Skip to main content
Related Content
  • Boats-Ships--Aircraft Carriers
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
  • Cold War
  • World War II 1939-1945
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Monterey III (CVL-26)


Named for the Battle of Monterey, Mexico (21-24 September 1846).


(CVL‑26: displacement 11,000; length 622'6"; beam 71'6"; extreme width (flight deck) 109'2"; draft 26'0”; speed 31.6 knots; complement 1,569; armament 26 40 millimeter, 20 20 millimeter; aircraft 45; class Independence)

Dayton (CL‑78) was laid down on 29 December 1941 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Corp.; reclassified as an aircraft carrier, CV‑26, on 27 March 1942; renamed Monterey on 31 March 1942; launched on 28 February 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Patrick N. L. Bellinger, wife of Rear Adm. Patrick N. L. Bellinger, Chief of Staff to Adm. Ernest J. King, the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet; and commissioned on 17 June 1943, Capt. Lester T. Hundt in command.

Reclassified as a small aircraft carrier, CVL‑26, on 15 July 1943, less than a month after commissioning, Monterey departed Philadelphia following her shakedown, sailing for the western Pacific. She reached the Gilberts on 19 November 1943, in time to help secure Makin Island. She took part in strikes on Kavieng, New Ireland, on 25 December, as part of TG 37.2, and supported the landings at Kwajalein and Eniwetok until 8 February 1944. The small 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 Philippine Sea on 29 and 30 April.

Monterey then sailed to Pearl Harbor, T.H., for overhaul, departing once again on 29 August 1944. She launched strikes against Wake Island on 3 September, 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. On 18 December 1944, the Third Fleet (Adm. William F. Halsey, Jr., commanding) steamed into the path of a typhoon. 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 at Bremerton, Wash., for overhaul at the Puget Sound Navy Yard in January 1945. She rejoined TF 58 and supported Okinawa operations by launching strikes against Nansei Shoto and Kyushu from 9 May through 1 June. She rejoined TF 38 for the final strike against Honshu and Hokkaido from 1 July to 15 August.

She departed Japanese waters on 7 September 1945, having embarked troops at Tokyo, and steamed home, arriving at New York City on 17 October. 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, Italy, and Norfolk. She was decommissioned on 11 February 1947, and was assigned to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Philadelphia Group.

With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea in June 1950, Monterey was recommissioned on 15 September 1950. She departed Norfolk on 3 January 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 1 and 11 October 1954, she took part in a flood rescue mission in Honduras. She departed Pensacola on 9 June 1955, and steamed to rejoin the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Philadelphia Group. She was decommissioned on 16 January 1956.

Reclassified AVT‑2 on 15 May 1959, Monterey was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 June 1970 and remained berthed at Philadelphia until removed for scrapping in May 1971.

Monterey received 11 battle stars for her World War II service.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

11 October 2023

Published: Thu Oct 12 15:28:24 EDT 2023