Unit Details

USS Sitkoli Bay (CVE-86)

NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

USS SITKOH BAY   (CVE-86)
(later CVU-86 and AKV-30)


USN_Units USN_Units USN_Units USN_Units 
Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Yankee - Hotel

CLASS - CASABLANCA
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.

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Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
USS Sitkoh Bay, 1944–1946
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150k

Date and place unknown.

Ted Garrett.
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115k

Date and place unknown.

Ted Garrett.
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146k

Lucky Lady (PT-146) alongside USS Sitkoh Bay (CVE-86) trading rides for food.

From the collection of LT(JG) Bill Skade.

Jerry Gilmartin, MMC, USN, Ret.
USN_Units
NS120514606
105k

Lucky Lady (PT-146) departs from USS Sitkoh Bay (CVE-86).

From the collection of LT(JG) Bill Skade.

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NS0308603
69k

Pearl Harbor, 1945.

Ted Garrett.
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82k

Pearl Harbor, 1945. TBMs on deck.

Ted Garrett.
USNS Sitkoh Bay, 1950–1954
USN_Units
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31k

"On July 29, 1950, the Tacoma Naval Station was the scene of the recommissioning of the escort carrier U.S.S. Sitkoh Bay(CVE-86), twenty days after the orders came through to 'take her out of mothballs'. Captain H.B. Butterfield, representing the Commander Pacific Reserve Fleet, read the directive placing the ship in commission. Captain C.W. Lord accepted command of the ship from Captain Butterfield. The Sitkoh Bay, named for a small bay in southeastern Alaska, was originally commissioned in Astoria, Oregon, on March 28, 1944. The escort carrier participated in many engagements during World War II, including Palau, the Philippines, Okinawa, and Japan. The Sitkoh Bay transported a total of 2032 aircraft, 10,716 passengers and traveled 182,618 miles before being decommissioned at the end of the war."

Photo and text courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library.

Bill Gonyo
USN_Units
NS0308605
173k

USNS Sitkoh Bay (T-CVE 86) underway with an assortment of aircraft destined for Korea: TBM Avengers, SNB, R4DSkytrain (aka SkytrooperDakota and "Gooney Bird"), JD (the US Navy target-tug version of the USAAF's A-26C Invader) and F4U Corsairs (USN photo.)

US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum, photo # 1996.488.034.015. Robert L. Lawson Photograph Collection.

Robert Hurst
Larger copy submitted by Mike Green
USN_Units
NS0308609
155k

USNS Sitkoh Bay (T-CVE 86) with a deck load of U.S. Air Force Republic F-84E Thunderjet fighters en route to Japan during the Korean war, August 1951. The aircraft were from the 12th Fighter-Escort Wing, its aircraft going to Korea, whereas the personnel was deployed to Europe.

Photo from Strategic Air Command, by Lindsay T. Peacock.

Robert Hurst
San Francisco to Yokosuka, December 1953
USN_Units
NS0308606
96k

"In December 1953 I was one of approximately 250 USAF personnel being transported to Japan. We were all on board the USS Sitkoh Bay, landing at Yokosuka Navy Base, Japan."

"The church service pic [NS0308606f] reminded me of an incident that sticks in my mind. The elevator was down to the hangar deck and many troops were sitting there watching a movie. I was further toward the bow (not on elevator) when a large wave came crashing over—and into the open elevator. Lots of laughs, but was not so funny to guys that got soaked! They closed the elevator right after that."

"Also, they did some target practice on way over. Put out a target of barrels with a flag and then circled around somewhere (distance not known) and fired the 5" gun [NS0308606d] a few times. I (and probably none of the other AF troops) had never been around such a thing. Wow! What a noise! Can't even imagine what a 16"er must sound like. They then continued the circle and picked up what was left of the 'target'."

(NS0308606bNS0308606c)  Cocooned F-86D's on flight deck.

(NS0308606eNS0308606iNS0308606j)  Pat enjoying the ride on the flight deck.

Black and white photos were taken while in San Francisco and the early part of the voyage. Color slides were taken later.

Pat Souders (TSgt USAF Ret '72)
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96k
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92k
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121k
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145k
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110k
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114k
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142k
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112k
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181k
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124k
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149k
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107k
In "Mothballs"
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113k

Ex-USS Sitkoh Bay (CVE-86), with ex-USS Sicily (CVE-118) moored across the pier, at the Hunters Point (San Francisco Group) Inactive Ship Facility in the mid-1950s. Special attention was paid to the wooden decks of the carriers, and they were periodically sprayed with preservatives. Still, the ravages of weather took their toll. In the foreground are the cruisers ex-USSVincennes (CL-64) and ex-USS Amsterdam (CL-101). Note the metal "igloos" fitted over the ships' light AA mounts.

Robert Hurst
Scott Koen &ussnewyor
>From the “Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships,” 

(1976) Vol. 6, pp.521-522.





SITKOH BAY



CVE-86

Displacement:  7,800 t.

Length:  512’3”

Beam:  65’2”

Extreme Width:  108’1”

Draft:  22’6”

Speed:  19 k.

Complement:  860

Armament: 1 5”; 16 40mm

Aircraft:  28

Class:  CASABLANCA

Maritime Commission standard type:  S4-S2-BB3



	SITKOH BAY (CVE-86), an escort aircraft carrier, was 

converted from a Maritime Commission hull (MC hull 1123) by 

the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., of Vancouver, Washington.  Her 

keel was laid down on 23 November 1943, and she was launched 

on 19 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Kathryn Mullinnix; 

and commissioned at Astoria, Oreg., on 28 March 1944, Capt. 

Robert G. Lockhart, USN, in command.



	She spent the month after commissioning completing her 

fitting out and making short shakedown and trial cruises 

along the northwestern coast of the United States.  On 28 

April, the escort carrier entered port at Alameda, Calif., 

loaded cargo and embarked passengers.  She stood out of 

Alameda on 30 April, bound for Pearl Harbor, and began the 

first of many routine voyages shuttling planes, pilots, and 

aircrewmen back and forth between the front line and rear 

areas.  The majority of her missions carried her from Pearl 

Harbor, or via Pearl Harbor from the California coast, to 

various islands in the southern or central Pacific which 

served as staging areas for the war being waged farther 

north or west.  In the latter part of 1944, her ports of 

call were Majuro in the Marshall Islands, and Manus in the 

Admiralty Islands.  From these two points, planes were 

staged on to the 3d and 7th Fleets, respectively.



	In January 1945, the South Pacific was dropped from 

SITKOH BAY’s itinerary, and she concentrated on replenishing 

the 3d Fleet in the Central Pacific.  Her ports of call 

included Apra Harbor, Guam, in the Marianas; Roi Harbor, Roi 

Island, and Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshalls; and Ulithi 

Atoll in the Western Carolines.  Her missions in early 1945 

were in support of the campaigns in the Philippines, the 

assault on Iwo Jima, and the preparations for the invasion 

of Okinawa.



	SITKOH BAY’s only action came on 7 April 1945 while she 

was delivering Marine Air Group 31 to Okinawa.  At 1528, a 

twin-engined Japanese “Francis” dove at the carrier.  SITKOH 

BAY’s antiaircraft gunners combined with a Marine Corsair 

from BRETON’s (CVE-23) combat air patrol to splash the 

interloper about 100 yards off SITKOH BAY’s port beam.  The 

next day, she cleared the area for Guam en route to Pearl 

Harbor and a return to her replenishment routine.



	After the cessation of hostilities with Japan on 15 

August 1945, SITKOH BAY joined Task Group 30.8, the 

replenishment group for the 3d Fleet, and cruised with it 

off the southeastern coast of Honshu from 25 August until 5 

September.  On 10 September, she entered Eniwetok and 

departed the next day for Guam.  For the next month, she 

made voyages between Guam, Samar Island in the Philippines, 

and Okinawa, returning to Pearl Harbor on 18 October and San 

Diego on the 26th for an availability period.  After further 

voyages to the Central Pacific, SITKOH BAY returned to the 

United States and was placed out of commission, in reserve, 

on 30 November 1946 at Bremerton, Wash.



	On 29 July 1950, SITKOH BAY was recommissioned, Capt. 

C. W. Lord, USN, in command.  She was assigned to the 

Military Sea Transportation Service; and, for the next four 

years, she sailed between the west coast and Japan, 

supporting U. N. forces in Korea.  Her major ports of call 

were San Francisco, San Diego, and Pearl Harbor and Yokohama 

and Yokosuka in Japan.  SITKOH BAY departed from this west 

coast-to-Japan routine three times over those four years.  

In March of 1951, she delivered a load of Bearcat fighters 

(F8Fs) to the French forces at Saigon in French Indochina 

and then visited Manila, P. I., before returning to 

California-to-Japan runs.  In September, she visited Pusan, 

Korea.  SITKOH BAY ventured from her normal sea lanes again 

in May 1952 when she sailed, via Kodiak and Anchorage, 

Alaska, on her way back to San Francisco from Yokosuka.



	The escort carrier ceased operations again in 1954 and 

was placed out of commission, in reserve, on 27 July.  She 

joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet and was berthed at San 

Francisco.  On 12 June 1955, the mothballed escort carrier 

was redesignated a utility aircraft carrier, CVU-86.  In 

mid-March 1958, she changed berthing areas, moving from San 

Francisco to San Diego.  On 1 April 1960, SITKOH BAY, by 

then reclassified as a cargo ship and aircraft ferry, 

AKV-86, was struck from the Navy list.  Her hulk was sold on 

30 August 1960 to Eisenberg & Co., of New York City for 

scrapping.



	SITKOH BAY was awarded three battle stars for World War 

II service and one battle star for Korean War service.





Transcribed by Michael Hansen

mhansen2@home.com