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WRIGHT CVL-49 / AVT-7 / CC-2
Sister ship: SAIPAN
Notes: In 1943, Admiral King ordered a continuing program of two light carriers per year; the first two ships were to be ready by December, 1945, to replace expected war losses. The new ships were to be based on the BALTIMORE class heavy cruiser hulls; no heavy cruisers were to be converted, but the use of an existing hull plan would (it seemed) to make for a simpler design. As it turned out, an entirely new hull was designed, without the torpedo bulges of the INDEPENDENCE class. The anti-aircraft battery was augmented, but 5" guns were not provided. Only two ships were built; by the time the next two were to be ordered, World War II had ended and further orders were cancelled. The aircraft carried were 36 fighters and 12 torpedo-bombers. But the two were rather cramped for jet operations, and they served most of their "carrier careers" as training carriers.
WRIGHT was commissioned on 9 February 1947, and served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean for over six years. A 1952 refit saw her "number two" funnel removed, reducing their number to three. After a four-month overhaul (from July through October, 1953), WRIGHT was transferred to the Pacific Fleet, where she served until 15 March 1956, when she was decommissioned and placed in the Reserve at Bremerton, Washington. On 15 May 1959, WRIGHT was reclassified as an auxiliary aircraft transport (AVT-7), but she never served in that role. In March, 1962, WRIGHT was taken to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for conversion into a command ship. The conversion took nearly a year, during which time WRIGHT was fitted with command and control facilities and much of her flight deck was covered with a variety of antenna; she did retain the ability to operate three helicopters. Reclassified as CC-2, WRIGHT returned to active duty and was transferred back to the Atlantic Fleet and was based at Norfolk, Virginia. WRIGHT served in the Atlantic until her decommissioning on 27 May 1970, when she was placed in Reserve at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. WRIGHT was stricken from the Navy List on 1 December 1977 and sold for scrapping on 1 August 1980.