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Born: August 13, 1924
Lived in Portsmouth for 65 years
Raymond M. Custy
- US Navy
Naval Aviator. South Pacific; USS Manila Bay (CVE-61); Navy Reserves. After a shakedown cruise along the west coast, Manila Bay sailed for Pearl Harbor on 20 November and returned a load of damaged planes to San Diego on 4 December. After training exercises, with Composite Squadron 7 (VC-7) embarked, she departed Hawaii on 3 January 1944. A week later she embarked Rear Admiral Ralph Davidson and became flagship for Carrier Division 24. Joining Task Force 52 (TF 52), she sortied 22 January for the invasion of the Marshall Islands. Between 31 January-6 February, she launched air and antisubmarine patrols as well as dozens of combat missions. Her planes bombed and strafed enemy positions from Kwajalein Island north to Bigej Island and destroyed ammunition dumps and ground installations. She remained in the Marshalls during the next month and extended her operations late in February first to Eniwetok and then to Majuro.
Departing Majuro on 7 March, Manila Bay reached Espiritu Santo on the 12th. Three days later she joined TF 37 for airstrikes and surface bombardments against Kavieng, New Ireland on 19–20 March. During the next month she cruised between the Solomons and the Bismarck Archipelago supporting the protracted offensive to neutralize the Archipelago and the Japanese fortress at Rabaul. Thence, on 19 April she steamed so that her planes could attack enemy positions on New Guinea.