Archaehistoria

USS Sangamon (ACV-26)

Figure 1
Port beam view of the converted escort carrier USS Sangamon (ACV-26) on September 11, 1942. This is how the ship would have looked in the South Pacific between February – August 1943 when she was part of Carrier Division 22 (CARDIV 22). Note the Grumman Avengers and Douglas Dauntlesses of the ship’s Air Group 26 on the flight deck. On June 28, 1943, one of the ship’s SBD-3s (like the SBDs pictured at the stern) from Composite Squadron 26 (VC-26) was on anti-submarine patrol in the Eastern Solomons when the plane (BuNo. 06566) was forced to ditch near San Cristobal Island. The two members of the plane crew managed to launch and gain their life raft. They then drifted for nine days before coming ashore on the North East coast of Malaita. They were cared for by local Coastwatcher and Melanesian Mission priest, Dr. Charles E. Fox, before being discovered by a patrolling Kingfisher of Scouting Squadron 64 (VS-64). A PBY-5 was then dispatched from Halavo Bay to pick them up. Clearly, this is not a Malaitan WWII archaeological site but a San Cristobal Island one, however, the event is a definite part of Malaitan WWII history and for this reason is included here. [ONI 54].

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