The USS Gambier Bay was technically an escort carrier, but shipyard personnel referred to her as a Bonus Ship – Bonus, because the shipyard exceeded their production quota when the Gambier Bay came off the production line in 1943. Almost a year to the day after her launch, she was sunk by Japanese forces at the Battle of Samar.
Back home, families of the sailors aboard heard of their heroic efforts, how they helped run off the Japanese Center Force (23, ships including four battleships and eleven destroyers) and how the USS Gambier Bay sank to the bottom of the Pacific.
"My oldest sister, she picked up the paper that morning and there was the Gambier Bay Sunk," explained Seaman First Class Norm St. Germain. "She kept hiding the papers from my mother so she wouldn't see it. But eventually they had to tell her."
Hear the full story, from Norm's view, on the sinking of the USS Gambier Bay from NRA Life of Duty.