Thursday, December 6, 2012

Repairs to the USS Curtiss

When Dad returned to Espiritu Santo from work on the Enterprise, one of the ships under repair was the USS Curtiss. This is at least the second time that crews from the Vestal did battle damage repair work on the Curtiss. Just a week after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, Dad was temporarily transferred to the Curtiss, a seaplane tender, to assist with the emergency repairs so the severely damaged ship could safely return to the states for permanent restoration.

Now, in 1942 and into 1943, Curtiss is stationed at Nouméa, New Caledonia, and Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides. While at Espiritu Santo she served as a flagship for Commander, Naval Air, South Pacific, then supported aircraft and repaired warships during the Guadalcanal and Central Solomons campaigns. Now, in need of urgent repairs herself, from December 2-9, she is attended to by crewmen from Vestal. Throughout her repairs, Curtiss continued to tend planes for the squadron that were searching for enemy submarines.

USS Curtiss, 1942
Source: NavSource Online

Launched in 1942, the USS Curtiss was one of the newer ships in the fleet. Curtiss will see service, often as a flagship, throughout the war in the Pacific. She was serving in Okinawa in June 1945, when a kamikaze ripped her hull and exploded on the third deck, killing 35 and wounding 21 of her crew. After the war, Curtiss participated in various assignments, including ferrying atom bombs for nuclear tests at Eniwetok in 1948 and again in 1956. She also saw action in the Korea War. The Curtiss was decommissioned in 1957, and sold for scrap in 1972.

The USS Curtiss received 7 Battle Stars for her WWII service.

Sources: Vestal War Diary, December 1942; Wikipedia

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