Unit Details

USS Cape Esperance (CVE-88)

NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

(later CVU-88)

Courtesy of Al Grazevich

USN_Units    USN_Units

Courtesy of Gerd Matthes, Germany

Displacement 7,800 Tons, Dimensions, 512' 3" (oa) x 65' 2" x 22' 4" (Max)
Armament 1 x 5"/38AA 8 x 40mm, 12 x 20mm, 27 Aircraft.
Machinery, 9,000 IHP; 2 Skinner, Uniflow engines, 2 screws
Speed, 19 Knots, Crew 860.
(CVE-88: dp. (f)10,400; l. 512'3"; b. 65'2"; ew. 108'1"; dr. 22'6"; s. 20 k.; cpl. 860; a. 1 5"; cl. Casablanca)

Off Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal, at midnight on 11-12 October 1942, an American task force commanded by Rear Admiral Norman Scott defeated a Japanese force under Rear Admiral A. Goto, which was attemping to reinforce Guadalcanal.Cape Esperance (CVE-88) (name changed from Tananek Bay on 6 November 1943) was launched 3 March 1944 by Kaiser Co., Inc., Vancouver, Wash., under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. W. M. McDade; transferred to the Navy 9 April 1944; and commissioned the same day, Captain R. W. Beckius in command.

Assigned to the Pacific Fleet, Cape Esperance made two voyages from the west coast to South Pacific bases between 26 May 1944 and 20 September, carrying new aircraft out, and returning with planes needing repairs. Loaded with combat-ready aircraft, she sailed from San Francisco 5 October to join TG 30.8 on 2 November in its support of 3d Fleet air strikes on Leyte and Luzon. From her decks replacement aircraft roared off to the operating carriers, ready to take their part in pounding the Japanese out of the Philippines. Continuing to operate from Ulithi and Guam through January, Cape Esperance carried fresh aircraft to the far-ranging TF 38 for its strikes on Japanese air bases on Formosa and the China coast. In February the escort carrier returned to the west coast to load new aircraft which she carried to Guam. This was the first of a series of such voyages in which she brought to the western Pacific a large number of the aircraft which roared over Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the Japanese home islands in the massive carrier raids of the war's last months.At the close of the war, Cape Esperance sailed from San Diego to Pearl Harbor, returning to San Francisco 11 September 1945 with aircraft and passengers. She made similar voyages until decommissioned and placed in reserve at Bremerton, Wash., 22 August 1946.



Recommissioned 5 August 1950, Cape Esperance reported to the Military Sea Transportation Service for duty as an aircraft transport. During the next 9 years, she cruised widely in the Pacific, delivering aircraft to Japan for use in the Korean conflict, supporting atomic tests at Eniwetok, and making two voyages to bring aircraft to the Royal Thai Air Force at Bangkok. In 1952, she sailed to Hong Kong, to evacuate Chinese Nationalist aircraft in danger of seizure by the Chinese Communists.

Reclassified CVU-88 on 12 June 1955, Cape Esperance made her first transatlantic crossing in 1956 to ferry aircraft to and from Italy, France, and Portugal. Returning to the Pacific under an operating schedule that found her almost constantly at sea, Cape Esperance carried aircraft to Pakistan later in 1956. She continued to make as many as eight transpacific voyages in a year, supporting forces of the United States and Southeast Asia Treaty Organization countries in protecting the free nations of the Far East. Cape Esperance was decommissioned 15 January 1959, and sold 14 May 1959.

Cape Esperance received two battle stars for World War II service.

Click On Image 
For Full Size Image
Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
World War 2
145k USS Cape Esperance (CVE-88) underway, circa 1945. USN photo. Robert Hurst
1.67M "War Cruise of the U.S.S. Cape Esperance CVE-88," commissioning–May 1946. USN. Robert Hurst
Korea—The 1950s
406k USS Cape Esperance (CVE-88) raising the flag as the ship is recommissioned for Korean War service, at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, 5 August 1950. Members of the color detail are (from left to right): Quartermaster First Class Howard L. Foley, USNR; Seaman Bobby G. Young, USN; Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Alva L. Dixon, USN; Seaman Apprentice Raymond E. Garcia, USN; and Seaman Cesar C. Abrajano, USN.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the All Hands collection at the Naval History & Heritage Command (# NH 97005). Courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
50k Undated, showing her deck crammed with aircraft. USN
102k Cape Esperance in the 1950s, as a T-CVU (Utility Carrier civilian manned by the Military Sea Transportation Service). She is carrying Navy Banshees and Skyraiders and has been stripped of guns and all but navigational radar. Not long afterwards the Casablanca-class were replaced as aircraft transports by Bogue-class ships, more economical to operate. Robert Hurst
191k USNS Cape Esperance (T-CVE 88) underway en-route to Korea carrying six Air Force F-84E Thunderjets, two North American F-86 Sabres, eight North American LT-6G Texans, four Lockheed F-80C Shooting Stars, four Navy Grumman F6F-5K Hellcats and five De Havilland Canada L-20 Beaver liaison aircraft. The LT-6Gs were used by the USAF for battlefield surveillance and forward air control duties over Korea. The F6F-5K drones were used by Guided Missile Unit 90 to carry a single 2,000 lb bomb to attack bridges in Korea, flying from USS Boxer (CV-21). They were radio-controlled from an escorting AD Skyraider.Note single 5" gun aft.National Naval Aviation Museum photo (# 1996.488.034.014). Robert Hurst
287k "The first shipment of light bombers to be transferred to Thailand under the Mutual Defense Program. These SB2C Curtiss Hell Divers [and SNJ Texans] spotted on the flight deck of the USS Cape Esperance (CVE-88) arrive at Bangkok, Thailand for further transfer."Official U.S. Navy Photograph # 708240, dated 1 June 1951.US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum, Photo No. 1996.488.166.039. Robert L. Lawson Photograph Collection. Mike Green
187k USNS Cape Esperance (T-CVU 88) at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, with a cargo of Navy and Air Force aircraft during the mid-1950s. Aircraft visible on her flight deck include AD Skyraider attack planes, F2H Banshee fighters and at least one U.S. Air Force F-100 Super Sabre.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command (# NH 52441). Naval History & Heritage Command via Robert Hurst
105k USNS Cape Esperance ferrying aircraft, exact date and location unknown. Gerhard Mueller‑Debus

Commanding Officers
Name/Rank Class Final Rank Dates
Early, Alexander Rieman, CAPT   RADM 10/14/43 - 02/25/45
Levin, Richard Benjamin., CDR     02/25/45 - 07/17/45
Ihrig, Russell Million, CAPT   RADM 07/17/45 - 05/18/46
Quarles, Stanley F., CDR 1932   05/18/46 - 12/04/46
Lowndes, William R., CDR     12/04/46 - 03/07/47
Decommissioned     03/07/47 - 06/15/56
Mauro Jr., Charles Thomas, CAPT     05/15/56 - 08/08/57
Brumby Jr., Frank Hardeman, CAPT     08/08/57 - 06/04/58
Smith, Charles Hubert, CAPT   RADM 06/04/58 - 07/29/59
Savidge, Paul Sheppard, CAPT   RADM 07/29/59 - 02/12/60
Baumberger, Walter Harlen, CAPT   VADM 02/12/60 - 11/07/60
Reich, Eli Thomas, CAPT   VADM 11/07/60 - 12/01/61
Irvine, Robert Klink (Rab), CAPT     12/01/61 - 01/19/63
Soballe, Verner Jensen, CAPT     01/19/63 - 02/01/64
Carrison, Daniel Jordan, CAPT     02/01/64 - 12/11/64
Woods, Mark William, CAPT   RADM 12/11/64 - 06/18/66
Rosenberg, Edwin Miller, CAPT   RADM 06/18/66 - 08/09/67
Compton, Oliver Doty, CAPT     08/09/67 - 11/23/68
Bagley, Worth Harrington, CAPT   ADM 11/23/68 - 09/20/69
Wettroth, John Richard, CDR     09/20/69 - 10/02/69