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Sangamon-class escort carrier
USS Santee
USS Santee (ACV-29) at anchor, 1942
Class overview
Builders: Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company : Sangamon & Suwannee
Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. : Chenango & Santee
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: Bogue-class escort carrier
Succeeded by: Charger-class escort carrier
Built: 1942
In commission: 1942–1959
Completed: 4
General characteristics
Type: Escort carrier
Displacement: 11,400 long tons (11,583 t) standard
24,275 long tons (24,665 t) full
Length: 553 ft (169 m)
Beam: 75 ft (23 m)
114 ft (35 m) extreme width
Draft: 32 ft (9.8 m)
Propulsion: 2 steam turbines, 2 shafts, 4 boilers, 13,500 shp (10,067 kW)
Speed: 18 knots (21 mph; 33 km/h)
Complement: 860-1080 officers and men
Armament: • 2 × 127 mm/51 cal. guns (2×1)[1]
• 8 × Bofors 40 mm guns (4×2)
• 12 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannons (12×1)
• Additional 20 & 40 mm guns later added
Aircraft carried: 25-32 F4F Wildcat & TBF Avenger or SBD Dauntless

The Sangamon class were a group of four escort aircraft carriers of the United States Navy that served during World War II.


These ships were originally MARAD type T3-S2-A1 oilers, launched in 1939 for civilian use. They were acquired and commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1940-41. Due to the shortage of MARAD type C3 ships for conversion to desperately needed escort carriers, it was decided in early 1942 to convert four oilers to escort carriers. The conversion took around six months.[2]

Sangamon class CVE drawings.png

These ships were the largest escort carrier conversions built for the U.S. Navy. The late-war Commencement Bay class escort carriers were about as large, but were built as carriers from keel up. Being built as oilers, the machinery space was located aft, resulting in the placing of the smokestacks on both sides aft of the flight deck. They were excellent examples of the type, roomy and tough with a large flight deck and good stability on even high seas. The Sangamons could operate about 30 aircraft, and were the only escort carriers to operate dive bombers.[3]

Service history

From late 1942 until the end of the war the ships saw active duty in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Pacific Campaigns. Three of the class were damaged by Japanese kamikaze attacks at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, but all survived the war. In the Pacific, the carriers often operated together as Carrier Division 22.[4]

The ships were withdrawn from active service shortly after the end of the war. Some of them were kept in reserve and reclassified as helicopter escort carriers (CVHE). All had been sold or scrapped by the early 1960s.[5]


  • USS Sangamon (CVE-26) Originally AO-28; launched 1939, commissioned 1940, decommissioned 1945, sold for commercial service 1948
  • USS Suwannee (CVE-27) Originally AO-33; launched 1939, commissioned 1941, decommissioned 1947, sold for scrap 1961
  • USS Chenango (CVE-28) Originally AO-31; launched 1939, commissioned 1941, decommissioned 1946, sold 1960
  • USS Santee (CVE-29) Originally AO-29; launched 1939, commissioned 1940, decommissioned 1946, struck 1959, scrapped 1960


  1. Friedman 1983 p. 407
  2. Stefan Terzibaschitsch: Flugzeugtraeger der U.S. Navy. Geleitflugzeugtraeger. Bernhard & Graefe, Munich 1979, pp. 31. ISBN 3-7637-5219-9
  3. Stefan Terzibaschitsch: Flugzeugtraeger der U.S. Navy. Geleitflugzeugtraeger. Bernhard & Graefe, Munich 1979, p. 67. ISBN 3-7637-5219-9
  4. Paul H. Silverstone: US Warships of World War II. Ian Allan, London 1965 (reprint 1982), p. 55. ISBN 0-7110-0157-X
  5. Paul H. Silverstone: US Warships since 1945. Ian Allan, London 1986, p. 23. ISBN 0-7110-1598-8


  • Friedman, Norman (1983). U.S. Aircraft Carriers. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-739-9. 

External links

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