During WWII a gap existed where land-based
aircraft could not provide air cover for the lifeline convoys sailing to
Britain from North America. That mid-Atlantic gap was the prime
hunting grounds for the German U-boat wolf packs until it was closed by
the escort carrier groups. These small "Baby Flat Tops," armed with
Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers and FM Wildcat fighters, could hunt
down and destroy submarines as far from the convoys as required.
escort carrier groups went on to provided a critical offensive role in the
Pacific by launching attacks against the numerous small islands held by
the Imperial Japanese forces. The men of the USS Shipley Bay's
composite Squadron VC-97 flew TBM Avengers and
Wildcat fighters during the battle for Okinawa.
Don Feight is the artist of this wonderful painting and has contributed
a print to the USS Shipley Bay Archives.
Additional prints can be obtained