February 21st 1945
Just before the sunset,
we were attacked by enemy aircraft. Macabre and effective, sparked by a powerful propaganda campaign, the Imperial Air Forces
newly-organized Special Attack Corps (Kamikaze Corps) constituted the last play of a nation facing suicide. At the time the
suiciders closed on the ANZIO, she was cruising in formation just prior to separating for the night
to stalk submarines. Bogies first appeared at 1707 hours, at which time General Quarters and a air defense disposition was
ordered. At 1825 hours, they were reported again. Twenty Four minutes later, the group was attacked by five Japanese planes
which zoomed in low over the water on the ANZIOS starboard hand.
On the horizon could
be seen the glow from the carrier SARATOGA, who had sustained several kamikaze crash-dives. Bearing the brunt of
the attack on the CVE’s were the LUNGA POINT and BISMARCK SEA. One of the Japanese careened
into the sea near the LUNGA POINT; another hit her flight deck, set fire to couchant planes and ricocheted into the sea off
port. Two kamikazes picked the BISMARCK SEA, and though one missed its mark, the other slashed into the escort carriers
after parts. Explosion after explosion followed until, gutted and blistered, the USS BISMARCK SEA heeled over on her side
and sank. A fifth plane moved in on the ANZIO about sixty feet above the water, but it was turned away by the barrage
of anti-aircraft we were slinging at it. And was seen shot down by a destroyer escort.
After a short breather,
more bogies appeared on the radar screen and between 1918 and 1948 the disposition opened fire on unidentified planes. But
there were no further attacks by the Japanese for that day.
February 23rd 1945
Four groups of unidentified
planes approached the same formation. While the disposition twisted evasively in emergency turns, the bogies wheeled around
in the sky looking for an opening. At 1936 hours, a single-engine fighter apparently found one and flew in astern toward the
ANZIO, aftermost carrier in the formation. But once again our barrage of anti-aircraft
fire paid off turning him back at least 2,000 yards before our carrier.
February 26th 1945
At 0200 hours Lieutenant
JG W. J. Wilson, USNR, investigating a radar contact and closed a diving submarine. He pressed home a depth bomb attack about
150 yards ahead of the swirl and was rewarded by a great roar of an underwater explosion. And the roar was a hit and sinking
of a 965-ton Japanese submarine RO-43
February 27th 1945
At 0304 hours Lieutenant
JG F. M. Fay made radar contact and closed to recognize an “I” type submarine on the surface. The enemy dove as
he broke through the clouds to drop flares and remained over the contact. Four minutes later he sighted periscope and conning
tower rising near a float light. This time he came from astern, but the enemy dove on him again. He maneuvered for one more
run, and dropped a depth charge about 100 yards ahead of the swirl. Within a minute a 30 foot geyser shot up from the resulting
explosion and sinking of the 1,470-ton Japanese submarine I-368
From February 19th
– March 4th
1945 the USS ANZIO stuck to her schedule of launching
her first flight just before sunset, and landing her last just before dawn. During this timeframe she completed 106 sorties,
with 657.5 hours of night flight without a single launching or landing accident. The ANZIOS aircraft inflicted severe damage
on Iwo Jimas command posts, trenches, block houses, and gun positions. We did lose a Wildcat fighter plane and pilot in combat,
and one Avenger lost operationally.
April 6th 1945
As the tempo of Japanese
suicide counter-attacks rose, the lot of the U. S. Navy at Okinawa grew progressively worse. A group
of ANZIO fighter planes were sent out to help the COLHOUN, who was caught in the
thick of it. Returning later with a tally of seven downed Japanese planes.
April 9th 1945
at Kerama Retto we got out just before the enemy executed a fierce aerial jab at the anchorage.
April 16th 1945
A section of ANZIO fighters intercepted enemy planes closing on their ship, but the Japs had a speed advantage over the hellcats and
were able to escape to safety.
The ANZIO had her share of heroes. As leading chief of the escort carrier’s ordinance crew, Roy D. Gibson had the responsibility
of seeing that the dangerous task of loading Avengers with ammunition was carried off without mishap. Once the planes were
armed and ready for takeoff his work was over, but he still liked watching the planes soar safely away on their mission. This
particular day Gibson was standing on the catwalk next to the catapult, watching Squadron Thirteen’s Grumman aircraft
being dispatched. They were taking off like clock-work, each thrown after the other, skidding a little, then banking and climbing
to the right, chasing the one ahead to the rendezvous point. Into position went the last plane. It’s pilot gunned the
motor to maximum turn-over, braced his head firmly against the cockpit’s headrest to absorb the shock of the initial
impetus. At a signal from the catapult Officer the plane shot off the flight deck, took a sickening dip towards the water
and slowly pulled itself aloft. But the force of the catapult had yanked off its gasoline-filled fire bomb, which lay alive
on deck. Without hesitation Gibson darted into action, making a bee-line for the bomb he fumbled with it, ignoring the burns
he was receiving from the phosphorus external igniter, he successfully removed the internal fuse. Gibson then tossed the detonator
overboard like a hot potato, then assisted in the removal of the bomb from the flight deck. Later, Gibson would be awarded
the Navy and Marine Corps medal, accompanied by a citation which concluded with: “By his quick-witted and courageous
act in the face of great danger to himself, he saved many persons from the possibility of death or serious injury, and the
ship from the possibility of serious damage. His conduct was in keeping with the highest tradition of the United States Naval
April 30th 1945
Repairs to the ANZIO’s rudder bearing was a must, so she returned to Ulithi. There necessary repairs were effected, fuel and provisions
taken aboard and her dazzle paint covered over with Navy gray.
May 18th 1945
The ANZIO departs for the Trukyus, three days later resuming anti-submarine warfare operations in the Okinawa area with her five destroyer escorts.
May 27th 1945
With her part in
the Okinawa campaign ending today, this is the toll the ANZIO
had taken on Japanese surface craft.
29 suicide boats
20 landing craft
1 500 tonner
also had bombed and
rocketed well-camouflaged enemy strong-points on Okinawa, and had had incurred the loss of only two of their number.
May 28th 1945
With her task group’s
designation changed to 30.7, the ANZIO went under Admiral Halsey’s direct control, began a series of anti-submarine
warfare sweeps southeast of Okinawa.
May 31st 1945
Lieutenant (JG) S.
L. Stovall USNR got things off to a propitious start with a submarine kill. At 00436 hour he Picked up a radar pip on the
last leg of a 5-1/2 hour search. Alerting the task group, he maneuvered into position, attacked an “I” class Nip
pig-boat as it hurriedly submerged. Relief planes spotted an oil slick a half hour later, as well as deck planking, cork,
and Nip light bulbs spotted in the water. This confirmed kill was on the 1,470-ton Japanese submarine I-361.
– June 15th
1945 the ANZIO
was doing non stop flight schedules. She had planes in the air every minute of the day, round-the-clock, minus three momentary
breaks. Once for bad weather, and twice for fueling. It was while she was proceeding with these routine movements southeast
of Okinawa that the ANZIO was selected to carry
out some Halsey trickery, formally called deception radio traffic. Essentially the plan involved the transmission of messages
skillfully designed to give the appearance of those sent from Halsey’s own flagship. From the third fleet Commander’s
flag complement, the ANZIO was given a radioman (monitors readily recognize one operator’s
style from another). And on June 11th 1945 the ANZIO’s radio began sending out the fake messages. As far as they were concerned Admiral Halsey was still at large
off the Empire’s southernmost home island. Thus was Captain Montgomery’s escort carrier left as a bait from Kyushu-based
aircraft, inviting attack either if her deception was successful or if it was discovered. USS ANZIO had relieved the whole
U.S. Task Force 38. Then the ANZIO ruptured her aviation gasoline tanks. The rest of the day they worked
to fix the leaks, but it became apparent that it was more serious then they had at first thought. This promptly brought to
a close her false broadcasting, and she set course with her task group for Leyte.
July 6th 1945
Put in first class
condition by the San Pedro repairman, the ANZIO left accompanied by the destroyer escorts, headed for rendezvous about 600
miles due east of Tokyo. This sub-fighting group was to fight the remainder of the Pacific war under the designation Task
Group 30.6. Arriving at the prescribed location, the ANZIO went to work scouring
the sea off Honahu to obviate any underwater attempt on Halsey’s vulnerable logistic fleet.
July 10th 1945
There ensued the
spectacular “Month of Fire” raids on Japanese home islands with Halsey beginning his skyward siege of Honshu , and then thundering north to plaster Hokkaido.
July 16th 1945
At 0737 hour Avenger
pilot Lieutenant (JG) William M. McLane, USNR, honed in on a radar contact and sighted the silhouette of a fully surfaced
submarine. His gun and rockets blasted a hole below the conning tower at the water line of the enemy who commenced a shallow
dive. As the plane overshot for a second attack causing him to miss the submarine by some 70 and 100 feet respectively. He
pressed home a third attack and now an oil slick trailed from the submerged enemy. Then Lieutenant Rex W. Nelson brought in
his ANZIO plane into the fray pressing home a depth bomb attack which caused the
oil slick to stop moving, and started bringing debris to the surface. Thus killing the 2400-ton Japanese submarine I-13. It
was during this time that the ANZIO made the closest approach of any combat CVE to Tokyo prior to the surrender, at one time streaming within 241 miles of Honchu. Generally everyone kept clear of Honshu by some 500 miles.
August 10th 1945
Rumors had been trickling
in to the ANZIO that Japan was ready to give up the ghost. For five long nerve-wracking days a nervous watch was kept waiting for developments
in the radio shack.
August 15th 1945
At two minutes past
0800 in the morning ANZIO sailors were hustling topside for muster at General Quarters and physical
drill. They were met with an announcement from the bridge: “President Truman has announced that the Japanese have accepted
Allied counter proposal on the surrender terms without qualifications!” With the dam of mixed hope and anxiety thus
broken, a deluge of joy was heard across the ANZIO flight deck. Amid the
Mardi Gras like atmosphere, one of the crewman masqueraded as a Japanese militarist, the rest of the crew hanging him from
the bridge in mock gravity. The masquerader with a sign hung around his neck which read “WE REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR”
Below is the course of the USS CORAL SEA/USS
ANZIO CVE 57 1943-1946
Launched as U.S.S. Coral Sea - May, 1943
Vancouver to Astoria - Aug. 14th, 1943
Placed in commission - Aug. 27th, 1943
Astoria to Seattle - Sept. 24th, 1943
Seattle to San Francisco - Oct. 2nd – Oct. 5th, 1943
San Francisco to San Diego - Oct.
6th – Oct. 8th ,
Take off and landing rehearsal till Oct. 15th, 1943
San Diego to Pearl Harbor - Oct. 25th - Oct.
Pearl Harbor to Makin Atoll - Nov. 10th – Nov. 20th, 1943
Gilbert Island to Pearl Harbor - Nov. 28th – Dec. 5th,
Pearl Harbor to San Francisco - Dec. 8th – Dec. 14th, 1943
San Francisco to Pearl Harbor -Dec. 22nd – Dec. 28th, 1943
Pearl Harbor to Kwajalein - Jan. 22nd – Jan. 31st, 1944
Marshall Islands to Pearl Harbor -Feb. 24th – Mar. 3rd,
Pearl Harbor to Tulagis Bay-Mar. 11th –Mar. 21st, 1944
Tulagi to Hollandia – Apr. 16th
– May 7th, 1944
Hollandia to New Hebrides – May 7th – May 12th,
Espiritu Santo to Kwajalein – Jun. 2nd – Jun.
Kwajalein to Marianas – Jun. 10th – Jun.
Marianas to Pearl Harbor – Jul.23rd – Aug. 2nd, 1944
Pearl Harbor to San Diego – Aug. 2nd – Aug. 9th, 1944
San Diego to Pearl Harbor – Sep.16th – Sep.
Name changed to U.S.S. ANZIO – Oct. 10th, 1944
Pearl Harbor to Eniwetok Atoll – Oct. 16th – Oct. 25th, 1944
Typhoon Dec. 18th, 1944 arrived
Ulithi – Dec. 25th, 1944
Operations off Luzon – Dec. 25th 1944 – Jan. 28th, 1945
Back to Ulithi – Jan. 28th, 1945
Ulithi to Eniwetok – Feb. 2nd – Feb. 6th, 1945
Operations (Iwo Jima area) Feb. 19th – Mar. 7th, 1945
Iwo Jima area to San Pedro Bay–Mar. 7th – Mar. 12th, 1945
Operations 4–6 hundred miles off Japan till Aug. 19th, 1945
Entered Guam – Aug. 22nd, 1945
Guam to Okinawa –
Aug.29th – Sep. 3rd,
Okinawa to Korea – Sep. 3rd – Sep. 10th, 1945
Korea to Okinawa – Sep. 10th – Sep.
Okinawa to San Francisco – Sep. 19th – Sep.
S.F. to P.H. and back then shanghai on Dec. 1st, 1945
Shanghai to Seattle arriving Dec. 23rd, 1945
Seattle to Norfolk VA via
the Panama Canal Jan. 18th, 1946
Decommissioned Aug. 5th, 1946
Redesignated CVHE-57 June 15th, 1955
Struck from Navy List – Mar. 1st, 1959
Sold to the Master Metals Co. – Nov. 24th, 1959
below is the ships specifications
Draft: 20 feet
feet 2 inches
19.3 knots new
860 officers and men
one – 5 inch .38 caliber gun, sixteen 40 mm, twenty 20 mm, plus smaller AA guns.
DECOMMISSIONED: Aug., 1946
RESTENCILLED: Apr. 3rd, 1950 - for helicopter pad in Korean War (Jun. 12th, 1955)
TOTAL DISTANCE STEAMED: 090,052 nautical miles