Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division • Washington

USS Block Island (CVE-21)

(CVE-21: dp. 7800; l. 465' 8"; b. 111' 6"; dr. 26'; s. 18 k.; cpl. 890; a. 2 5"; cl. Bogue)

The first Block Island (ACV-21) was launched 6 June 1942 by Seattle- Tacoma Shipbuilding Corp., Seattle, Wash., under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. H. B. Hutchinson, wife of Commander Hutchinson; transferred to the Navy 1 May 1942; and commissioned 8 march 1943, Captain L. C. Ramsey in command. Originally classified AVG-21, she became ACV-21, 20 August 1942, and CVE-21, 15 July 1943.

Departing San Diego in May 1943 Block Island steamed to Norfolk, Va., to join the Atlantic Fleet. After two trips from New York to Belfast, Ireland, during the summer of 1943 with cargoes of Army fighters, she operated as part of a hunter-killer team. During her four anti- submarine cruises Block Island's planes sank two submarines: U-220 in 487º53' N., 33º30' W., 28 October 1943 and U-1059 in 13º10' N., 33º44' W., 19 March 1944. She shared the credit with Corry (DD-453) and Bronstein (DE-189) for the sinking of U-801 in 16º42' N., 30º20' W., 17 March 1944 and with Buckley (DE-51) for U-66 sunk 6 May 1944 in 17º17' N., 32º29' W. Three of Block Island's escorts, Thomas (DE-102), Bostwick (DE-103), and Bronstein sank U-709 on 1 March 1943 and the same day Bronstein got U- 603.

At 2013, 29 May 1944, Block Island was torpedoed by U-549 which had slipped undetected through her screen. The German submarine put one and perhaps two more torpedoes into the stricken carrier before being sunk herself by the avenging Eugene E. Elmore (DE-686) and Ahrens (DE-575) of the screen in 31º13' N., 23º03' W.

Block Island received two battle stars for her service.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey (patrick@akamail.com)