Operation Stalemate II—the landing of the 1st Marine Division on Peleliu—began on 15 September 1944. Aircraft of Task Group 38.4 and four escort carriers of Carrier Unit One, Rear Admiral William D. Sample commanding, supported the Marines with bombing and strafing runs. The Japanese had prepared the main line of resistance inland from the beaches to escape naval bombardment, however, and three preceding days of carrier air attacks and intense naval gunfire had failed to suppress the well dug-in and tenacious defenders, who fiercely contested the island.
The fleet carriers supported the landing until 18 September, and a total of 10 escort carriers operating in Task Group 32.7, Rear Admiral Ralph A. Ofstie commanding, continued the battle until the end of the month. Soldiers of the Army’s 81st Division reinforced the Marines, and the final Japanese survivors surrendered on 1 February 1945.