Japanese Aircraft Shot Down Over USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71)

Japanese aircraft shot down over USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71). On May 31, 1944 her task unit sortied forth to escort the bombardment and transports units of Task Group 52.17 to Saipan. On June 13 her planes shot down their first enemy aircraft and the next day began the bombing and strafing of enemy positions in the Marianas. Kitkun Bay's planes alternated flying support missions for the Saipan landings and air cover for ships east of this island. Eight enemy planes were splashed in attacks on her formation on June 17 and her own guns downed three more the next day. Early July brought a brief respite at Eniwetok but 14 July she resumed support sorties at Saipan, Tinian, and from August 2-4 at Guam. On October 25, 1944 she was one of the escort carriers of "Taffy 3" (Task Unit 77.4.3) that faced the onslaught of the Japanese Center Force under Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita. She would be hit by a kamikaze that struck the port catwalk killing one and injuring sixteen crewmen. Also, two planes and their crews failed to return after attacking the Center Force. Date estimated.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
National Archives
Date Photographed: 
Tuesday, June 13, 1944