One of 50 ships designed by the U.S. Maritime Commission as a “small airplane transport with flight deck,” the USS St. Lo (CVE-63) bore her name for just 15 days before she met a fiery end. But there is much more to the ship’s story.
The St. Lo belonged to a large group of warships collectively known as escort carriers that originated before the United States entered World War II. Initially viewed as auxiliaries—and designated APV (special escort ship or transport, aviation), AVG (aircraft tender, general purpose), and ACV (auxiliary aircraft carrier)—they did not receive combat status as CVEs (aircraft carriers [escort]) until mid-July 1943.