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Savo Island file photo [1787]

Savo Island

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassCasablanca-class Escort Carrier
Hull NumberCVE-78
BuilderKaiser Vancouver Shipyard
Laid Down27 Sep 1943
Launched22 Dec 1943
Commissioned3 Feb 1944
Decommissioned12 Dec 1946
Displacement7,800 tons standard; 10,400 tons full
Length512 feet
Beam65 feet
Draft22 feet
MachineryFour boilers with two screws
Speed19 knots
Armament1x5-in Anti-aircraft, 8x40mm, 12x20mm


ww2dbaseSavo Island was originally planned as the aircraft escort vessel Kaita bay, but was reclassified on 15 Jul 1943 as a Casablanca-class escort carrier. She was commissioned in Feb 1944 with Captain C. E. Eckstrom in command. She held her shakedown cruise off San Diego, California, and then sailed twice for the South Pacific with replacement aircraft. Her first combat assignment was during the Palaus campaign against the island of Peleliu, where her aircraft strafed Japanese positions as United States Marines landed. In Oct 1944, her aircraft provided aerial support during the Leyte campaign in the Philippine Islands. In the morning of 25 Oct 1944, her escorts came under fire when Admiral Takeo Kurita's powerful surface fleet reached the relatively unprotected American escort carriers. Despite intense air pressure, the Japanese scored a tactical victory at the Battle off Samar, but Savo Island emerged unharmed. In Nov 1944, she operated further off Leyte to protect the convoy lanes leading to the Philippines. Her aircraft supported the landings at Mindanao in Dec 1944 then Lingayen Gulf landings at Luzon in Jan 1945. During the latter action, a special attack suicide aircraft grazed her flight deck, giving her crew a brief scare. In Mar and Apr 1945, she provided air support for actions against Kerama Eetto, Okinawa, and Sakishima Gunto during the Okinawa campaign. On 29 April, Savo Island returned to San Diego for an overhaul. She emerged from the shipyard shortly before the Japanese surrender. After the war, she supported the occupation of northern Japan and performed as one of the Magic Carpet transports that brought American servicemen back to the United States. Her final Magic Carpet duty ended at Seattle on 14 Jan 1946, and she was inactivated at Boston on 16 Mar. She was formally decommissioned from service on 12 Dec 1946. She was sold to Comarket, Inc. for civilian service and was broken up in Hong Kong in Jun 1960.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Feb 2007


Savo Island underway, date unknownSavo Island wearing camouflage and carrying aircraft, date unknown
See all 3 photographs of Escort Carrier Savo Island (CVE-78)

Savo Island Operational Timeline

3 Feb 1944 Savo Island was commissioned into service.
12 Dec 1946 Savo Island was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Marco Becerra says:
14 Dec 2010 08:20:54 AM

My Father served on this ship and just recently passed at 83 I would like to find out more of his service, he never talked much about it which is common of this great generation
2. Dory Warren says:
1 Mar 2011 09:56:05 AM

My father-in-law passed away a few years ago, he was very reluctant to speak of his service. I am trying to uncover any information to help pass-on to my sons how very vital it is to learn their family history in connection to that of their country. As one son is particularly interested in the Navy and unfortunately was too young to remember much of his grandfather, it would mean so very much to me to learn more about his grandfather: a plane gunner: Joe Warren
3. Larry Witt says:
2 Sep 2011 01:03:14 PM

My father David Witt served about the Savo Island. He passed in 1990. He only talked of the good times. I never knew of his battle adventures until the internet, though his stories did inspire me to join the Navy.
4. J.T. Rosien says:
21 Jun 2012 02:36:14 PM

I had an uncle that served on teh Savo Island. He never mentioned the battle action, other than a Kamakazi Pilot circled the ship, abvaiding the anti-aircraft fire,until he was sot down by a Navy Pilot.
He also tld me that the actor Robert Stack, AKA Eliot Ness served on the Island. He also told me the funny stuff that happened when the ship crossed the Equator and all of the polly-wogs were welcomed into Neptunes Family
5. Debbie Hill says:
7 Nov 2012 09:21:55 PM

My Daddy served on the Savo and he turned 88 Oct.3rd, 2012. He has been interviewed by the World War II museum in Fredersburg, Texas. He does talk about his time on the ship but He is starting to forget some...not a lot. I will ask him any questions if any of you have some...
Debbie Hill

Oh My Dad is Harold Evans
6. Wendell says:
30 Nov 2012 08:52:47 PM

Dear Debbie, my grandfather serve on the Savo, I loved to here his stories about that time. His job was to tell the gun man when to fire the big guns. My grandfather was very special to me, he past away in feb. of 99. If there is anything more special, enjoy having yours still around. Anything or information please let us know. My grandfathers name was Calvin Garner. Thank you and God Bless.
7. Jenny David says:
5 Nov 2013 01:30:28 PM

My dad was on the SAVO ISLAND in WWII. He said that he worked the engine room. He died recently March 2011. He was 83. He took many many pictures while on the Savo Island. Unfortunately, I don't know the names of the sailers with him in the pictures. I also have a battle babby book of the savo island. I MISS MY DAD !!!!! He was proud to be a sailer !!!
8. Mark Brucker says:
5 Feb 2014 02:32:56 PM

I live in Berkeley, CA. I remember as a kid there was a Savo Island naval housing complex in town. Here's a bunch more info about it:
According to naval historian Lt. Col. David E. Quantock, "The Battle of Savo Island occurred early in the morning on 9 August 1942, when the Japanese 8th fleet surprised the Allied Task Force shortly after the landing at Guadalcanal. In approximately 37 minutes, the Japanese Navy destroyed four Allied heavy cruisers and killed more than 1000 American and Australian sailors, handing the U.S. Navy the worst defeat in its history. There were many strategic, operational, and tactical reasons for this debacle; however, the one common thread through the entire disaster was the poorly framed command and control relationships." http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/rep/Savo/Quantock/index.html

Soon after this tragic event, a new housing project for naval personnel was constructed in Berkeley, CA, and named after that sad and humiliating battle. According to the January 3, 1945 Berkeley Gazette, "Located across the street from the WACs barracks, [Savo Island] will consist of 192 units [where] some combat personnel returning to shore jobs may rent a single-bedroom unit for as low as $11 a month." http://tinyurl.com/cqx8exr

And one of the children raised in this new housing project was Jimi Hendrix. And we all now what happened to him.

In 1974, the old Savo Island housing project in Berkeley was torn down and then Jimmy Carter (my hero, he built housing like this in every single city and town in America in 1979) gave orders to build a new, renovated Savo Island right on the same site -- but as a housing cooperative.
9. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
5 Feb 2014 05:35:54 PM

To Mark Brucker:
The link to LCol Quontock’s assessment of The Battle of Savo Island is intriguing. Keep in mind that was a project written for his War College in 2002 and is hardly the final word on the topic. There has been much written on this as well as the Guadalcanal Campaign as a whole. See also http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=9.
10. Debbie hill says:
6 Feb 2014 10:04:35 PM

Jenny David
I would love to see some of your pictures. My daddy has gone blind but still talks about his time on the Savo. He will be 90 this year.
11. Mike C. says:
24 Nov 2014 07:55:06 AM

A former co-worker and friend of mine just shared with me that her Grandfather, Ralph Elliott, flew off the Savo Island! He was credited with nine (9) victories and was an established "ACE" She is a wonderful person and it is not surprising that she came from such a solid family. Her Grandfather would be proud!!
12. Mike says:
1 May 2015 12:14:11 PM

My dad Mike McTigue possibly served on the savo after his carrier uss Princeton was attacked and sank. any info on muster lists of the crew would be appreciated. thanks and God bless the greatest generation
13. Earles McCaul says:
23 Aug 2015 05:40:13 PM

Does anybody remember the *address* of the Savo Island married housing complex in So.Berkeley? I thought it was on Blake Street, but above posting mentions Ward Street. We lived there circa 1953-1954 while my dad was an electronics instructor at Treasure Island.
14. Anonymous says:
13 Jun 2016 12:16:05 PM

my dad was a pilot on the savo island. he is gone, but never forgotten. god that the rest of us remember forever
15. Jenny says:
19 Oct 2016 09:17:55 AM

My dad was stationed in San Diego and was on board the USS Savo Island. I plan to visit San Diego and would love to see where Savo Island's complex was and where he was stationed. Please contact me if anyone knows the address. My dad passed away recently, but he left may pic he took on the Savo Island I MISS MY DAD !!!!
16. Phil morgan says:
1 Nov 2016 01:25:35 PM

My father served on the uss Wright until pearl Harbor then the use savory island for most of the war in the Pacific. Never talked about until I survived the bombing in Lebanon. We were already pretty close but that made us brothers. He is 95 and alive and well and still my hero..Anybody that knew him and still around, please let me know. Thank you to the greatest generation for preserving the freedom we enjoy today.
17. Bob Hancock says:
29 May 2017 10:25:15 PM

My dad served on the USS Savo Island during WWII. His name was Floyd C. Hancock and he passed 11Feb94. If anyone out there remembers my dad I would love to hear from you.
18. Krupski says:
24 Jun 2017 12:12:57 PM

My Grandfather Dominick "Ski" Krupski served aboard USS Savo Island from 1943 to 1946.
He passed away on his birthday in 81' after 30yrs service.
19. Georgia says:
26 Jun 2017 10:17:14 AM

My Dad, George Medeiros served on the Savo Island. He has passed & is buried in the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery.
20. Tim and Tom Vocke says:
22 Jul 2017 03:06:48 PM

Our father flew off the Savo island and was an aviator during the Gulf of Leyte Battle. He passed on 13 April 2017
21. Anonymous says:
25 Jul 2017 04:16:16 AM

My Dad was a machinist in the "pit" on the Savo Island. He developed a sixth sense when it came to sticking his head up to check on the landing planes! He passed in June 2002
22. BobHancock says:
2 Mar 2018 07:03:49 AM

My dad Radar man 3d Class Floyd C. Hancock served in WWII on the US Savo Island. He passed away on 11 Feb 1994 at the age of 73.
23. Kevin Duffy says:
7 Apr 2018 05:49:22 AM

My dad, Ensign Robert Duffy, served on the USS Savo Island after graduating from midshipman school at Columbia University. He passed in May of 2014 at the age of 91.
24. Michael DiGino says:
8 Jan 2019 10:25:16 AM

My dad George DiGino served aboard the USS Savo Island from the time it was commissioned in 1944. When ever i asked him about his time in the south pacific he would always tell me stories about the Savo island." The *** Will Hate The 78" So proud of him.
25. Jonny F. Beddick says:
30 Jan 2019 09:59:09 AM

My Father, John W. Beddick was on the Savo Island in February 1944 as a Coxswain. He retired from the Navy as a Chief Boatswains mate
26. David Denton says:
13 Mar 2019 04:50:01 AM

My father, John Denton, served on the Savo Island during WWII, but I don't know exact dates? Guess about 1944-1945? Enlisted ranks in munitions, I believe.

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More on Savo Island
Event(s) Participated:
» Palau Islands and Ulithi Islands Campaigns
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 2
» Okinawa Campaign

Escort Carrier Savo Island (CVE-78) Photo Gallery
Savo Island underway, date unknownSavo Island wearing camouflage and carrying aircraft, date unknown
See all 3 photographs of Escort Carrier Savo Island (CVE-78)

Famous WW2 Quote
"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."

James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945

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