After shakedown along
the west coast, Makassar Strait departed San Diego 6 June and
steamed via Pearl Harbor to the Marshalls carrying replacement
aircraft and passengers; there, she transported military casualties
to Pearl Harbor and the west coast where she arrived San Diego 13
July. During much of the next 2 months she trained carrier pilots
off southern California. Between 25 September and 15 October, she
ferried 129 planes to Hawaii and to Manus, Admiralties. After
returning to Pearl Harbor 26 October with 70 damaged F4F Wildcats on
board, she resumed pilot training operations out of Pearl Harbor.
During the next 3 months, Makassar Strait rendered valuable service
in the training of naval and marine aviators. Pilots from a dozen
air groups and squadrons made more than 6,700 landings, as she
participated in combat air patrol and hunter-killer training
exercises and night carrier operations, as well as defensive
training against simulated bomb and torpedo attacks.
With Composite Squadron 97 embarked, Makassar Strait departed Pearl
Harbor 29 January 1945 and steamed via Eniwetok for combat duty in
the western Pacific. Assigned to TG 50.8, between 9 February and 8
April she protected logistics ships operating in support of the Fast
Carrier Task Force during devastating airstrikes against enemy
targets from the Bonins to the Ryukyus.
Assigned to a support carrier group 8 April, Makassar Strait began
air operations in the intense fighting on Okinawa. During the next 4
weeks she launched scores of sorties against targets in the Ryukyus.
Her planes provided close air support for American ground troops and
struck with effective and devastating force against enemy gun
emplacements, ground installations, and airfields as the Americans
drove to capture Okinawa— one of the last bastions of the crumbling
Japanese defenses. In addition, the escort carrier’s planes
destroyed four enemy aircraft.
Makassar Strait transferred her air squadron to Shipley Bay at
Kerama Retto 7 May and departed later that day for Guam where she
arrived the 11th. She now operated in the Marianas between Guam and
Saipan providing refresher training for carrier pilots, until
departing for Hawaii 19 July. Steaming via Kwajalein where she
loaded 50 planes, she reached Pearl Harbor 29 July. There she
embarked 387 military passengers and sailed 14 August for the United
Arriving San Diego 21 August, Makassar Strait had steamed more than
91,000 nautical miles (169,000 km) in support of the Allied victory
in the Pacific. She continued to train carrier pilots during the
next 2 months; by the end of October the total number of landings on
her flight deck since her commissioning had surpassed 15,500.
Makassar Strait departed San Diego 4 November for “Magic Carpet”
duty. Steaming via Pearl Harbor, she transported replacement troops
to the Marshalls; and after embarking 1,092 veterans at Kwajalein,
returned to San Diego 29 November. Between 4 December and 3 January
1946, she made a similar cruise to Guam and back, transporting 1,123
officers and men to the United States.
Departing San Diego 5 January, Makassar Strait steamed via San
Francisco to Tacoma, Washington, where she arrived 12 January.
Assigned to the 19th Fleet, she underwent deactivation and
decommissioned 9 August 1946. She entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet
at Tacoma; and, while berthed there, was reclassified CVU-91 on 12
June 1955. On 28 August 1958 the Secretary of the Navy authorized
her to be used as target for destruction. Her name was struck from
the Navy list 1 September 1958. In April 1961 while under tow to San
Clemente Island, CA she ran aground on San Nicholas Island, and was
then sold for breaking up in situ on 2 May 1961 buyer unknown. As
late as Fall 1965 it had not been broken up, and was being used as a