The Escort Carrier was an aircraft carrier subgroup relied upon heavily by the United States Navy (USN) during World War 2 (1939-1945). The ship type was dimensionally smaller and slower than full-sized frontline vessels of similar battlefield role while carrying fewer aircraft but these ships more than made up for the limitations by being more economical to build in the numbers required for the war effort. The USN deployed several classes of escort carriers during the war with the largest group becoming the Casablanca-class (50 ships) followed by the Bogue-class (45 ships, primarily in service with the British Royal Navy). Another class, the Commencement Bay-class, was also used during this period and this group numbered nineteen ships in all while going on to become regarded as the best of all the escort carrier designs to appear in the war.
One of this group was USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116) ordered during the war years and seeing her keel laid down on August 18th, 1944. She was launched to sea on February 15th, 1945 and formally commissioned for service in the USN on November 14th, 1945 - though too late to see combat service in World War 2. However, she was fielded in the upcoming Korean War (1950-1953) to good effect.
As built, USS Badoeng Straight displaced 10,500 short tons under load and held a length of 557 feet with a beam measuring 105.1 feet and a draught of 30.7 feet. Her installed power was conventional and involved boiler units feeding 2 x Geared steam turbines developing 16,000 horsepower and driving 2 x Shafts under stern. The warship could make headway at 19 knots.
Her general arrangement was typical of "flat top" carriers of the World War 2 period. The flight deck, serviced by two hangar elevators (one fore, the other aft) ran straight from bow-to-stern. The island superstructure was of a very compact design and offset to the starboard side while being fitted ahead of midships. Aboard were up to 1,0772 officers and sailors as well as an air wing which was tied to the thirty or so combat aircraft carried. While serving in the all-important role of aircraft transport, the vessel held complete facilities for the launching and retrieving of these weapons as well. Local defense was handled by a collection of weapons including 2 x 5" guns, up to 36 x 40mm Bofors guns and 20 x 20mm Oerlikon cannons - all vital to the Anti-Aircraft (AA) role.
With World War 2 ending in August of 1945, there was little need for additional carriers like USS Badoeng Strait so her early career involved a few exercises and cruises, including a stop at Hawaii, before she was quickly decommissioned as soon as April 1946. However, her story did not end there for she was placed back into service the following year and found herself active at the start of the Korean War when elements of the Communist North invaded, and nearly conquered, the Democratic South.
USS Badoeng Straight was present for nearly all of the conflict and used in blockading actions due to her installed Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) equipment as well as launching her warplanes in the Close-Air Support (CAS) role in support of friendly ground forces. She played a major role in the defense of the "Pusan Perimeter", essentially the Last Stand of United Nations forces operating on the Korean Peninsula. With the perimeter finally secured heading into November, the escort carrier was used in the brazen Inchon amphibious landing (September 1950) which helped to turn the tide of the war and drive the Communist forces back to the north. Before the end of the year, the vessel was in action supporting forces retreating the Chosin Reservoir following the Chinese entry into the war.
All this action added up to six Battle Stars for service in the conflict for the warship and her crews. A Navy Unit Commendation was also added. The Korean War then ended in an uneasy armistice that remains to this day (2017) as the North, with help from China and the Soviet Union, reclaimed its lost territory from the UN coalition force.
This left USS Badoeng Strait without a war to fight but she was kept on as active for a short time longer. Following the war, the ship was modernized and further developed to support helicopter aircraft on her decks. The ASW equipment fit was further expanded to help counter the growing threat of Soviet submarines operating in the Pacific. From then on she was used in exercises and training while undertaking several more "peacetime" voyages during the early Cold War years. In January of 1957, she was deactivated (placed in the Pacific Reserve Fleet) and then formally decommissioned on May 17th of that year.
Her stripped hulk was not sold off until 1972 after which point she was unceremoniously scrapped.