USS SICILY CVE 118
(Of the Rich & Famous)
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Photos of the USS Sicily CVE 118
The photos above were taken at Roy (BT2) & Dot Turner's place (Eufala, Al.) in October, 2000. Melvin (BT2)Perkins & Delores were there but had to leave early due to Mel being ill. Present in the photos are Herb (BT3) & Evelyn Pierson and Maurie (BT3) Beavers
Maurie Beavers, Willard Kidd & James Gurganus
Orris (BT2) Potts relaxing in his kitchen, Indpls. 2002
Maurie Beavers Arlie S. Beavers WW II
BT2 -1953 USS New Mexico
Me on the USS Wisconsin BB64 May 2001
RL Murphy - Buss and Roy Turner - Collage
Sicily Shipmates 2003 Reunion at Roy Turner's
From the “Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships,” (1976) Vol. 6, pp.498-499.
CVE-118 Displacement: 10,900 t. Length: 557’ Beam: 75’ Extreme Width: 104’ Draft: 31’ Speed: 19 k. Complement: 1,170 Armament: 2 5”; 36 40mm; 18 20mm Class: COMMENCEMENT BAY
SICILY (CVE-118) was laid down on 23 October 1944 by Todd-Pacific Shipyards Inc., Tacoma, Wash., as SANDY BAY; launched on 14 April 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Julius Vanderwiele; renamed SICILY on 5 June 1944; and commissioned on 27 February 1946, Capt. B. W. Wright in command.
SICILY fitted out at Portland, Oreg., loaded supplies at Seattle, and then sailed for San Diego where she held shakedown training during April and May. On 15 May, she was ordered to proceed to New York, via the Panama Canal, and Norfolk. The carrier entered the Brooklyn Navy Yard on 6 June and remained there until 30 September when she sailed to Argentia, Newfoundland, to conduct cold weather training.
During the remainder of 1946 and until 3 April 1950, SICILY operated with the Atlantic Fleet out of her home port of Norfolk. At that time, she was reassigned to the Pacific Fleet with San Diego as her home port, arriving there on 28 April. The carrier was scheduled to conduct antisubmarine warfare exercises during the summer, but the invasion of South Korea by the North Koreans, on 25 June, caused a radical change in her operating plans. SICILY was notified on 2 July that she was needed in the Far East; and she sailed, two days later, for the first of three deployments to Korean waters.
SICILY was designated flagship of Carrier Division (CarDiv) 15 and on 3 August launched aircraft of VMF-214 on their first air strike in support of Allied ground forces. During this tour, she supported ground operations at Pohang, the Inchon landing, the advance to Seoul, and the withdrawal of the marines from the Chosin Reservoir to Hungnam before returning to San Diego on 5 February 1951. On her second tour with the 7th Fleet, from 13 May to 12 October 1951, SICILY operated on both the east and west coast of Korea. Her last tour during the Korean conflict was from 8 May to 4 December 1952, and she served with the United Nations Escort and Blockading Force. SICILY was deployed to the Far East again from 14 July 1953 to 25 February 1954.
Upon her return to the west coast, SICILY was placed in reserve, out of commission, with the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was struck from the Navy list on 1 July 1960 and sold to Nicolai Joffe Corporation on 31 October for scrap.
SICILY received five battle stars for service in Korea.
The following article was published in the San Diego news paper:
Transcribing the fine blurred print above:
"Navy fleet and air units stand more ready than ever to meet possible enemy submarine warfare in Korea, Rear Adm. C.A. Ekstrom, commander of Carrier Division 17 said on returning today aboard his flagship, the escort carrier Sicily. < Anti-Submarine Squadron 931 flying off the Sicily, typified the excellent job of sharp vigilance being maintained against possible undersea attacks, Ekstrom said. <As the "jeep" carrier was nudged broadside against the Naval Air Station Quay Wall at North Island her 1000-man crew was greeted by a tumultuous welcome of loved ones on the peir. There were 2000 present for the homecoming. <Among them were the "Queen Mother" and "Queen Wife" chosen by the flattop's crew. The mother, Mrs. Fremont Bowman, Corwell Heights, Pa., was chosen by the single men aboard. She was greeted with a broad smile from her son, Seaman John S. Bowman. <The "Queen Wife" is Mrs. Edwin S. Colby, 473 Garfield Ave., El Cajon, whose husband is a cheif boatswain aboard the carrier. <All the expenses for Mrs. Bowman to fly here and for the Colbys to take a second honeymoon in Las Vegas are being paid from a fund raised by the Sicily's crew. <To the Sicily also went the honor of having been the first carrier to complete three combat tours in Korean waters since the outbreak of hostilities 2 1/2 years ago. Half of her crew made all three trips, according to her skipper, Capt. Almon E. Loomis."
I recall what was described as a submarine attack in July 1951. The USS Sicily went to General Quarters and stayed there for about 12 hours. We could hear and feel the depth charge explosions quite readily. The sound of the explosions were a somewhat muffled but loud bang and a slight vibration of the ship was felt. Of course we realized that we were prime targets of a torpedo attack since our planes were heaving a lot of devastation on North Korea. The Sicily carried a large amount of fuel and the highly explosive napalm that was fitted on the planes. It was quite obvious that a torpedo hit to the Sicily would most likely be fatal to us especially where I was near the ships bottom along with many others. The prospect of that way of dying made us a little nervous to say the least. The cooks went to work and fixed sandwiches and delivered them to us since we could not leave our stations even for a minute. While the episode had a happy ending for us, it still remains in my memory. To read a detail description of the attack, you can click on the "Submarine Attack" blue button below.