CVE 106 Firsts

The CVE 106 also had it’s share of firsts:

  1. CVE 106 was the first U.S. Naval Aircraft Carrier to have an all Marine Air Group.

  2. During the entire "Battle of the Pacific" it was very evident that there was a great "split" of the Military Services with regards to air support for the many island landings. While the Navy had the carriers with their own planes, pilots and maintenance and support personnel, and could move freely throughout the oceans to where ever the were needed, except for the Navy Sea Bees, there was no Navy landing forces.

  3. The Army and the Marine Corps needed "landing fields" first and foremost in order to provide air coverage for their individual landing forces. At that time the Army Air Force was a part of the US Army and in the European War as such provided their only air coverage and support. The Pacific War presented problems that did not exist with the Atlantic operations. With both the Army and the Marine Corps being involved in the landings on the Pacific Islands they both wanted their landing personnel protected by their own planes and pilots.

  4. Without landing fields this presented many problems as the entire concept of "battle tactics, training and even military philosophies" were many miles apart. With the Marines normally making the earlier island landings that service (along with many members of Congress) fought for aircraft carriers, fully manned by the Navy but with complete Marine Air Groups flying from the decks of the carriers. The Block Island CVE 106 was to become a part of Naval History so the decision was made to let the Marine Corps be a part of that history to be the first Aircraft Carrier to be assigned a complete Marine Air Group.

  5. Not only did the Atlantic and Pacific operations present "two Worlds" for the Block Island Crews, both the Army and the Marine Corps became a part of these same "two worlds". 


  1. CVE 106 was the first U.S. Naval ship to sail through the Straits of Makassar (between  Borneo and Celebes) (See following note) Vice Admiral Barbey, Acting Commander Seventh Fleet, delayed the Balikpapan campaign until CVE 106 became available from its task force duties. CVE 106 was the first CVE with an experienced and skilled Marine “night fighter” air group who were well experienced in Ground Troop Support.. This campaign required 24 hour per day air coverage and with the F6F 5N (radar equipped) aircraft this was possible.

  2. Note: When the Captain went on the microphone to tell the crew that CVE 106 was about to take on the above "first" he made the comment "our ship is about to take this historical action" someone on the flight deck yelled "then lets go home and tell everyone about it"! 

  3. CVE 106 was the first aircraft carrier to be used in the training of naval recruits. Some 7,500 “boots” had their first experience aboard a naval vessel in this ship. 

  4. CVE-106 was the first aircraft carrier and combatant ship of a world war to be anchored and used as a training ship at the United States Naval Academy.

  5. CVE-106 was the first aircraft carrier to be converted from use of regular aircraft to full helicopter service during the Korean campaign.

  6. LPH-1 ( as Taken from Naval Records) USS Block Island (formerly CVE 106) was the first ship designated as a helicopter-assault ship, or LPH. Conversion work began in January 1958, but was cancelled six months later and such funds were designated to construct the first of a total new class of US Navy Carriers.

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