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USS Makin Island file photo [12845]

Makin Island

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassCasablanca-class Escort Carrier
Hull NumberCVE-93
BuilderKaiser Vancouver Shipyard
Laid Down12 Jan 1944
Launched5 Apr 1944
Commissioned9 May 1944
Decommissioned19 Apr 1946
Displacement7,800 tons standard; 10,400 tons full
Length512 feet
Beam65 feet
Draft22 feet
MachineryTwo Skinner, Uniflow engines with two screws
Power Output9,000 shaft horsepower
Speed19 knots
Armament1x5in anti-aircraft gun, 16x40mm guns
Aircraft TypesFM-2 Wildcat fighters (17), TBM-3 Avenger torpedo bombers (8)


ww2dbaseThe United States Navy's naming convention for escort carriers 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 significant US naval engagements. USS Makin Island sort of had a foot in both camps; during her planning stages, the intention was that she would be named USS Woodcliff Bay (CVE-93) but she was renamed Makin Island on 17 December 1943 to commemorate "Carlson's Raiders" daring first ever submarine launched USMC commando style raid on Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands a year earlier.

ww2dbaseUSS Makin Island was the 39th Casablanca-class escort carrier and was commissioned 9 May 1944 at Astoria, Oregon with Commander William B. Whaley in command. A short time later, Commander Whaley's promotion to Captain became effective.

ww2dbaseFollowing an abbreviated west coast shakedown cruise and one trip to and from the Marshall Islands ferrying aircraft, Makin Island returned to San Diego, California, United States. On 10 October 1944, Rear Admiral Calvin T. Durgin broke his Flag aboard Makin Island and began building an Escort Carrier Task Unit that included Makin Island, Lunga Point, Bismarck Sea, Salamaua, and escorts. The Task Unit made training sorties out of San Diego before sailing for Ulithi via Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, arriving 5 November 1944.

ww2dbaseMakin Island and Rear Admiral Durgin's Task Unit spent November protecting convoys in transit to the Leyte invasion beachhead, encountering no enemy resistance. They then sailed to Manus in the Admiralty Islands to prepare for the forthcoming invasion of the Philippine island of Luzon. Makin Island crossed the equator on 26 November 1944 and the ensuing Crossing the Line ceremonies initiated over 800 pollywog officers and crew. Even Rear Admiral Durgin, Captain Whaley, and Composite Squadron 84's commanding officer, Commander Rogers, submitted themselves to the Mystic Rites of the Deep and emerged as Worthy Shellbacks.

ww2dbaseMakin Island left Manus 27 December 1944 to join the invasion force sailing for Lingayen Gulf on western Luzon. The Battle Group was subjected to fierce, almost continuous enemy air attack during the passage to the assault beaches but Makin Island suffered no damage. She spent eleven days off the beachhead flying air support for the amphibious operation and then sailed for Ulithi.

ww2dbaseRear Admiral Durgin flew his flag off Makin Island once more, this time in command of a thirty-six ship Carrier Task Group for the invasion of Iwo Jima. During her three weeks off Iwo Jima, her planes made almost continuous combat sorties, primarily in the close ground support role. Air operations included recovering planes from other carriers that had been damaged while the aircraft were aloft. This included landing five F6F Hellcat fighters from Saratoga after she had been hit by five kamikaze planes within three minutes.

ww2dbaseAfter replenishing at Ulithi, Makin Island sailed for the Okinawa campaign, again as flagship. After just over a month of air sorties in support of the landings on Okinawa, Makin Island’s air squadron, Composite Squadron 84, was replaced with Composite Squadron 91.

ww2dbaseAll together, Makin Island remained on station off Okinawa for 77 days, flying constant fire support, supply, and reconnaissance missions for the ground forces. Relieved 1 June 1945, the carrier sailed for Guam in the Mariana Islands.

ww2dbaseThe layover in Guam allowed for many needed repairs and some wholesale personnel changes. Captain Whaley was relieved and Captain Ira E. Hobbs assumed command. The pilots of Composite Squadron 91 were also relieved and Composite Squadron 41 reported aboard.

ww2dbaseMakin Island sailed again to provide air cover for ships conducting minesweeping and raiding operations in the East China Sea. With war's end, she proceeded to Wakanoura Wan, in southern Honshu, Japan for occupation duty where her planes flew air cover for the evacuation of Allied prisoners of war. She sailed for San Francisco 18 October 1945, returning to Shanghai in November 1945 to return troops to the United States as part of Operation Magic Carpet.

ww2dbaseMakin Island was decommissioned 19 April 1946 at Puget Sound, stricken from the Navy list 11 July 1946, and sold on 1 January 1947.

ww2dbaseMakin Island received five battle stars and a Navy Unit Commendation for her service in World War II.

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
War History of USS Makin Island
Naval Historical Society
Andy York

Last Major Revision: Jun 2011

Escort Carrier Makin Island (CVE-93) Interactive Map


Aerial view of USS Makin Island off Leyte, Philippine Islands, 18 Nov 1944; note lowered forward elevator and FM-2 Wildcat aircraft on the flight deckCrew of USS Makin Island attempted to pull an upended FM-2 Wildcat from the flight deck
See all 19 photographs of Escort Carrier Makin Island (CVE-93)

Makin Island Operational Timeline

7 Dec 1943 The planned escort carrier Woodcliff Bay was renamed Makin Island.
12 Jan 1944 The keel of escort carrier Makin Island was laid down.
5 Apr 1944 Escort carrier Makin Island was launched.
9 May 1944 USS Makin Island was commissioned into service at Astoria, Oregon, United States with Commander William B. Whaley in command.
10 Oct 1944 USS Makin Island became the flagship of Rear Admiral Calvin T. Durgin of an escort carrier task unit.
5 Nov 1944 USS Makin Island arrived at Eniwetok, Marshall Islands.
26 Nov 1944 USS Makin crossed the Equator. In the line cross ceremony, 800 pollywogs, including Rear Admiral Calvin Durgin and Captain William Whaley, were hazed and initiated by shellbacks who had previously crossed the line.
27 Dec 1944 USS Makin Island departed Manus, Admiralty Islands.
1 Jun 1945 USS Makin Island departed Okinawa, Japan area for Guam, Mariana Islands.
18 Oct 1945 USS Makin Island departed Japan for San Francisco, California, United States.
19 Apr 1946 USS Makin Island was decommissioned from service at Puget Sound Navy Yard in Washington, United States.
11 Jul 1946 Escort carrier Makin Island was stricken from the US Naval Register.
1 Jan 1947 Escort carrier Makin Island was sold for scrap.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
7 Oct 2018 11:14:58 AM

Our dad, M.F. Anderson, served on the CVE-93 Makin Island in 1945.
2. Anonymous says:
11 Jan 2019 08:19:05 PM

My father, Vincent ‚Äúzero‚ÄĚ LaCapra served on the Makin Island 1944-45.
3. Matt Carroll says:
24 May 2019 02:01:45 PM

My father, James Wilmont (Bill) Carroll served on this ship in 1944-45. He loved his shipmates.
4. Sharon Mitchel says:
11 Nov 2019 01:43:24 PM

My cousins have a document that shows my dad served on this ship. How can I verify? His name was a Robert L Elliott. He joined the navy July 1945.
5. Donna Enzenauer Bolton says:
23 Jun 2020 09:22:51 AM

My grandfather, Alfred "Ike" Enzenauer was stationed on the USS Makin Islands. When I was very small he had an old annual type book from the ship. Through time I have no idea what happened to that book. How could I find a copy, if one is even available any more?
6. Aaron Sisson says:
26 Jan 2021 06:25:30 AM

My grandpa Willis Sisson was on this ship.

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More on Makin Island
Event(s) Participated:
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 2
» Battle of Iwo Jima
» Okinawa Campaign
» Preparations for Invasion of Japan
» Japan's Surrender

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

Escort Carrier Makin Island (CVE-93) Photo Gallery
Aerial view of USS Makin Island off Leyte, Philippine Islands, 18 Nov 1944; note lowered forward elevator and FM-2 Wildcat aircraft on the flight deckCrew of USS Makin Island attempted to pull an upended FM-2 Wildcat from the flight deck
See all 19 photographs of Escort Carrier Makin Island (CVE-93)

Famous WW2 Quote
"Goddam it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"

Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943

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