The Escort Carrier Sailors and Airmen Association has donated a model of the escort carrier USS Santee (CVE-29) to the museum. The association has placed several models of escort carriers at several other museum around the United States in an effort educate the public about these important warships. The model of the ship is currently on display in the museum.
The vessel herself was formerly the Standard Oil of New Jersey tanker Esso Seakay before being converted into an escort carrier by the workers at Norfolk Naval Shipyard-Portsmouth. During World War II, Santee served out of Naval Station Norfolk for all of 1942 and much of 1943 hunting U-boats (her air wing is credited with sinking three boats, U-43, U-160, U-509), escorting President Franklin Roosevelt across the Atlantic, and transporting Army Air Corps fighters to Europe.
She then served in the Pacific for the remainder of the war. Here her air wing is credited with several dozen air-to-air kills and providing ground support in many of the island campaigns. She was hit by a kamikaze and torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Both attacks heavily damaged the ship, but did not sink her. She survived the war.