The first Long Island retained her former name; the second was named for the body of water between the southern shore of Connecticut and the northern coast of Long Island, N.Y.
(CVE‑1: dp. 13,499; l. 492'; b. 69'6"; dr. 25'8"; s. 1.6.5 k.; cpl. 970; a. 1 5", 2 3", ac. 21; cl. Long Island; T. C3‑S‑A1)
The second Long Island (CVE‑1) was laid down 7 July 1939, as Mormacmail, under Maritime Commission contract, by the Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, Pa.; launched 11 January 1940; sponsored by Miss Dian B. Holt; acquired by the Navy 6 March 1941; and commissioned 2 June 1941 as Long Island (AVG‑1) Comdr. Donald B. Duncan in command.
In the tense months before Pearl Harbor, the new escort aircraft carrier operated out of Norfolk, conducting experiments to prove the feasibility of aircraft operations from converted cargo ships. The data gathered by Long Island greatly improved the combat readiness of later “baby flattops.” Just after the Japanese attack. Long Island escorted a convoy to Newfoundland and qualified carrier pilots at Norfolk before departing for the west coast 10 May 1942. Reaching San Francisco 5 June, the ship immediately joined Admiral Pye’s four battleships and provided air cover while at sea to reinforce Admiral Nimitz’ forces after their brilliant victory in the Battle of Midway. She left the formation 17 July and returned to the west coast to resume carrier pilot training.
Long Island departed San Diego 8 July 1942 and arrived Pearl Harbor the 17th. After a training run south to Palmyra Island, the ship loaded two squadrons of Marine Corp aircraft and got underway for the South Pacific 2 August. Five days later the marines, while landing on Guadalcanal, encountered stiff opposition and needed more air support than could be provided by the handful of carriers available during the early months of the war. Touching Fiji Islands 13 August, Long Island then steamed to a point 200 miles southeast of Guadalcanal and launched her aircraft. These planes, the first to reach Henderson Field, were instrumental in the liberation of Guadalcanal and went on to compile a distinguished war record. Her mission was accomplished in an outstanding fashion. Reclassified ACV‑1 on 20 August, Long Island sailed for Efate, New Hebrides, and arrived 23 August.
Long Island returned to the west coast 20 September 1942, as the new “baby flattops” took up the slack in the Pacific war zones. For the next year, the escort carrier trained carrier pilots at San Diego, an unglamorous but vital contribution to victory. Long Island was reclassified CVE‑1, on 15 July 1943. During 1944 and 1945 she transported airplanes and their crews from the west coast to various outposts in the Pacific. After V‑J Day, she revisited many of these same bases while transporting soldiers and sailors back home during operation “Magic Carpet.”
Long Island decommissioned 26 March 1946 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Struck 12 April 1946, she was sold to Zidell Ship Dismantling Co., Portland, Oreg., 24 April 1947 for scrapping. This was not to be. The old warrior still had some life left for on 12 March 1948, she was acquired by the Canada‑Europe Line for conversion to merchant service. Upon completion of conversion in 1949, she was renamed Nelly and served as an immigrant carrier between Europe and Canada. In 1953, she was sold to the University of the Seven Seas and was converted into a schoolship. Later that year, she was renamed Seven Seas and with her cargo of students, began sailing all over the world in pursuit of knowledge. After 13 years of service In this role, she was replaced as a schoolship for the university, and was sold to the University of Rotterdam for use as a floating dormitory. Into 1969, she is still in service in this role, berthed near the university grounds.
Long Island received one battle star for World War II service.