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Notes: The ship was laid down as the Cleveland-class light cruiser Tallahassee (CL-61) by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, 2 June 1941. She was reclassified as the Independence-class light aircraft carrier CVL-23 on 16 February 1942, renamed Princeton 31 March 1942, launched 18 October 1942, sponsored by Margaret Dodds (wife of Princeton University president Harold Dodds), and commissioned at Philadelphia 25 February 1943, Capt. George R. Henderson in command.
Class/Manufacturer History: The Independence-class aircraft carriers were a class of light carriers built for the United States Navy that served during World War II.
Adapted from the design for Cleveland-class light cruisers, this class of ship resulted from the interest of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in naval air power. With war looming, the former Assistant Secretary of the Navy noted no new fleet aircraft carriers were expected to be completed before 1944. He proposed to convert some of the many cruisers then under construction to carriers. Studies of cruiser-size aircraft carriers had shown the type had serious limitations, and on 13 October 1941, the General Board of the United States Navy replied that such a conversion showed too many compromises to be effective.
Undeterred, President Roosevelt ordered another study. On 25 October 1941, BuShips reported that aircraft carriers converted from cruiser hulls would be of lesser capability, but available much sooner. After the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the need for more carriers became urgent. The Navy accelerated construction of the 34,000 ton Essex-class aircraft carriers, but these large ships could not be finished quickly. So in January 1942, the Navy also ordered that a Cleveland-class light cruiser then under construction be completed instead as a light aircraft carrier. It became the USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24),the first ship of the Independence-class.
Item created by: Lethe on 2015-05-31 17:46:30. Last edited by gdm on 2016-12-03 09:37:38
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