The Naval Order of the United States (NOUS) National Capital Commandery welcomes the Escort Carrier Sailors and Airmen Association (ESCAA) to the nation’s capital for a planned final reunion convention, which will feature a day-long symposium, on Friday, 25 August 2023. The event will be held at the Crystal City Doubletree Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.
Escort carriers, often dubbed “jeep carriers,” came into existence during World War II, serving with both the U.S. and Royal Navies in the Battle of the Atlantic to deter German U-boat attacks on cross-Atlantic convoys. The carriers provided the backbone to what became known as hunter-killer groups. One such group, centered around the escort carrier USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60), would capture the German submarine U-505 on 4 June 1944.
Escort carriers also served in the Pacific. In the Battle off Samar during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) was sunk by enemy gunfire, and a kamikaze claimed the USS St. Lo (CVE-63). On 4 January 1945, another kamikaze claimed the USS Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) off the Philippines.
Earlier this summer, the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) confirmed the discovery of the wreck site of the Ommaney Bay—and a briefing on this discovery to be presented by the NHHC underwater archaeology staff is planned for the upcoming symposium on 25 August.
Escort carriers went on to serve with the U.S. Navy in the Korean and Vietnam Wars as well as with other navies.
ESCAA has convened an impressive program for the 25 August gathering, with NOUS Companion Dr. David F. Winkler, author of a forthcoming book on the Navy’s first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley (CV-1), serving as moderator. Other experts who have accepted invitations to speak include Commander Stan Fisher of the U.S. Naval Academy History Department, archaeologist Bradley A. Krueger, historians Robert Cressman and Guy Nasuti of NHHC, and Travis Bickford of the Library of Congress.
Retired Rear Admiral Samuel Cox, Director of NHHC, has invited convention attendees to tour the Navy Museum the following day; he will be the featured speaker at the convention’s closing banquet that following evening.
To register for the one-day symposium, which will include a lunch, visit www.ecsaa.org/symposium. To register for the entire reunion convention—which includes the symposium, a city tour, memorial service, and banquet—got to www.ecsaa.org/convention.