USS BELLEAU WOOD CV 24
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USS New Haven (CL 76) was reclassified CV 24 and renamed Belleau Wood February 16, 1942. She became CVL 24 on July 15, 1943. USS Belleau Wood was launched December 6, 1942 by New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N. J.; sponsored by Mrs. Thomas Holcomb, wife of the Commandant of the Marine Corps; and commissioned March 31, 1943, Captain A. M. Pride in command.
After a brief shakedown cruise Belleau Wood reported to the Pacific Fleet, arriving at Pearl Harbor July 26, 1943. After supporting the occupation of Baker Island (September 1) and taking part in the Tarawa (September 18) and Wake Island (October 5-6) raids, she joined TF 50 for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands (November 19-December 4, 1943).
USS Belleau Wood operated with TF 58 during the seizure of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, Marshall Islands (January 29-February 3, 1944), Truk raid (February 16-17); Saipan-Tinian-Rota-Guam raids (Feb. 21-22); Palau-Yap-Ulithi-Woleai raid (March 30-April 1); Sawar and Wakde Island raids in support of the landings at Hollandia, New Guinea (April 22-24); Truk-Satawan-Ponape raid (April 29-May 1); occupation of Saipan (June 11-24), 1st Bonins raid (June 15-16), Battle of the Philippine Sea (June 19-20); and 2nd Bonins raid (June 24). During the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Belleau Wood's planes sank the Japanese carrier Hiyo.
After an overhaul at Pearl Harbor (June 29-July 31, 1944) USS Belleau Wood (CVL 24) rejoined TF 58 for the last stages of the occupation of Guam (August 2-10). She joined TF 38 and took part in the strikes in support of the occupation of the southern Palaus (September 6-October 14); Philippine Islands raids (September 9-24); Morotai landings (September 15); Okinawa raid (October 10); northern Luzon and Formosa raids (Oct. 11-14); Luzon strikes (Oct. 15 and 17-19), and the Battle of Cape Engaño (Oct. 24-26).
On October 30, 1944, while Belleau Wood was patrolling with her task group east of Leyte, she shot down a Japanese suicide plane which fell on her flight deck aft causing fires which set off ammunition. Before the holocaust could be brought under control 92 men were killed or missing.
After temporary repairs at Ulithi (Nov. 2-11), USS Belleau Wood steamed to Hunter's Point, Calif., for permanent repairs and an overhaul, arriving November 29, 1944. She departed San Francisco Bay January 20, 1945 and joined TF 58 at Ulithi on February 7th. During Feb. 15-March 4 she took part in the raids on Honshu Island, Japan, and the Nansei Shoto, as well as supporting the landings on Iwo Jima. She also took part in the 5th Fleet strikes against Japan (March 17-May 26) and the 3rd Fleet strikes (May 27-June 11). After embarking a new air group at Leyte (June 13-July 1) she rejoined the 3rd Fleet for the final strikes against the Japanese home islands (July 10-August 15).
USS Belleau Wood (CVL 24) launched her planes September 2, 1945 for the mass flight over Tokyo, Japan, during the surrender ceremonies. She remained in Japanese waters until October 13th. Arriving at Pearl Harbor 28th, she departed three days later with 1,248 servicemen for San Diego. She remained on "Magic Carpet" duty, returning servicemen from Guam and Saipan to San Diego, until January 31, 1946.
During the next year Belleau Wood was moored at various docks in the San Francisco area undergoing inactivation. She was placed out of commission in reserve at Alameda Naval Air Station January 13, 1947. She remained in reserve until transferred to France September 5, 1953 under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program.
Under the name Bois Belleau, the ship served with the French navy until 1960 when she was returned to the United States. She was stricken from the Navy list on October 1, 1960 and sold for scrapping.