carrier lost two planes and their crews, but miraculously avoided direct hits until a retaliation period, in which she was crashed by a Zeke. One of her crew was killed and sixteen wounded during that attack.


Kitkun Bay was damaged near the Suriago Straits during air attacks when preparing for the invasion of Luzon. Sixteen were killed and thirty-seven wounded.

In September, 1945, the carrier escorted Admiral F.J. Fletcher, who would receive the formal Japanese surrender. She also took care of American POWs, transporting food and prisoners. Kitkun Bay was sold for scrap in 1947.

CVE-71 Deployments - Major Events

Add a CVE-71 Shellback Initiation Add a CVE-71 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
MAY1943-Keel Date: 3 MAY 1943
at Kaiser Shipyards
NOV1943-Launch Date: 8 NOV 1943
DEC1943-Commissioned: 15 DEC 1943
APR1946-Decommissioned: 19 APR 1946

CVE-71 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 18 November 1946