USS MONTEREY CV 26
The light cruiser Dayton (CL 78) was laid down December 29, 1941 by the New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J., but was reclassified CV 26 on March 27, 1942 and renamed Monterey March 31st; launched February 28, 1943; sponsored by Mrs. P.N.L. Bellinger; and commissioned June 17, 1943, Capt. Lestor T. Hundt in command.
USS Monterey was reclassified CVL 26 on July 15, 1943, shortly after commissioning, and, after shakedown, departed Philadelphia for the western Pacific. She reached the Gilberts November 19, 1943, in time to help secure Makin Island. She took part in strikes on Kavieng, New Ireland, December 25, as part of TG 37.2, and supported the landings at Kwajalein and Eniwetok until February 8, 1944. The light carrier then operated with TF 58 during raids in the Carolines, Marianas, northern New Guinea, and the Bonins from February through July 1944. During this time she was also involved in the Battle of the Philippines Sea on April 29 and 30th.
USS Monterey (CVL 26) then sailed to Pearl Harbor for overhaul, departing once again on August 29, 1944. She launched strikes against Wake Island on September 3, then joined TF 38 and participated in strikes in the southern Philippines and the Ryukyus. October through December 1944 were spent in the Philippines, supporting first the Leyte, and then the Mindoro landings. Though enemy planes had been unable to damage Monterey, she did not complete her first full year of service unscathed. In December, she steamed into the path of a howling typhoon, with winds over 100 knots. At the height of the storm, which lasted two days, several planes tore loose from their cables, causing several fires on the hangar deck. Monterey arrived Bremerton, Wash., for overhaul, in January 1945. She rejoined TF 58 and supported Okinawa operations by launching strikes against Nansei Shoto and Kyushu from May 9 through June 1, 1945. She rejoined TF 38 for the final strike against Honshu and Hokkaido from July 1 to August 15th.
She departed Japanese waters September 7, 1945, having embarked troops at Tokyo, and steamed home, arriving New York City October 17. USS Monterey left behind an impressive and enviable war record. Her planes sank five enemy warships, and damaged others. She was responsible for the destruction of thousands of tons of Japanese shipping, hundreds of planes, and vital industrial complexes. She was assigned "Magic Carpet" duty, and made several voyages between Naples and Norfolk.
She decommissioned February 11, 1947, and was assigned to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Philadelphia Group. With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, Monterey recommissioned September 15, 1950. She departed Norfolk January 3, 1951, and proceeded to Pensacola, Fla., where she operated for the next four years under the Naval Training Command, training thousands of naval aviation cadets, student pilots, and helicopter trainees.
Between October 1-11, 1954, she took part in a flood rescue mission in Honduras. She departed Pensacola June 9, 1955, and steamed to rejoin the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Philadelphia Group. She decommissioned January 16, 1956. Reclassified AVT 2 on May 15, 1959, she remained berthed at Philadelphia until she was sold for scrapping in May 1971.