Long Island, U.S. Escort Carrier

Photograph of Long Island (escort carrier)

National Archives #80-G-26567


Tonnage 7886 tons standard displacement
Dimensions 492' by 69' by 25'6"
150.0m by 21.0m by 7.8m
Maximum speed       16 knots
Complement 408
Aircraft 420' (128m) flight deck
1 catapult
1 elevator
16 aircraft
Armament 1 4"/50 gun
3"/50 AA guns
5 20mm Oerlikon AA guns
4 0.50 machine guns
1-shaft 7-cylinder Sulzer diesel engine (8500 shp)
Bunkerage 1434 tons fuel oil
100,000 gallons (380,000 liters) aviation gasoline
1942-6: SC search radar installed.

1944: 4" replaced by 3"/50 and numerous twin 20mm added. Catapult installed. Radar upgraded to SC-2.

The Long Island was originally the Mormacmail, a standard Maritime Commission C3-S ship carrying cargo and livestock between North and South America. She was converted to an escort carrier in 1941. The claim that this was done at the urging of President Roosevelt, who was fascinated with the British escort carrier concept, is considered doubtful by Chesneau (1992), who points out that the U.S. Navy had been looking at auxiliary carrier concepts since at least the early 1930s, and that Long Island actually commissioned more than three months before Audacity, Britain's first escort carrier, saw action. However, it is true that Roosevelt assigned a high priority to the conversion, stipulating that it be completed in three months.

She was a rather clumsy conversion, with a flush deck, no island, and not much of a hangar.  Her old superstructure was still visible beneath the flight deck.  But she inaugurated a concept that would prove tremendously valuable to the U.S. Navy in both the European and Pacific theaters.

Long Island was committed to the Pacific on 17 May 1942.  She survived the war.


Chesneau (1992)

DANFS (accessed 2008-1-17)

Morison (1949)

Worth (2001)

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