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USS Kitkun Bay

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by Melkc, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. Melkc

    Melkc Member

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    Hi All,

    My dad was on the USS Kitkun Bay and I'm looking for information from anyone who served (or knew someone who served) on her. Fortunately my dad spoke often about the ship and his time in the Navy and I also have the ship's history and belong to the USS Kitkun Bay Association (but haven't attended any reunions). Naturally, I'm interested in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and would love to hear the experiences of others who were on the Kitkun Bay or other ships in Taffy 3.

    Also, can anyone recommend good reading on the subject? I just ordered "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors". I hear it's a good read. Any other good recommendations?

    Thanks in advance for any info!

    Melissa
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Hello Melissa. Welcome to this fine forum. There are plenty here who can give you more information about where to look and what to read. Tin Can Sailors is an excellent read. I would also suggest reading Sea of Thunder by Evan Thomas. It looks at four naval commanders, Halsey and Ernest Evans from the US and Kurita and Ugaki from Japan. The climax of the book is Leyte Gulf. I found it enlightening.

    Perhaps you could share some of your stories of the Kitkun Bay with us. We love to hear tales of the heroes who were there.
     
  3. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    Hello Melissa, and welcome to the forum. Besides the books you and Lou have already mentioned, I would recommend the following two books as well.
    Amazon.com: The Battle for Leyte Gulf: The Incredible Story of World War II's Largest Naval Battle (9781602391949): C. Vann Woodward, Evan Thomas: Books
    Amazon.com: The Battle of Leyte Gulf: 23-26 October 1944…


    I also thoroughly enjoyed this one as well for what it was like to view the battle from one of the Escort Carriers.
    Amazon.com: The Men of the Gambier Bay: The Amazing True Story of…

    If you haven't already try searching through The Battle Off Samar - Main Menu. Mr Cox has a great and very helpful website on the battle.
     
  4. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

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    USS Kitkun Bay (CVE 71) Crew List

    The table below contains the names of sailors who served aboard the USS Kitkun Bay (CVE 71). Please keep in mind that this list does only include records of people who submitted their information for publication on this website. some comments to read, from some that served on her melissa..

    Crew List - Reunite with old US Navy Buddies :)
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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  6. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    Hey OP, you guys ever get the detailed anysis for Samar? Did the gov ever write it? Reading the one for Surigao Straight, it claims they put off Samar in favor of Surigao.
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The book The Men of the Gambier Bay also talks about life aboard a carrier of the same class. The Kitkun Bay was with the Gambier Bay when the latter was lost in The Battle Off Samar. They both were running like hell from what was the certain doom from the guns of Adm Kurita's force. They were fighting for their lives against a seemingly superior force.
     
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  8. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'll ask Patrick if he has it. If not I'll go looking for it.

    EDIT: Is this what you're looking for? http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/rep/Leyte/BatExp/
     
  9. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    No but your close. I apologize I was going of memory and I believe it was the Tacticle and Strategic analysis done by the Naval War College.
    HyperWar: Return to the Philippines: Contents

    After rechecking a little bit it appears the CNO at the time discontinued the series so volumes 4, 6, and 7 were never written.
     
  10. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I can get 1, 2, 3, and 5. They're on my next order.
     
  11. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    Hi Melissa, I can personally vouche for the book that mikebatzel already mentioned: The Battle of Leyte Gulf: 23-26 October 1944 by Thomas J. Cutler.

    This is the first book I have read specifically on the battle, and I can say that it is a very fast and interesting read for a beginner. In fact, its in the catagory of books that I would actually re-read.
     
  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Ditto, and I've gone over the After Action Reports for several combatants on both sides. Cutler is very high on my list of authors.
     
  13. Melkc

    Melkc Member

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    Hi All,

    Thanks for the great feedback! I appreciate the good book tips. I've added The Battle of Leyte Gulf: 23-26 October 1944, Sea of Thunder, Men of the Gambier Bay and The Battle for Leyte Gulf on my ever-growing reading list.

    My dad often said how much he enjoyed the Navy and his time on the Kitkun Bay. Most of his stories were just reminiscing about the ship, his buddies, the sights and sounds of the war and the various places he saw. His conversations about Leyte Gulf were more about the frenetic activity and the excitement of the battle. The Kitkun Bay suffered only minor damage in the fight.

    He did, however, talk often about the time the ship was hit by a kamikaze plane. This was in early January 1945. The plane hit at the water line on the port side. They experienced considerable flooding and the ship began listing rapidly. At some point, the Captain ordered all unnecessary personnel off the ship. The ship initially required towing but later regained enough power to bring all personnel back aboard and headed to Leyte under it's own power. I believe they went on to Manus Island for repairs. They eventually went to Pearl Harbor and finally to San Pedro, California for additional repairs. Interestingly, they lost only 1 man during the Battle of Leyte Gulf but lost 16 men in this attack.

    My dad always said he planned to write down his experiences. We were planning to work on that when he passed away. Unfortunately, nothing was ever written.

    I look forward to any stories or additional suggestion you all have.

    Melissa
     
  14. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    From The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

     
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    [​IMG]

     
  16. Melkc

    Melkc Member

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    Thanks, OpanaPointer!
     
  17. pschnell10

    pschnell10 recruit

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    Hello Melissa!
    My dad was also a crew member of the Kitkun Bay! He was LTJG Russell Clayton Schnell. He was a commissioning officer and was aboard the "Kitty" for her entire operational career. I'd love to hear from you. (I'm a brand new member of this group.)
    Phil Schnell
     
  18. pschnell10

    pschnell10 recruit

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    Hi all...I guess I should have said "Hi All!"..."inexperience!"
    phil
     
  19. ResearcherAtLarge

    ResearcherAtLarge Member

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    Another source that might be useful is the "Anatomy of the Ship: USS Gambier Bay" which is part of the "Anatomy of the Ship" series. It's currently out of print and a little more expensive due a recent model kit release driving interest in it, but it has photos and drawings of the class that might help you picture the inside spaces a little better. Amazon is currently listing them for just under $100 USD: Amazon.com: The Escort Carrier Gambier Bay (Anatomy of the Ship) (9781557502353): Al Ross: Books and abe books has one for $75.

    The Navy has a damage report for Kitkun bay that I saw but did not have time to scan in on one of my past visits; I have a friend we may be able to coax the text out of, but the damage plates are more than his scanner and software can handle.
     
  20. Travis

    Travis recruit

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    Hi everyone. My Grandfather, Leo Wuebker, was on the Kitkun Bay from 1943 to 1946. He was a gunners mate. He never talked of the war and never really wanted to. He was from Carroll Iowa. He died on Feb, 11 1989. I have some old military records and some old pictures. I was only 15 when he passed so I was unable to get much information out of him. None of my aunts or uncles know much about his time on the ship. If anyone knows him or can hook me up with someone who knows anything about his life in the military please let me know. I have researched the ship, it's battles, and as much of the crew as possible but unable to find anything personal. Thank you, in advance for your time. My e-mail is tjw2312@aol.com
     

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