At Cape Gloucester, New Guinea [sic -- New Britain, Bismarcks], on 26 November 1943, the 7th Amphibious Force commanded by Rear Admiral D.E. Barbey successfully landed the 1st Marine Division under heavy enemy air attack.
(CVE-109: 11,373; l. 577'1"; b. 75'; ew. 105'2"; dr. 32'; s. 19 k.; cpl. 1,066; a. 2 5"; cl. Commencement Bay)
Cape Gloucester (CVE-109) (name changed from Willapa Bay, 26 april 1944) was launched 12 September 1944 by Todd-Pacific Shipyards, Inc., Tacoma, Wash.; sponsored by Mrs. R.M. Griffin; commissioned 5 March 1945, Captain J.W. Harris in command; and reported to the Pacific Fleet.
After operational training at Pearl Harbor, Cape Gloucester arrived at Leyte, P.I., 29 June 1945 to join the 3d Fleet. Her planes flew combat air patrol, fighting off Japanese suicide planes attempting to attack minesweepers operating east of Okinawa from 5 to 17 July. They then took part in air raids and photographic reconnaissance of shipping and airfields along the China coast until 7 August. During this time, her aircraft shot down several Japanese planes, and aided in damaging a 700-ton cargo ship.
After a period covering minesweeping along the Japanese coasts, and aiding in the recovery of Allied troops from prison camps on Kyushu, Cape Gloucester made four voyages returning servicemen from Okinawa and Pearl Harbor to the west coast. The escort carrier returned to Tacoma, Wash., 22 May 1946, and was placed out of commission in reserve there, 5 November 1946. Still in reserve, she was reclassified CVHE-109 on 12 June 1955, and further reclassified AKV-9 on 7 May 1959.
Cape Gloucester received one battle star for World War II service.