CVE-105 Commencement Bay
The Commencement Bay (CVE-105) class escort aircraft carriers were based on the Maritime Commission T3 type tanker hull and were built as carriers from the keel up, unlike earlier CVE classes which were converted in mid-construction. This class entered service late in World War II and postwar so many saw little or no operational service. Many were cancelled prior to completion. After the war they were seen as potential helicopter, anti-submarine, or auxiliary (transport) carriers. They were similar to the highly successful Sangamon class carriers but with improvements in engineering layout. They were fitted with two catapults.
The flight deck was 501 feet long and 80 feet wide and ringed with 40mm and 20mm anti-aircraft guns, which were removed following the war. Several carriers were upgraded for use as ASW carriers after the war - they received enlarged and strengthened superstructures. Most were reclassified as CVHE or AKV while in reserve. Many were placed in and out of service during the 1940s and 50s - by the late 1950s all were in reserve and most were discarded by 1970.
Two ships were reactivated from reserve to serve as aircraft transports for Vietnam service; they were stripped of all armament. They had civilian crews and operated under the Military Sea Transport Service (MSTS), not under naval control; they were "in service" rather than "in commission" and their designations were preceded by "T-". One ship was converted to a major communications relay ship (AGMR).
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