Military Photo: Gerald Ford's USS Monterey


Posted: 12/01/2006
Ships of Task Force 50 en route to the Gilberts and Marshalls to support the invasions of Makin and Tarawa, 12 November 1943. Ships are (l-r): USS Alabama (BB-60); USS Indiana (BB-58), in distance, camouflaged; and USS Monterey (CVL-26).Photographed from USS Lexington (CV-16).

USS Monterey (CVL-26, originally CV-26, later AVT-2),1943-1971

USS Monterey, an 11,000-ton Independence classsmall aircraft carrier, was built at Camden, New Jersey. Begunas the light cruiser Dayton (CL-78), she was convertedto an aircraft carrier well before launching and commissionedin June 1943 with the hull number CV-26. A month later, this waschanged to CVL-26. Monterey transited the Panama Canalto the Pacific later in the year, and took part in the invasionof the Gilbert Islands in November. The following month, her planesraided Kavieng, New Ireland.

During the first half of 1944, Monterey participatedin the Marshalls operation, attacks on the Japanese in the centralPacific and New Guinea, the Marianas invasion and the Battle ofthe Philippine Sea. After an overhaul, she rejoined the fast carriersfor strikes on Wake Island, the Ryukyus and the Philippines inSeptember-December 1944. In October, Monterey took partin the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Late in the year, she was damagedwhile steaming through a typhoon and had to return to the U.S.west coast for repairs and another overhaul.

The carrier returned to the combat zone in time to contributeher air power to the conquest of Okinawa. In July and August 1945,she attacked the Japanese Home Islands. After a trans-Pacificvoyage bringing veterans home from Japan, Monterey wentto the Atlantic, where she was employed transporting men fromItaly to the United States. She was decommissioned in February1947.

After more than three years in "mothballs", the outbreakof the Korean War broughtMonterey back to active duty. She recommissioned in September1950, but remained in the Atlantic area. Sent to Pensacola inearly 1951, she served as training carrier from then until mid-1955.Decommissioned again in January 1956, she returned to the ReserveFleet. Monterey was reclassified as an aircraft transportin May 1959, with the new hull number AVT-2, but had no activeservice in that role. She was sold for scrapping in May 1971.

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