U.S.S. Card (CVE-11)
(Escort Carrier)


USS Card


Card was a Bogue-class escort carrier. She served in WWII, and Viet Nam.


Construction


The Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co. at Tacoma, WA laid down Card on 27 February 1942.

She commissioned on 8 November 1942.

Specifications:
(As commissioned, 1942)
Displacement: 7,800 tons standard; 15,700 tons full load (design)
Dimensions (wl): 465' x 69.5' x 23.25' / 141.7 x 21.2 x 7.1 meters
Dimensions (max.): 495' 8" x 111.5' / 151.1 x 34 meters
Armor: None
Power plant: 2 boilers (285 psi); 1 steam turbine; 1 shaft; 8,500 shp
Speed: 16.5 knots
Endurance:
Armament: (ultimate) 2 single 5"/38 (initially 5"/51) gun mounts;
10 twin 40-mm/56-cal gun mounts;
26 single 20-mm/70-cal gun mounts
Aircraft: 24
Aviation facilities: 2 elevators; 2 hydraulic catapults
Crew: 890


Service

Card and her sisters were based on the Maritime Commission’s C3 freighter. Relatively slow, they mainly served in secondary roles, such as aircraft transport and amphibious support. In the Atlantic, however, the little carriers came into their own as effective sub chasers.

She sailed for the east coast 18 January 1943, arriving at Hampton Roads, VA on 1 February. There she trained her crew and air group before setting out for North Africa. She ferried men and aircraft to Casablanca until 5 July. On 27 July, she took command of the sub killer group TG 21.14 and commenced her first patrol in this new role. She quickly set an enviable record, sinking four U-Boats before her return on 10 September. She left on her next patrol, which gave her even more kills, five in total. However, the destroyer Borie was lost. The fervor and skill with which Card’s group attacked these subs earned them a Presidential Unit Citation.

On their next patrol, Card and her task group suffered another loss. The destroyer Leary found herself in the middle of a deadly “wolf pack” of U-boats on the night of 24 December. Torpedoed twice, she managed to stay afloat until another sub fired, sinking her. Card pressed on and Leary’s sister Schnenck avenged her, sinking U-645. The ships then recovered Leary’s survivors.

After a brief reprieve transporting aircraft to Casablanca, Card returned to anti-sub duty on 21 June 1944. Her group bagged their last sub under her command on 5 July. Card embarked on one last patrol on 1 December, but she saw no submarines. Afterwards, she underwent a brief refit in Philadelphia, then began transporting planes and personnel to Cuba. She completed this work in July 1945 and headed for the Pacific.

Card arrived at Pearl Harbor on 14 August, one day before the Japanese surrender. With the end of WWII, she began “Magic Carpet” runs from pacific bases to the west coast, ferrying veteran sailors, soldiers, marines, and airmen home. On 7 January 1946, she sailed back to Norfolk, and was decommissioned there on 13 May.

The decorated carrier sat in reserve throughout the 1950s as the postwar Navy tried to justify her reserve status with repeated classification changes. In 1958, she finally found a new purpose. Reclassified as an aviation transport and handed over to the Military Sea Transportation Service, Card began operating with a civilian crew in the service of the U.S. Navy as U.S.N.S. Card. She began her new career in 1959.

In the early 1961, Card began carrying personnel and aircraft to Viet Nam in support of mounting U.S. Military obligations in the war-torn country. She was small enough to serve in coastal and inland waters, and she frequently operated out of Saigon. She was docked at Saigon on 2 May 1964. Just after midnight, a pair of Viet Cong commandos strapped explosives to her hull and detonated them. Card sank in the shallow harbor, coming to rest in forty-eight feet of water. She lost five men in the attack and it took seventeen days to raise her. Towed to the Philippines, the veteran carrier was returned to service on 11 December.

Fate

Card returned to the United States in 1970 and was decommissioned, shortly thereafter, she was sold for scrape.

Summary

Named for a sound, continuation of Biscayne Bay, south of Miami, Fla.
Built under a Maritime Commission contract (hull number 178) as a merchant vessel, type C3-S-A1
May 1, 1942 Acquired by the Navy , Originally classified as an "Aircraft Escort Vessel" and designated AVG-11
August 20, 1942 Reclassified as an "Auxiliary Aircraft Carrier" and redesignated ACV-11, (prior to commissioning)
July 15, 1943 Reclassified as an "Escort Carrier" and redesignated CVE-11
November 10, 1943 Card was the first CVE awarded the Presidential Unit Citation
June 12, 1955 Reclassified as an "Escort Helicopter Aircraft Carrier" and redesignated CVHE-11, while in reserve
Reactivated as an aircraft transport in 1958; operated with a civilian crew under Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) control
July 1, 1958 Reclassified as an "Utility Aircraft Carrier" and redesignated (T-)CVU-11,
May 7, 1959 Reclassified as a "Cargo Ship and Aircraft Ferry" and redesignated (T-)AKV-40,
May 2, 1964 Mined and sunk while moored in Saigon, Vietnam, 5 of her crew were killed. May 19, 1964 Raised and returned to service December 11, 1964
Sold and scrapped in 1971

Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Card, as a steam-powered ship built during WWII, would have had large quantities of asbestos aboard as insulation for her power plant. Asbestos products break down into tiny fibers when damaged or worn. The heavy damage she suffered in Viet Nam would have caused millions of these fibers to break free and fly into the air inside of Card.

VA Benefits

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs now recognizes mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases as service-related medical conditions.  This means that veterans with mesothelioma are able to apply for Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits to pay for their treatment. 

The application process for VA benefits is arduous, and some veterans who have mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease you may have a claim.  A veterans' Service Officer can help you with the VA benefits claims process and can guide you through the process of compensation for your military occupational exposure to asbestos.

Contact a Veterans' Service Officer

Because of the long latency period of mesothelioma, many veterans whose tours of duty ended decades ago may just now be facing a mesothelioma diagnosis.  We at the DAV have a deep respect and gratitude for the men and women who have served our country in times of war and in times of peace.  It is our honor as veterans to help veterans pursue justice after asbestos exposure.  If you have been affected by military asbestos exposure, you may be eligible for compensation.  Please contact a Veterans' Service Officer to schedule a FREE consultation.