USS Ticonderoga CV-14 Sailor's Censored Mail May 13, 1935 - Pearl Harbor

USS Ticonderoga CV-14 Sailor's Censored Mail May 13, 1935 - Pearl Harbor

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SKU: 2020-1216-193

USS Ticonderoga CV-14 Sailor's Censored Mail May 13, 1935 - Pearl Harbor

The USS Ticonderoga completed a transit of Luzon Strait via Balintang Channel during the night of 20–21 January 1945. The next morning, aided by favorable flight conditions, their aircraft hit airfields on Formosa, in the Pescadores, and at Sakishima Gunto. While it allowed American flight operations to continue through the day, it also allowed for Japanese kamikaze operations.

Just after noon, a single-engine Japanese aircraft scored a hit on Langley with a glide-bombing attack. Seconds later, a kamikaze swooped out of the clouds and plunged toward Ticonderoga. The aircraft crashed through the ship's flight deck abreast of the No. 2 5 in (130 mm) mount, and its bomb exploded just above her hangar deck. Several aircraft stowed nearby erupted into flames and men were killed. While the crew were ordered into action to save the endangered carrier, Captain Kiefer conned his ship skillfully. First, he changed course to keep the wind from fanning the blaze. Then, he ordered magazines and other compartments flooded to prevent further explosions and to correct a 10° starboard list. Finally, he instructed the damage control party to continue flooding compartments on Ticonderoga's port side which induced a 10° port list which dumped the fire overboard. Firefighters and aircraft handlers completed the dangerous job of dousing the flames and jettisoning burning aircraft.

Other kamikaze then assailed the carrier. Her antiaircraft gunners shot down three which all crashed into the sea, but a fourth aircraft struck the carrier's starboard side near the island. Its bomb set more aircraft on fire, riddled her flight deck, and injured or killed another 100 sailors, with Captain Kiefer one of the wounded. Ticonderoga's crew continued their efforts and were spared further attacks. They brought her fires completely under control not long after 1400, and Ticonderoga retired.

The stricken carrier arrived at Ulithi on 24 January but remained there only long enough to move her wounded to hospital ship Samaritan, to transfer her air group to Hancock, and to embark passengers bound for home. Ticonderoga cleared the lagoon on 28 January and headed for the U.S. The warship stopped briefly at Pearl Harbor en route to the Puget Sound Navy Yard where she arrived on 15 February. Captain William Sinton assumed command in February 1945.

Her repairs were completed on 20 April, and she cleared Puget Sound the following day for the Alameda Naval Air Station, Alameda, California. After embarking passengers and aircraft bound for Hawaii, the carrier headed for Pearl Harbor where she arrived on 1 May. The next day, Air Group 87 came on board and, for the next week, trained in preparation for the carrier's return to combat. Ticonderoga stood out of Pearl Harbor and shaped a course for the western Pacific. En route to Ulithi, on 17 May, she launched her aircraft for what amounted to training strikes on Japanese-held Taroa in the Marshalls. On 22 May, the warship arrived in Ulithi and rejoined the Fast Carrier Task Force as an element of Rear Admiral Radford's TG 58.4.