Solomons spent four
weeks in the Astoria, Oregon-Puget Sound area undergoing post-trial
shakedown, tests, and exercises. Departing Astoria on 20 December
1943, she stopped at Alameda, California, three days later and
arrived at San Diego on 25 December. Following operations out of San
Diego, she sailed for Pearl Harbor on 30 December. On 6 January
1944, Solomons loaded aircraft and supplies there, embarked
passengers, and departed on the 9th for the U.S. west coast.
Arriving at San Diego on 14 January, Solomons conducted battle
practice off the coast of southern California until the end of the
month. She departed San Diego on 30 January bound for Norfolk,
Virginia. During her approach to the Panama Canal, Solomons' planes
participated in a simulated aerial attack on the canal. The carrier
arrived at Balboa, Panama, on 9 February, embarked passengers, and
departed for Norfolk two days later, arriving on 16 February.
Loaded with planes, supplies, and aviation stores, Solomons got
underway on 21 March bound for Brazil, arrived at Recife on 13
April, and reported for duty with the 4th Fleet. On the next day,
she got underway for her first antisubmarine patrol. This cruise,
which lasted until 30 March, and the next, from 4–20 May, proved
Departing Recife in June 1944, Solomons was soon involved in her
sole U-boat engagement of the war. On 15 June, one of Solomons'
pilots reported contact with an enemy submarine some 50 miles from
the carrier. Straub and Herzog were immediately directed to the
position of the contact. The pilot who had made the initial contact
on the submarine was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire, but at
16.54, another Solomons aircraft regained visual contact. Five other
Solomons aircraft soon joined up with it, and the group commenced a
series of rocket and depth charge attacks, which resulted in sinking
the submarine, although with the loss of another pilot. Straub
succeeded in rescuing 20 survivors, including the commanding officer.
Solomons continued anti-submarine air operations until 23 June, when
she returned to Recife to refuel and disembark the captured German
sailors. According to one crewman from the Solomons (Oct. 2006),
based upon dialog with a pilot that witnessed the event, the sub
came up firing, and took out at least two of the planes attacking
it. According to that pilot, the one that took out the sub, flew his
plane directly down the conning tower of the sub, to stop his fellow
pilots from getting shot down. The crewman said it was the loudest
noise he had ever heard in his life, when the resulting explosion
After one more anti-submarine patrol and a visit to Rio de Janeiro,
Solomons returned to Norfolk, arriving on 24 August. She remained at
that port for a month before leaving for Staten Island, New York.
She docked there on 25 September. She embarked 150 Army airmen
together with their P-47 Thunderbolts and departed on 6 October,
bound for Casablanca, French Morocco. By 7 November, she was back in
the United States, this time at Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.
Solomons spent the rest of her active service engaged in qualifying
Navy and Marine pilots in carrier landings, initially off Quonset
Point RI. In January 1945, she moved to Port Everglades, Florida,
and continued her carrier landing qualification assignment
throughout 1945. For a week in December, she participated in an
unsuccessful search for the 14 airmen of Flight 19, and the 13 from
the ill-fated rescue mission. On 15 May 1946, Solomons was
decommissioned at Boston Naval Shipyard and struck from the Naval
Vessel Register on 5 June. Sold for scrap to the Patapsco Scrap
Corp., Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, she was delivered to its agent on 22. December
1945 at Newport, RI.