||Escort Carrier - (ex. TCS Tarawa)
||End Run Confederation Escort Carrier
||"First to Kilrah!"
The Escort Carrier CVE-8 TCS Tarawa was a converted transport. The ship carried a crew of 500, some 375 of which were to support the flight wing. Tarawa was the first warship to make it to Kilrah and back out again alive.
When the ship entered service its fighter compliment consisted of a squadron of F-54C Rapiers (Rapier II), a squadron of F-57B Sabres fighter bombers, and a squadron of Ferret scout ships. 44 rookie pilots were brought on board in addition to a handful of veterans. On average the young pilots pilot had 250 and 300 hours of flight time; there was a lot of pressure to make up for losses. The tradeoff was that these pilots died quicker, taking their craft with them. Jason Bondarevsky was assigned as Wing Commander, and Etienne Montclair and Janice Parker served as Squadron Commanders. The carrier was captained by Thaddeus O'Brian, who was not the most courageous type.
On its first mission Tarawa had to escort nine marine transport ships to Khartoum Station for ground assault exercises. Some of the best marine regiments were among them. The operation turned out to be a cover for the real mission. Based on information gathered by the TCS Johnny Greene and Lt. Commander Ramona Chekova, Operation Back Lash was drawn up. Tarawa played a part in the opening moves, bringing in the marine landing troops to nab the planet Vukar Tag from the Kilrathi and desecrate the palace of Graknala. The move would surely get Thrakhath to send the Home Fleet to Vukar Tag to take back the planet.
With Vukar Tag taken, Tarawa, along with escorts TCS Intrepid and TCS Kagimasha, was assigned to Strike Force Valkyrie. The Strike force was to jump into the heart of the Empire using a recently discovered jump point and strike the Kilrathi home system itself. The First Marine Battalion with ten landing craft was assigned to Tarawa for transport. The battalion was given ten new landing craft fully loaded with combat supplies. Valkyrie was to do as much damage to the Kilrathi ship building facilities on Largkza, the second moon of Kilrah, and stay in the area long enough for Thrakhath to send back part of the Kilrathi Home Fleet and take them out. The reduced Home Fleet could then be defeated by the Confederation at Vukar Tag. Once part of the fleet was committed to returning to Kilrah, Tarawa could try to escape out of the system, but Admiral Wayne Banbridge said they would be on their own. It would be too risky too pull them out even if the Confederation fleet won at Vukar Tag. Geoffrey Tolwyn didn't like the prospect of having to abandon Tarawa.
As the marines were down on Largkza setting mines, Tarawa was attacked by Strakha fighters. Part of the Home Fleet, a carrier and eight escorts, were on their way back to Kilrah. Captain Thaddeus O'Brian wanted to leave the marines behind and turn tail and run. Jason Bondarevsky raced back to Tarawa to stop him. As he was running to the bridge a Kilrathi kamikaze crashed into Tarawa, taking out the entire bridge. The whole bridge crew including Captain O'Brian were killed. As the senior officer, Jason took command of Tarawa and ordered the ship back in to join the fight and pick up the marines. Some marines didn't make it back, including Svetlana Ivanova. Her landing craft was shot down on the way up to space. Ivanova hit the detonator, blowing up six carriers, six construction yards, a cruiser construction center and 4,000 of the Kilrathi's best trained personnel are lost. A third of their carrier construction capability was gone.
Meanwhile Tarawa was heavily damaged. The Inertial dampening system was damaged when the bridge was taken out, making every movement of the ship noticeable. Long range scan was taken out, so the ship had to depend on TCS Intrepid for its eyes. Tarawa had lost a hundred crew at this point. Helm, Combat Information Center, Comms, weapons control and damage control were all relocated to the flight deck, since escort carriers didn't have a reserve bridge. Shields were down and the jump drive probably didn't work. Tarawa needed urgent repairs before they could even try to escape the Kilrah System. Jason Bondarevsky decided to hide in Igrathi's atmosphere while they conducted emergency repairs. There were hundreds of microscopical cracks, and the ship was leaking air. Some of Igrathi's ammonia and sulphur atmosphere was also leaking in, so some areas were not accessible, and the crew had to wear masks in some other areas.
Prince Thrakhath meanwhile expected Tarawa to come out of the atmosphere and do a suicidal run on Kilrah at some point. When they came out of the atmosphere, Tarawa and the two escorts initially did head straight for Kilrah, accelerating quickly. Tarawa then launched a marine landing craft and a Ferret on auto-pilot and carrying a nuclear bomb and set them to head for Kilrah. The Strike Force changed their course and used Jim Bane's tractor beam theory to slingshot around Kilrah. The Kilrathi ships mostly focused on the shuttle and Ferret and their deadly payloads, but a Sartha did destroy the TCS Kagimasha with a suicide run. The Strike Force had no choice but to jump to Baragh, since the other jump points were blocked by the Kilrathi fleet.
At this point Tarawa was so heavily damaged she would have to be taken apart and rebuilt from scratch or scrapped all together. The damage control officer stripped non-essential areas of the Tarawa for spare parts and durasteel. Even the durasteel off scrapped fighters was used to reinforce the forward bulkheads.
In Baragh Tarawa faced three Kilrathi carriers. When she took a hit from a torpedo, twenty meters of the forward bow with the forward turret on it was torn off, killing another 35 crew. Just then a fourth carrier showing Kilrathi IFF jumped into Baragh. With their surveillance equipment destroyed, they didn't see it was actually the TCS Concordia posing as a Kilrathi ship. TCS Intrepid engaged the cruiser covering the nearest Kilrathi carrier. Both fire a spread of torpedoes from point blank range, neither survives. The carrier is still advancing, but it bought Tarawa some much needed time. Before the escort was destroyed, Intrepid's Captain Grierson informed Tarawa that it was Concordia on the other end of the system. Concordia's fighters and bombers came sweeping in minutes later, saving the day, as Tarawa set course for Concordia's position. Geoffrey Tolwyn was acting against Wayne Banbridge's orders when he pulled Tarawa out.
Tarawa had structural cracks running down three of its keel beams. She had to limp back to Confederation space, fires still burning and air leaking. Tarawa left with 44 young pilots and only 14 made it back.
Jason Bondarevsky is promoted to Captain and offered command of a new escort carrier that would be coming online the next month, but he and Tolwyn insisted Tarawa be refitted instead of scrapped, even if it was be cheaper to build a new one. When word of Tarawa's mission reached the population, morale was way up across the Confederation.
Strike Force Valkyrie bagged a total of six carriers and their construction bays, a cruiser construction building, one cruiser, two orbital stations, four corvettes and at least ninety fighters.
The action also showed the Confederation a good strategy for hurting the Kilrathi war effort. More Escort Carriers, TCS Khorsan and TCS Enigma were sent behind the lines to take out more construction yards as a result of Tarawa's succesful operation.
Tarawa spent roughly a year in repairs. When the 2668 armistice was signed, she was set to be decommissioned at Fleet Yard 5. Tarawa's decommissioning number was 2291.
Under secret authority of President Harold Rodham and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Nuragami had Geoffrey Tolwyn take Tarawa out to probe the Kilrathi-held Hari region. This was a direct violation of the armistice agreement, but the Confederation had reason to believe the Kilrathi were secretly building a fleet of supercarriers.
Tarawa left for Landreich with a skeleton crew of 35, three Ferrets and one Sabre. Most of the 500 crew, some 375, were only needed to maintain the flight wing, and on this particular operation Tarawa would be outfitted with a D 3S 5. On its way out of Fleet Yard 5, the ship was ordered to return to the decommissioning yard immediately, saying they were violating the peace commission proceedings for title transfer; Geoffrey Tolwyn had arranged for someone to "buy" the Tarawa and four other decommissioned Escort Carriers (TCS Normandy, TCS Iwo, TCS Crete and TCS Wake), and they were supposedly going to serve as civilian transports. They managed to break away from their decommissioning yards, despite protests from the peace commission questioning the legality of the sale. Lawyers were at Confed HQ arguing the sale was legal.
James Taggart in Bannockburn acquired footage and statistics on the Hakaga Fleet being constructed as part of Project Hari. He relayed the information to Tarawa, which in turn passed it on to President Rodham.
President Kruger of the Landreich sent out a signal confirming the loss of Tarawa, Normandy and Bannockburn, to keep them in his arsenal. The Kilrathi were also moving in on his region, and he needed the extra units.
Bondarevsky wanted to take Tarawa Earth or Sirius and assist in the battle there, but Kruger didn't refused to release the carrier. Kruger had stationed a lot of Landreich crew and pilots on Tarawa, making a hijack impossible. At the Battle of Hell Hole, Kruger had all the ships jump in at full speed. As a result Tarawa collided with Kruger's flagship, the FRLS Blitzkrieg. Tarawa's crew quarters were hulled and Blitzkrieg lost a port rear stabilizer. It was around this time that a picture of Kruger ended up on the dart board in Tarawa's Officer Lounge.
Kruger finally caved under pressure from Jason Bondarevsky, and headed to Sol System to assist the Confederation in the Battle of Earth. Tarawa arrived in time to keep the Kilrathi from launching their Strontium-clad thermonuclear warheads.
A few weeks after the Battle of Earth, Tarawa was again crippled. This time she was sold to the Landreich, where Armando Diaz' salvage team refitted the carrier. TCS Tarawa was rechristened FRLS Independence.
Related records: Armando Diaz, Chamberlain, Christopher Blair, Corona Scanner, Daniel Galbraith, Dawx Jhorrad, Emilia, Escort Carrier - (ex. TCS Tarawa), Etienne Montclair, First to Kilrah! The Movie, Flame, FRLS Blitzkrieg, FRLS Crete, FRLS Independence, FRLS Iwo Jima, FRLS Normandy (CVE-6), FRLS Wake, Gar nar Kiranka, Geoffrey Tolwyn, Gloria (glorious), Gloria (Tarawa Engineer), Graknala, Grierson, Harold Rodham, Ian St. John, Ice Wind, James Taggart, Janet McCullough, Janice Parker, Jason Bondarevsky, Jenkins, Jim Bane, Jim Conklin, Jim Merritt, Jump point 12Y, Kevin Tolwyn, Lyford Beverage, Masumi, Mongol, Noragami, Nova, Nuragami, Odin, Rodriquez, Rusmak nar Kiranka, Singh, Tamara Farnsworth, TCS Enigma, TCS Intrepid, TCS Kagimasha, TCS Khorsan, TCS Sevastopol (CVE-8), Terran Confederation, Thaddeus O'Brian, Thor, Todd Marshall, Westerlin
Record edited by Kris
Last modified Aug 10 2003