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USS Rabaul (CVE-121)
Name: USS Rabaul
Builder: Todd Pacific Shipyards
Laid down: 2 January 1945
Launched: 14 June 1945
Acquired: 30 August 1946
Reclassified: Helicopter Carrier, CVHE-121, June 1955
Cargo Ship and Aircraft Ferry, AKV-21, 7 May 1959
Struck: 1 September 1971
Fate: Sold for scrapping 25 August 1972
General characteristics
Class & type: Commencement Bay-class escort carrier
Displacement: 11,373 long tons (11,556 t)
Length: 557 ft (170 m)
Beam: 75 ft (23 m)
Draft: 32 ft (9.8 m)
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 16,000 shp
2 shafts
Speed: 19 knots (22 mph; 35 km/h)
Complement: 1,066
  • 2 × 5 in (130 mm) guns (2×1)
  • 36 × 40 mm AA guns
Service record
Part of: Pacific Reserve Fleet (1946-1971)

USS Rabaul (CVE/CVHE/AKV-21) was a United States Navy Commencement Bay-class escort aircraft carrier, named for Rabaul, a strategically significant port in the Pacific theater of World War II.

Rabaul was laid down 2 January 1945 by Todd Pacific Shipyards, Tacoma, Washington, launched 14 June 1945, sponsored by Alice Schade (wife of United States Navy naval architect Commodore Henry Adrian "Packy" Schade), completed by the Commercial Iron Works, Portland, Oregon, and delivered to the Navy 30 August 1946.

Accepted into the 19th Fleet, (the Pacific Reserve Fleet), Rabaul was berthed at Tacoma without seeing any active service. The warship was mothballed there during the early years of the Cold War and served as a mobilization reserve in case of war with the Soviet Union. Reclassified CVHE-121 in June 1955, she was transferred to the San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet in June 1958 and reclassified AKV-21 in May of the following year. She remained in reserve at San Diego until 1 September 1971 when she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. Rabaul was sold on 25 August 1972 to the Nicolai Joffe Corporation of Beverly Hills, California, for scrapping. Shortly before scrapping, it was used in the closing scenes of the 1973 movie Magnum Force.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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