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Petrof Bay file photo [6801]

Petrof Bay

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassCasablanca-class Escort Carrier
Hull NumberCVE-80
BuilderKaiser Vancouver Shipyard
Laid Down15 Oct 1943
Launched5 Jan 1944
Commissioned18 Feb 1944
Decommissioned31 Jul 1946
Displacement7,800 tons standard; 10,400 tons full
Length512 feet
Beam108 feet
Draft22 feet
MachineryTwo Skinner, Uniflow engines with two screws
Power Output9,000 shaft horsepower
Speed19 knots
Armament1x5in anti-aircraft guns, 8x40mm guns, 12x20mm guns
Aircraft TypesFM-2 Wildcat fighters (16), TBM-1C Avenger torpedo bombers (12)


ww2dbaseThe naming convention for Escort Carriers in the United States Navy was to use names of sounds and bays of the United States; although many CASABLANCA-class Escort Carriers followed the convention for fleet carriers and were named for famous USN naval battles. Escort Carrier PETROF BAY (CVE-80) was named for a bay in Alaska on the west side of Kuiu Island. The bay was named in 1924 for U.S. Census Bureau employee Ivan Petrof, whose reports of his travels in the late 1800s are a valuable source of Alaska history for that period.

ww2dbaseUSS PETROF BAY was commissioned 18 February 1944 at Astoria, Oregon, Capt. Joseph L. Kane in command.

ww2dbaseThe primary mission of the Escort Carriers early in the war was as aircraft ferries. PETROF BAY made one trip to the Pacific combat area as an aircraft ferry and before returning to San Francisco, she delivered replacement aircraft to Task Force 58 on their way to strike Truk.

ww2dbaseAs the role of Escort Carriers was shifting, PETROF BAY prepared for combat and embarked Composite Air Squadron 76, made up of 16 FM-2 Wildcat fighters and 12 TBM-1C Avenger torpedo bombers. She sailed from San Diego, California and anchored in Tulagi Harbor, Solomon Islands, the afternoon of 24 August 1944.

ww2dbasePart of the Third Fleet, PETROF BAY sortied toward Peleliu in the southern Palau Islands to support the Marine landings. Over a two week period, PETROF BAY planes bombed and strafed the Japanese positions 13 out of the 14 days, while also searching for enemy shipping, planes, and submarines.

ww2dbaseIn October 1944, PETROF BAY sailed once again; this time toward Leyte Gulf to support the Army's landings there. On the day MacArthur waded ashore, PETROF BAY launched 40 air sorties in support of the landings. That night, she was reassigned to join five other CVEs and eight supporting destroyers & destroyer escorts into Task Unit 77.4.1 - radio call sign: "Taffy One." Along with two other similarly configured "Taffys" they formed Task Group 77.4 and took positions off Leyte's eastern coast; Taffy One to the south, Taffy Two in the middle, and Taffy Three to the north. For three days, all carriers, including PETROF BAY, launched aircraft in support of the landings while the Task Group's northern flank was protected by Admiral Halsey's Task Force 34.

ww2dbaseBy dawn of 25 October 1944, Halsey had moved his Task Force far to the north in pursuit of Admiral Ozawa's decoy Northern Force and Admiral Kurita's formidable Center Force had completed its daring nighttime transit of the San Bernardino Strait. Kurita was bearing down on the northernmost collection of CVEs, Taffy Three - the most "David and Goliath" match-up since David and Goliath.

ww2dbaseWhen Kurita's force was sighted, Ernest Evans, the Captain of the US destroyer USS JOHNSTON, acting without orders, attacked the vastly superior Japanese force and the Battle off Samar was joined. Taffy Three commander, Admiral "Ziggy" Sprague, sent several radio signals pleading for support. By this time, Halsey was too far away to help and the only real help available were the aircraft from the other Taffys.

ww2dbaseAll carriers from Taffy One and Taffy Two, including PETROF BAY, launched planes to support Taffy Three. Two special strikes from PETROF BAY hit the enemy while Taffy Three was actually under attack. During the two strikes, PETROF BAY's pilots claimed: one probable hit on YAMATO, two probable hits on NAGATO, two on KONGO and one on an unidentified cruiser, plus strafing runs on YAMATO, the cruisers, and destroyers.

ww2dbasePETROF BAY launched a final strike to search for and attack the enemy then in retreat. After rendezvousing with other planes from the CVEs, the flight proceeded to San Bernardino Strait where it found and attacked a cruiser of the MOGAMI class, scoring two torpedo hits and one probable hit.

ww2dbaseOn 26 October, the only remaining Japanese force within range of the CVE planes was one light cruiser and four destroyers sighted in the Visayan Sea. PETROF BAY launched torpedo planes to participate in a strike against the five ships.

ww2dbaseWhile her planes hit enemy ships, PETROF BAY fought off attacking Japanese land-based planes. The ship remained at General Quarters for 108 hours as she fought off persistent bombing and torpedo attacks. The Japanese also introduced the aerial suicide attacks during this battle, including multiple kamikaze attempts against PETROF BAY.

ww2dbasePETROF BAY survived the battle and remained in full service. Throughout November, December, and into mid-January of 1945, PETROF BAY and the planes of Composite Squadron 76 patrolled the shipping lanes around Leyte and, later, Manila. In late January, PETROF BAY supported the Lingayen Gulf landings with raids against the San Narciso and San Antonio areas on Luzon's west coast.

ww2dbaseAs January turned to February in 1945, the objective became Iwo Jima. As the fleet began shelling the island, planes from PETROF BAY began strafing and bombing attacks. Planes from PETROF BAY supported the Marine landings and furnished the troops with air support during the operation, making 786 air sorties.

ww2dbaseFollowing Iwo Jima, after 5-and-a-half months of intense combat, Composite Squadron 76 disembarked PETROF BAY at Guam and Composite Squadron 93 replaced them, just in time for the more intense campaign for Okinawa.

ww2dbaseAs Marines landed, PETROF BAY's new squadron got its first taste of combat during strikes supporting the Okinawa operation. Anti-aircraft fire was exceptionally heavy and accurate. Thereafter, she launched near-daily strike groups, patrols and special missions for two months until late May. During the Okinawa operation, PETROF BAY's combat air patrols shot down 17 enemy planes.

ww2dbaseOn 26 May 1945, PETROF BAY started her hopscotch journey stateside. After a general overhaul at San Pedro, California, she sailed to rejoin the fleet; but the day after sailing, Japan accepted the terms of surrender.

ww2dbaseThe carrier proceeded to Tokyo Bay, returning to the States 11 October as part of Operation Magic Carpet with veterans of the Pacific war. PETROF BAY transported another group of veterans before transiting the Panama Canal and steaming up the eastern seaboard, eventually arriving at Boston, Massachusetts. PETROF BAY was placed out of commission on 31 July 1946 to be sold for scrap.

ww2dbasePETROF BAY received five battle stars for World War II service:

ww2dbaseP30: Western Caroline Islands Operation
   P30-2: Capture and occupation of southern Palau Islands (Peleliu)
P31: Leyte Operation
   P31-1: Leyte Landings
   P31-8: Battle off Samar
P32: Luzon Operation
   P32-1: Lingayen Gulf Landings (San Narciso & San Antonio)
P33: Iwo Jima Operation
P33-3: Bombardments of Iwo Jima
P34: Okinawa Gunto Operation
   P34-1: Assault on Okinawa

ww2dbaseSources: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval Historical Society, Navsource, Wikipedia, Petrof Bay website, Hyperwar, Escort Carrier WWII by Rick Cline.

Last Major Revision: Nov 2008

Escort Carrier Petrof Bay (CVE-80) Interactive Map


USS Petrof Bay plankowner’s certificate, 18 Feb 1944USS Petrof bay on her shakedown cruise, 18 Mar 1944
See all 11 photographs of Escort Carrier Petrof Bay (CVE-80)

Petrof Bay Operational Timeline

15 Oct 1943 The keel of future escort carrier Petrof Bay was laid down at the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vancouver, Washington, United States.
5 Jan 1944 Petrof Bay was launched at the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vancouver, Washington, United States.
18 Feb 1944 Escort carrier USS Petrof Bay (CVE-80) was commissioned with Captain Joseph L. "Paddy" Kane in command.
15 Sep 1944 Escort carrier USS Petrof Bay launched her first strikes in support of the US Marine landings on Peleliu, Palau Islands. Petrof Bay and Composite Squadron 76 launched 112 strikes over 14 days in support of this operation.
31 Jul 1946 USS Petrof Bay was decommissioned from service at the Boston Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Gene Toler says:
22 Aug 2017 02:13:29 PM

My dad served aboard the U.S.S. Petrof Bay 1944-1945. He turned 90 on March 16th.
2. Aidan says:
6 Jul 2018 10:39:31 AM

I recently obtained a model of a FM-2 or F4F-4 Wildcat that served aboard USS Petrof Bay in 1945, squadron VC-93, plane identification 93 White 6. I am curious as to whom flew this particular aircraft. If anyone knows, please let me know.
3. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
6 Jul 2018 07:03:26 PM

Aidan (above):
First, the fighters assigned to Petrof Bay and VC-93 were all FM-2 Wildcats built by Eastern Motors. Second, unlike shore-based aviation squadrons, carrier-borne air groups could not afford the luxury of assigning individual planes to individual pilots. Normally, pilots were assigned different planes for every flight based on where the planes were spotted on the deck. This was especially true on the smaller carriers like Petrof Bay. With that said, the model you have most likely represents a plane flown by many members of VC-93 rather than any one pilot.
4. Jerry fraser says:
21 Aug 2018 06:10:28 PM

My father Joesph Carol Fraser served aboard as a hospital corpsman. Two areas on a war era ship that was air conditioned was hospital and caption quarters. He spoke of being able to sleep in hospital on hot nights.
5. Michael C. Keays says:
30 Aug 2018 06:51:07 PM

My grandfather, Carl Weaver, served on the Petrof Bay in the mail room. He was able to attend a reunion of crew members months before he passed away. He and the men on that ship will always be heroes in my book.
6. Sarah Schmidt says:
2 Jan 2019 12:32:09 AM

My grandfather Sherman Schmidt served on the Petrof Bay, he was only 16 when he joined. He talked about painting the ship and having to tie himself to the ship with rope during the storm's due to the waves.
7. Michael Keating says:
20 Jan 2020 12:56:13 PM

My Dad Frank Keating Boatswain's Mate 1st class served on Petrof Bay during all major operations. He passed several years ago and never really talked about his war experiences, other than the total violence of the kamakazi attacks.
8. Anonymous says:
4 Apr 2020 06:20:32 PM

My Dad, Cecil Herring, served on the Petrof Bay as a SC1 (which I believe stands for Ship’s Cook 1st Class). He didn’t talk much about the war either, in fact very little. He passed away in 1989. I’m hoping to find out more about his time on the ship by someone who perhaps knew him. A long shot, I know, but never hurts to try, right? Thanks!
9. Robert B. Moore says:
6 Apr 2020 06:24:28 PM

My dad, CDR. Robert B. Moore was assigned to the USS Petrof Bay as XO, I believe as a plank owner. He had been on the USS Independence, which had been torpedoed. So, he was assigned to this ship. The CO was Captain "Patty" Cane. He was on it until the end of the war, I am pretty sure. I know he was on it for the Iwo Jima landing.
10. Tom West says:
25 May 2020 03:54:49 PM

My dad, Clarence E. West, was never part of the crew at sea but transferred to the ship in Boston as a Quartermaster 2nd class summer of 1946 to help in de-commissioning just before his discharge at age 20.

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More on Petrof Bay
Event(s) Participated:
» Palau Islands and Ulithi Islands Campaigns
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 2
» Battle of Iwo Jima
» Okinawa Campaign

» US Aircraft Carrier Functions
» US Aircraft Carrier Operational Status By Month
» US Carrier Time Operational

Related Books:
» Escort Carrier WW II

Escort Carrier Petrof Bay (CVE-80) Photo Gallery
USS Petrof Bay plankowner’s certificate, 18 Feb 1944USS Petrof bay on her shakedown cruise, 18 Mar 1944
See all 11 photographs of Escort Carrier Petrof Bay (CVE-80)

Famous WW2 Quote
"Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue."

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, 16 Mar 1945

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