Kitty Hawk file photo [9330]

Kitty Hawk

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassKitty Hawk-class Merchant Vessel
Hull NumberAKV-1
BuilderSun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Chester, PA
Laid Down21 Feb 1932
Launched19 Sep 1932
Commissioned26 Nov 1941
Decommissioned24 Jan 1946
Displacement16,480 tons standard
Length478 feet
Beam64 feet
Draft26 feet
MachineryGeared steam turbine with one screw
Power Output8,800 SHP
Speed17 knots
Armament1x5in 38 cal gun, 4x3in 50 cal guns, 2x2x40mm guns, 8x2x20mm guns, 16x20mm guns


ww2dbaseOn 25 Jun 1941, civilian passenger ship Seatrain was acquired by the United States Navy and converted into a transport and aircraft ferry by Tietjin & Land Dry Dock Company of Hoboken, New Jersey, United States. She was named Kitty Hawk on 8 Jul 1941. She was commissioned on 26 Nov at New York Navy Yard with Commander E. C. Rogers in command. After shakedown cruise, she departed from New York, United States on 16 Dec 1941, carrying aircraft to replace those lost at the Pearl Harbor attack. She arrived at Hawaii, United States on 8 Feb 1942, unloaded the aircraft, and departed for the continental United States on 25 Feb. On 17 May, she returned to Pearl Harbor, carrying men and equipment of the US 3rd Marine Defense Battalion and aircraft of US Marine Air Groups 21 and 45 for Midway, arriving on 26 May. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 5 Jun, and then departed for San Diego, California, United States, arriving on 13 Jun. On 31 Jul, she returned to Pearl Harbor with men, equipment, and aircraft of the US Marine Air Group 23. On 28 Aug, she arrived at Port Vila, Efate, New Hebrides, where she transferred 40 aircraft by crane to carrier Long Island; the aircraft were prepared and launched into combat near Guadalcanal very shortly after. On 4 Oct, she set sail for San Francisco, California, United States to embark US Army aircraft, then arrived at Pearl Harbor on 20 Oct. On 10 Nov, she picked up men from the air group of carrier Hornet, which had just been sunk, and delivered them to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides on 22 Nov. On 7 Dec, she arrived at San Diego with 359 passengers. On 4 Jan 1943, she departed with men and aircraft of US Marine Air Group 12, arriving at Espiritu Santo on 22 Jan, but Japanese air raids prevented her from unloading; she sailed to Pallikulo Bay and then Undine Bay to unload, instead. She returned to San Diego on 20 Feb. Between 20 Feb 1943 and 25 Jun 1944, she made seven visits to Hawaii and seven visits to the South Pacific. On 5 Aug, she arrived at San Francisco for overhaul. On 29 Aug, she boarded passengers, cargo, and aircraft at San Diego and set sail for the South Pacific, making port call at Finschhafen, New Guinea; Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands; Guadalcanal; and Espiritu Santo. She returned to San Diego on 12 Oct 1944. On 12 Nov, she arrived at Manus to pick up men of a radio control drone unit, and then brought them back to Maui, Hawaii to disembark them. After minor repairs at San Diego, Kitty Hawk set sail for the South Pacific on 7 Jan 1945. She would sail between California and the South Pacific until Jun 1945. When Japan surrendered in Aug 1945, she was at Pearl Harbor. After transporting cargo to the Marshall, Mariana, and Philippine Islands, she sailed for the east coast of the United States on 24 Nov. She reached Bayonne, New Jersey, United States on 15 Dec. She was decommissioned from military service at New York on 24 Jan 1946 and given back to her original civilian owner, Seatrain Lines, Incorporated.

United States Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Last Major Revision: Feb 2010

Merchant Vessel Kitty Hawk (AKV-1) Interactive Map

Kitty Hawk Operational Timeline

26 Nov 1941 American aircraft ferry USS Kitty Hawk was commissioned into service.
26 May 1942 USS Kitty Hawk delivered to Midway Atoll the 3-inch anti-aircraft group of 3rd Defense Battalion, 5 light tanks of a light tank platoon for mobile reserve, 16 SBD-2 aircraft, and 7 F4F-3 aircraft, all of which were of the United States Marine Corps.
24 Jan 1946 Kitty Hawk was decommissioned from service.


USS Kitty Hawk, late 1941, photo 1 of 2USS Kitty Hawk, late 1941, photo 2 of 2Aircraft transport ship USS Kitty Hawk at Berth F-1, Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Mar 1942. Note AT-6 Texans and J2F Ducks on top deck with wings removed and trucks on lower deck.Brewster F2A-3 Buffalo being lifted aboard aircraft transport USS Kitty Hawk at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, May 1942. Note open hangar bay in the stern of the ship.
See all 6 photographs of Merchant Vessel Kitty Hawk (AKV-1)

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. luis omar solis says:
9 Oct 2011 10:26:05 AM

I wanted to know if anyone had a listing of all the navys men on this ship during the war battles my father was Apolonio P. Solis one of the seamen and I would like to know who else was on this ship with Him. He passed away in 1986 and a school in our town was named after him as a educator. Please let me know. Thanks so much for ur attention. Luis Omar Solis
2. Wayne Pinkstaff says:
25 Jun 2012 11:17:25 AM

My dad Ralph Pinkstaff boardd Kitty Hawk in Alameda, CA April (?) 1942. He was on board until sometime in 1945 near the time the ship was decommissioned. If I can find more listings of crew members I'll let you know. I'm sorry about your dad's passing. My dad doesn't recall your dad's name, but his memory isn't the best these days.
3. Carol Jennings Webb says:
10 Feb 2013 05:21:44 PM

My father, Martin Jennings served aboard the USS Kitty Hawk during WW2. He died in 1984. If anyone knows more about the history of the ship I would be most appreciative of hearing about it. He has several photos that were taken while the ship was under attack.
Thanks for any information.
4. Anonymous says:
27 Dec 2013 04:46:07 PM

My Uncle Emanuel Schatz was killed in an accident 26 April 1944. Also Jerome Conrad Brehm.
Is there a report on what happen on the USS Kitty Hawk that day?
5. Son of Sam Chiarello says:
6 Jan 2014 05:19:04 PM

My father served from 43-45 as a cook. I have his shellback certifict. Also some pictures of the ceremony of there induction in to the king Neptune's domain. I also have his cookbook that he was issued. He passed away in 1994.
6. Son of Herbie P. Boudreaux says:
28 Feb 2015 12:30:20 PM

My father was on USS Kitty Hawk in 1942. He died in 1962 when I was 7 years old. I would like to know more about him on this ship and what he did. If anyone could help I would appreciate it.
7. John Julien says:
15 Jun 2015 11:57:04 PM

My dad was Bob Julien, he was on the ship from 42 to 44 I believe. Im trying to find pictures.
8. Collie Moye says:
11 Oct 2015 10:12:47 AM

My father, also Collie Moye, was on the ship in '44, '45. He was 18 and volunteered right out of high school in Amarillo, TX. He was a radarman and manned the 3" gun as well I believe. He was also on SP duty in Tokyo for a short time. He passed away in April 2015 aged 89. I have a picture of his graduating class at boot camp San Diego.
9. Michael R Hogge says:
28 Oct 2015 06:49:05 PM

I have searched for years trying to find out details of the service record of Woodrow Hugh Allen. Tonight I found out he was likely killed aboard the kitty Hawk, 4 Sept 44. He was my grandmother baby brother. She never got over his loss. I would like to know more about his service record and the circumstances that took his life. I toured the Lexington a few days ago, and tried to envision what his duty on the Hornet was like. Any suggestions regarding more information would be greatly appreciated.
10. Sally Schell says:
4 Jul 2016 03:37:50 PM

My dad, Harold (Andy)Anderson, served on the USSKitty Hawk in the boiler/engine room. He died in 1981. I have his shellback certificate with the date of January 29, 1945. He didn't talk about much, but did keep in touch with a man named Richard Hohr (?) from Watford City, ND.
11. Marisa Martinez says:
6 Jul 2016 09:41:39 PM

My grand dad was a cook in the Kitty Hawk Manuel Gutierrez. If anyone has any information about him on the ship I am very interested. I think he may have been in the Puerto Rico draft because we never knew his family. He never really talked about them.
12. Nick says:
14 Oct 2016 08:31:08 PM

My Grandfather was on the Kitty Hawk during WWII. I have not been able to find much info. However I did a month long subscription to and found him on the ships muster rolls at different time intervals. Good luck to all trying to find information on their loved ones.
13. Diane Cuccia says:
20 Jun 2017 11:41:23 AM

My Dad was on the Kitty Hawk in WE 11 as a Seaman. He passed in 2006.His name was Eugene L. Cuccia

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Merchant Vessel Kitty Hawk (AKV-1) Photo Gallery
USS Kitty Hawk, late 1941, photo 1 of 2
See all 6 photographs of Merchant Vessel Kitty Hawk (AKV-1)

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