A Saipan-class light aircraft carrier, USS Wright (CVL-49) is named after Orville Wright. Commissioned in 1947, Wright left Philadelphia to participate in air defense drills, gunnary practice and carrier qualifications for military student pilots. She continued this training for over two years.
Work with the 6th Fleet
In 1952, she sailed for Gibralter to work with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, where she sailed around the area participating in training missions. She continued to participate in training operations throughout the Atlantic, including the northern Atlantic conducting defense exercises with other navies of the countries participating in NATO. After a brief return home, she sailed for the Mediterranean once more.
Work with the 7th Fleet
Wright rested in Philadelphia, getting a much deserved face-lift. She resumed training operations in the waters of Cuba in 1954. She then received orders to set sail for the Pacific to work with the 7th Fleet off the coast of Korea.
In 1959, Wright was reclassified an auxiliary aircraft transport. She was inactive for three years, until she was taken to Puget Sound for conversion into a mobile command post. After a brief stint on the West Coast, she sailed for the East Coast. Here she acted as an emergency command post, continually receiving upgrades. She provided key communications capability for military, presidential, and humanitarian missions around the world. She was sold for scrap in 1980.
USS WRIGHT (CVL-49)
The second Wright (CVL-49) was laid down on 21 August 1944 at Camden
by the New York Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 1 September 1945 (the day before the formal Japanese surrender ceremony on board the battleship Missouri (BB-
63) in Tokyo Bay); sponsored by Mrs. Harold S. Miller
a niece of the Wright brothers
and commissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 9 February 1947
Capt. Frank T. Ward in command.
Wright departed Philadelphia on 18 March 1947 and stopped briefly at Norfolk
en route to the Naval Air Training Base at Pensacola
Fla. After her arrival there on 31 March
Wright soon commenced a rigorous schedule of air defense dri
lls and gunnery practice while acting as a qualification carrier for hundreds of student pilots at the Naval Air Training Base
conducting 40 operational cruises--each of between one and four days' duration off the Florida coast. In addition
embarked a total of 1
081 naval reservists and trained them in a series of three two-week duty tours.
On 3 September 1947
Wright embarked 48 midshipmen for temporary training duty and later welcomed 62 Army officers when she stood out to sea on 15 October in company with Forrest Royal (DD-872) to let her guests observe flight operat
ions in the Pensacola area. The exercises included the catapulting of a Grumman F6F type aircraft for rocket-firing operations.
That exercise was her last prior to her departure from Pensacola on 24 October to return north. She arrived at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard soon thereafter and
from 1 November to 17 December
underwent post-shakedown repairs and alterations before s
he returned to Pensacola two days before Christmas
where she resumed her regular schedule of pilot qualification training under the operational control of the Chief of Naval Air Training
Commander Air Atlantic. Wright spent the year 1948 engaged
in those pilot carrier qualification operations
before she put into the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 26 January 1949 to commence a four-month overhaul.
Following refresher training in Cuban waters
Wright returned to Norfolk on 1 August 1949 and
four days later
shifted to Newport
for two weeks of antisubmarine warfare (ASW) training in the Narragansett Bay area with submarines and destro
yers. She also visited New York City before taking up a steady schedule of carrier qualifications
air defense tactics and exercises out of Quonset Point
R.I.; Key West and Pensacola
Fla. But for 10 days of maneuvers with the 2d Task Fleet from 21 to
31 October 1949
she continued that duty until 7 January 1951
when she embarked the last increment of personnel from Fighter Squadron (VF) 14 for temporary duty.
Wright then sailed from Norfolk on 11 January with a fast carrier task group and reached Gibraltar on the 21st for her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. Wright's first Mediterranean deployment took her from Gibral
tar to Oran
Algeria. She proceeded thence to Augusta Bay
Sicily; Suda Bay
Lebanon; and Golfe Juan
France--her replenishment and liberty ports during the never-ending cycle of fleet training and readiness exercises with the 6th Fleet.
Departing Golfe Juan on 19 March
Wright made port at Newport on the 31st. The carrier later entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and underwent an overhaul there before she took part in Atlantic Fleet maneuvers out of Guantanamo Bay
in ASW tactics and carrier operations in Narragansett Bay
received further repairs at the Boston Naval Shipyard
and participated in a convoy exercise that ran from 25 February to 21 March 1952; and ranged from Newport to waters of the Panama Canal Zone
and Trinidad in the British West Indies.
As flagship for Carrier Division (CarDiv) 14
Wright sailed on 9 June 1952 in company with four destroyers forming Task Group (TG) 81.4 for ASW operations along the Atlantic seaboard until the 27th
when the ships arrived at New York City. Return
ing to Quonset Point on 1 July
Wright trained units of the organized naval reserves concurrently with hunter-killer tactics and pilot training in operations out of Narragansett Bay until 26 August. On that day
she set course from Quonset Point a
nd later rendezvoused with Vice Admiral Felix B. Stump's 2d Task Fleet en route to northern Europe for combined defense exercises and maneuvers with naval units of other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) navies.
escorted by Forrest Royal
was detached to ferry men and gear of Marine Night Fighter Squadron (VMF(N)) 114 to Port Lyautey
an operation she completed on 4 September. Two days later
and her escort rejoined the task force; and they reached the Firth of Clyde
on the 10th.
Three days later
Wright put to sea with two British destroyers acting as her plane guard for NATO Operation "Mainbrace." She conducted air defense maneuvers and tactics evolutions with the British carriers HMS Illustrious (R-87) and HMS <
I>Eagle (R-05) en route to Rotterdam
where the force arrived on the 25th. On 29 September
Wright departed Rotterdam
bound for the United States
and arrived at Newport on 9 October.
she embarked Rear Admiral W. L. Erdman
Carrier Division 4
and spent the next few months engaged in carrier qualification duties in waters ranging from Newport to the Virginia capes
before she began her second deployment to the Med
iterranean. She reached Golfe Juan on 21 February 1953 and operated with the 6th Fleet until 31 March
when she sailed for home
via the Azores.
Wright returned to Newport and
after a rigorous schedule of training in Narragansett Bay
sailed on 5 May for the Gulf of Mexico. During that training cruise
she visited Houston
where she hosted some 14
000 visitors on 16 and 17 May. Re
turning to Quonset Point on 28 May
Wright operated locally for another month before shifting south for a stint of operations out of Mayport
Wright was overhauled at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard from 31 July to 21 November and then conducted refresher training in Cuban waters from 4 January to 16 February 1954. Next
after departing Davisville
on 5 April
d for the Far East--via the Panama Canal
and Pearl Harbor--and reached Yokosuka
on 28 May. The carrier
with Marine Attack Squadron 211 embarked
operated with the 7th Fleet off both coasts of Korea and also off Okinawa before
she visited Hong Kong from 24 to 30 September. Departing Yokosuka on 15 October
Wright arrived at San Diego on the last day of October and entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard where she remained until 23 February 1955.
At that point
Wright was attached to CarDiv 17
and operated locally out of San Diego until 3 May
when she put to sea as part of TG 7.3--formed around the flagship Mount McKinley (AGC-27)--for the atomic test
" carried out in Pacific waters. Returning to the west coast on 20 May
Wright subsequently cruised to Pearl Harbor briefly before she entered the Mare Island Naval Shipyard on 14 July to commence preparation for inactivation. After shifting
to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
on 17 October
for the final phase of preservation for inactivation
Wright was decommissioned at Puget Sound on 15 March 1956 and assigned to the Bremerton group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
During her time in reserve
Wright was reclassified on 15 May 1959
an auxiliary aircraft transport
she never served in that role
but remained inactive until 15 March 1962
when she was taken to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard fo
r conversion to a command ship and reclassified as CC-2. The conversion--which lasted a year--included extensive alterations to enable the ship to function as a fully equipped mobile command post afloat for top echelon commands and staff for strategic di
rection of area or world-wide military operations. Facilities were built into the ship for world-wide communications and rapid
and display of command data. A portion of the former hangar deck space was utilized
for special command spaces and the extensive electronics equipment required
while a major portion of the flight deck was utilized for specially designed communications antenna arrays. In addition
facilities were provided to enable the ship to operate t
Recommissioned at Puget Sound on 11 May 1963
Capt. John L. Arrington
Wright (CC-2) operated locally on trials and training evolutions in the waters off the Pacific Northwest until 3 September
when she departed Seattle and procee
ded to San Diego which she reached three days later. For the next three weeks
the ship trained in nearby waters before she returned to Puget Sound on 30 September to commence her post shakedown availability.
Following those repairs and alterations--which took up all of the month of October and most of November--Wright prepared to shift to her new home port
Norfolk. She departed Seattle on 26 November
stopped briefly at San Diego three days later to
embark civilian engineers and personnel who were to conduct surveys of communications and air conditioning equipment
and was steaming south off the coast of northern Mexico when she picked up a distress message from the Israeli merchantman
on 1 December. Wright altered course and rendezvoused with Velos later that same day. The command ship's medical officer was flown across to the Israeli ship and treated a seaman suffering from kidney stones. Upon completion of that
mission of mercy
Wright resumed her voyage to Balboa.
Transiting the Panama Canal on 7 and 8 December
Wright steamed via St. Thomas
and moored at the Hampton Roads Army Terminal on 18 December. After a subsequent brief operational period off the Virginia capes
d port on 21 December and remained there through Christmas and New Year's.
For the next six years
Wright operated out of Norfolk
training to perform her assigned mission as an emergency command post afloat. Regular overhauls performed at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard saw the ship receiving the repairs and alterations tha
t continually improved her capabilities to carry out her task. She operated primarily off the Virginia capes
but ranged as far north as Bar Harbor
and as far south as Rio de Janeiro
and Punta del Este
Uruguay. Her other ports of call
Fort Lauderdale and Port Everglades Fla.
New York City
and Guantanamo Bay
Cuba. On occasion
she alternated on "alert" status with Northampton (CC-1).
There were highlights and breaks from the cycle of periods in port and at sea. From 11 to 14 April 1967
Wright lay at anchor off the coast of Uruguay
providing a world-wide communications capability in support of President Lyndon B. Johnson as
he attended the Latin American summit conference at Punta del Este. On 8 May 1968
Wright went to the aid of Guadalcanal (LPH-7) after that amphibious assault ship had suffered a machinery failure and had gone dead in the water
180 miles s
outh of Norfolk. She towed the helpless assault ship 84 miles before other ships arrived on the scene to help out. Later that same year
Wright received the coveted Ney award in the large mess afloat category. That award is given annually to the
ship that maintains the highest food standards. During the Pueblo (AGER-2) crisis in February 1969
Wright--while en route to Port Everglades
Fla.--was hurriedly recalled to Norfolk and
upon her arrival there
on alert. Ulti
mately decommissioned on 27 May 1970
Wright was placed in reserve at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. As of 28 June 1979
she was still there.
[Note: The above USS WRIGHT (CVL-49) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS WRIGHT (CVL-49) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]