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  USS San Jacinto CVL-30 (AVT-5)
USN
Independence Class
Light Carrier

11,000 Tons
622.5' x 71.5' x 26'
28 x 40mm AA guns
40 x 20mm cannons
45 Aircraft

Ship History
Built by New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, NJ. Laid down October 26 1942 as a light cruiser USS Newark (CL-100). On June 2, 1942 redesignated USS Reprisal (CV-30). On January 30, 1943 renamed USS San Jacinto for the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 during the Texas Revolution. While under construction converted, into an Independence class light carrier designated CVL-30. Launched September 26, 1943 sponsored by Mary Gibbs Jones, wife of U.S. Commerce Secretary Jesse H. Jones). Commissioned November 15 1943 with Captain Harold M. Martin in command.

Wartime History
After a shakedown cruise, transited the Panama Canal to San Diego and Pearl Harbor then to Majuro Lagoon assigned to fast carrier striking force Task Force 58/38 (TF-58, TF-38) and embarked carrier aircraft from Carrier Air Group 51 (CAG-51) including Torpedo Squadron 51 (VT-51) operating the Avenger.

In the Pacific, her carrier aircraft flew search missions in support of carrier strikes against Marcus Island.

On May 15, 1944 lost was TBM Avenger 25121 piloted by Ens James J. Wykes on on an anti-submarine patrol and went Missing In Action (MIA). This was the carrier's first combat loss.

On May 21, 1944 San Jacinto carrier aircraft participated in strikes against Wake Island, her first offensive missions without losses. On June 5, 1944 Task Force 58 (TF-58) departed Majuro bound for the Mariana Islands to conduct strikes before the U. S. landing on Saipan on June 15, 1944 to protect the invasion force.

Between June 19-20, 1944 participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea (Great Marianas Turkey Shoot) with her carrier aircraft participating in sorties and her anti-aircraft gunner defending the American ships. Reportedly at dusk, a Japanese aircraft made a landing attempt on San Jacino but was waved off because its tail hook was not lowered!

Afterwards, participated in strikes against Rota and Guam and provided Combat Air Patrols (CAP) and anti-submarine patrols for the task group. During these raids, F6F Hellcat pilot from VF-51 was shot down over Guam and spent 17 days in a life raft trying to attract attention and 16 nights hiding on an island before being rescued.

Afterwards, refueled and resupplied at Eniwetok then sortied again. On July 15, 1944 her carrier aircraft participated in "Operation Snapshot" strikes against Palau. On July 27, 1944 lost was TBM Avenger 45810 piloted by Lt. Houle (MIA).

On August 5, 1944 attacked Chi Chi Jima (Father Island), Haha Jima (Mother Island) and Iwo Jima. Afterwards again resupplied at Eniwetok then participated in carrier strikes against Yap, Ulithi, Anguar and Babelthuap prior to the US invasion on September 15, 1944.

On September 2, 1944 four TBM Avengers took off on a bombing mission against against a radio installation on Chi Chi Jima. Lost was lost TBM Avenger 46214 piloted by Lt(jg) George H. W. Bush that was hit by anti-aircraft fire and his two crew went were lost and remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Bush was later rescued by USS Finback (SS-230).

Afterwards, resupplied at Seeadler Harbor then participated in strikes against Okinawa and her carrier aircraft flew photographic reconnaissance missions for future operations. After refueling at sea, she once again supplied dawn-to-dusk air protection between October 12-19, 1944 for strikes against Formosa (Taiwan), Luzon and Manila Bay.

On October 17, 1944 a fighter made a hard landing and inadvertently fired its machine guns into the carrier's island structure and killing two and wounding 24 others including her commanding officer and causing considerable damage to radar. On October 20, 1944 her carrier aircraft provided support for the landings on Leyte.

On October 24, 1944 disengaged to participate in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. During the battle, her carrier aircraft attacked the Central Force in the Sibuyan Sea, then conducted strikes against the Northern Force off Cape Engaño. Afterwards, on October 30, 1944 conducted CAP over Leyte and her anti-aircraft gunners shot down two planes attempting kamikaze attacks on the carrier then to Ulithi for resupply.

Next, participated in carrier attacks against Manila and to Guam to exchange carrier aircraft and embarked Carrier Air Group 45 (CAG-45). During December 1944 during a typhoon sustained slight damage and afterwards was repaired at Ulithi then to the South China Sea for attacks air attacks against Formosa (Taiwan) and shipping in Camranh Bay (Cam Ranh Bay) and Hong Kong. Afterwards, resupplied and refueled at sea and continued to strike Luzon and Ryukyu Islands.

During February 16-17, 1945 participated in the first carrier strikes against the home islands of Japan before the amphibious landings on Iwo Jima then more strikes against Tokyo and Okinawa. On March 19, 1945 witnessed the damage caused to USS Franklin (CV-13) and herself was nearly hit by a a kamikaze that missed. Afterwards to Ulithi to resupply.

Departed to participate in "Operation Iceberg" to support the invasion of Okinawa with her crew constantly at general quarters due to frequent air raids. On April 5, 1945 survived kamikaze attacks with her anti-aircraft gunners shooting down an attacker that crashed into the sea roughly 50' off the port bow. On April 7, 1945 Avengers from VT-51 sank Japanese destroyers Hamakaze and Asashimo escorting battleship Yamato that was also sunk by carrier aircraft. San Jacinto then returned to performing CAP, strikes against kamikaze airfields on Kyūshū and close air support for ground forces on Okinawa.

On June 5, 1945 survived another typhoon and resupplied at Leyte then departed with Task Force 58 (TF-58) for July 9, 1945 carrier raids against targets on Hokkaidō and Honshū and operated off Japan.

On August 13, 1945 operating tactically as a unit of Task Group 38.1 (TG 38.1) east of Honshu launched three strike against airfields in the Tokyo area. Also a strike against industrial targets Tokyo but was hampered by bad weather. Also launched were two Combat Air Patrols (CAP) over the radar picket line. Over the target, her planes attacked parked aircraft that were hidden and encountered some Japanese fighters in the air.

Hellcats from VF-49 took off on a mission over Tokyo and were intercepted by Zeros. Damaged, F6F Hellcat 78006 piloted by Lt(jg) William C. Henwood ditched into Tokyo Bay and was rescued by OA-10 Catalina 44-34080 but after taking off with him was was shot down by Japanese fighters.

On August 15, 1945 after Japan surrendered, her aircraft performed supply drops to Allied Prisoner Of War (POW) camps on Japan. On September 2, 1945 at anchor in Tokyo Bay during the surrender ceremony then across the Pacific to NAS Alameda on September 14, 1945.

Postwar
On March 1, 1947 decommissioned and placed into the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego. On May 15, 1959 reclassified as an auxiliary aircraft transport (AVT-5). On June 1, 1970 struck from the U. S. Navy list.

Fate
On December 15, 1971 sold for scrap to National Metal and Steel Corporation and scrapped afterwards.

References
NARA USS San Jacinto - Chronological Summary page 31-32 (August 13, 1945)

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Last Updated
December 28, 2018

 

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