Speed 18.7 k
Armament 2 5" 12 40mm, 16 20mm
Kenneth Whiting (AV-14) was launched 15 December 1943 by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co., Seattle, Wash.; sponsored by Mrs. Kenneth Whiting, widow of Captain Whiting; and commissioned 8 May 1944, Comdr. R. R. Lyons in command.
After shakedown along the West Coast, Kenneth Whiting cleared San Diego 21 July 1944 and arrived Saipan 14 August for operations in the Marianas. Her PB2Y squadron made reconnaissance fights which provided valuable data necessary to the success of the Allied operations. At Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, Kenneth Whiting used a former Japanese seaplane ramp to augment the maintenance facilities and increase the availability of planes. She sailed for Kossol Passage 20 November, relieving tender Pocomoke there 3 days later. She remained in the Palau Islands until 5 February 1945.
Arriving Ulithi 6 February, Kenneth Whiting resumed tending seaplanes. On 11 March while she was still off Ulithi, two enemy suicide planes attacked the base. One crashed into Sorlen Island, but the second dove into Randolph (CV-15). The seaplane tender cleared Ulithi 2 April; received provisions and supplies at Guam and Saipan, then steamed to Okinawa, arriving 25 April and immediately commencing combat and search operations. On 11 May her lookout sighted a group of 29 Koreans waving a white flag on the beach of Gerum Shima. An armed boat party from the tender took them into custody for transfer to the POW camp on Zamami Shima. While at Okinawa Kenneth Whiting operated as fleet post office and a housing center for aircraft survivors.
At 1830, 21 June, 5 hours after Major General Geiger had declared Okinawa secured, a small group of kamikazes penetrated Kerama Retto. Kenneth Whiting knocked down an "Oscar" but part of the plane hit her, causing minor damage and wounding five men. However she continued operations out of Okinawa for the rest of the war. During July her planes flew armed reconnaissance along the coasts of Japan, Korea, and China locating targets for 3d Fleet raids.
Kenneth Whiting departed Okinawa 19 September and anchored at Sasebo 2 days later. The tender was then assigned to China duty, arriving Hong Kong 14 October. Her VPB squadron commenced patrol courier service, and continued this until she was relieved 28 November. She arrived San Francisco 22 December with 572 Navy officers scheduled for release. With the close of the war and the emergence of the Atomic Age, Kenneth Whiting cleared San Diego 6 May 1946 to operate with support forces during Atomic tests at Bikini. She returned to San Diego 30 August; transferred to San Pedro 30 October; and decommissioned there 29 May 1947.
Kenneth Whiting recommissioned at San Diego 24 October 1951, and sailed for Far Eastern duty 13 March 1952. She arrived Yokosuka, Japan, 29 March to assist U.S. naval forces in resisting Communist aggression in Korea. The seaplane tender operated out of Iwakuni until 16 October when she sailed for the United States.
Following overhaul at Bremerton, Wash., and coastal operations out of San Diego, Kenneth Whiting sailed 2 March 1953 for another Westpac deployment, supporting seaplane activities out of Japan in the final months of the Korean conflict.
After the war, Kenneth Whiting made annual deployments to the Far East in support of the 7th Fleet activities. During the summer of 1955, she operated in the Formosa Pescadores area in the wake of repeated Communist harassment on Chinese Nationalist held islands. On 29 March 1957 she arrived at her new home port Crescent Harbor, Wash., but sailed for another Far Eastern tour 12 August. She continued operations with the 7th Fleet until 31 January 1958 when she cleared Subic Bay, P.I., and returned Crescent Harbor, Wash., 10 March. Kenneth Whiting decommissioned at Puget Sound 30 September, and was struck from the Navy List 1 July 1961, and sold 21 February 1962 to Union Minerals & Alloy Corp.
Kenneth Whiting received two battle stars for World War II.