USS Natoma Bay
Natoma Bay earned seven battle stars for her World War II service.
USS Natoma Bay (CVE–62) was a Casablanca class escort carrier of the United States Navy.
She was laid down as Begum (MC hull 1099), on 17 January 1943, by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Inc., Vancouver, Washington, under Maritime Commission contract, named Natoma Bay on 22 January 1943, after a bay in the Graham Islands off the southwest coast of Alaska; launched on 20 July 1943; sponsored by Lady Halifax, wife of the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the United States; and commissioned on 14 October 1943, Captain Harold L. Meadow in command.
After her shakedown cruise off the California coast, Natoma Bay performed aircraft and personnel ferrying duties between San Diego and Hawaii for Commander Fleet Air, West Coast, until 3 January 1944. Then, with squadron VC-63 embarked, she departed San Diego for Pearl Harbor, reporting to ComCarDiv 24, 5th Amphibious Force, on 10 January. On 23 January she sortied with TG 51.2 for the invasion of the Marshalls.
USS NATOMA BAY CVE-62
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Between 31 January and 7 February, as positions on Majuro Atoll were consolidated, CVE–62 furnished anti-submarine and combat air patrols (CAPs) and area searches for the attack force. On 8 February, she extended her operations to Wotje and Maloelap, alternating for the remainder of the month between those islands and Majuro.
Departing Majuro on 7 March, Natoma Bay reached Espiritu Santo on the 12th. Three days later she joined TF 37 for air strikes and surface bombardments against Kavieng, New Ireland, 19 March – 20 March. She then cruised to the north of the Solomons and New Ireland, providing air cover for convoys to and from Emirau where an air base and a limited naval base were being established. During the next three weeks, she continued to cruise in the Solomons-Bismarck Archipelago area in support of the protracted offensive to neutralize the latter and seal off the Japanese fortress at Rabaul.