En route, Wright, escorted by Forrest Royal, was detached to ferry men and gear of Marine Night Fighter Squadron (VMF(N)) 114 to Port Lyautey, French Morocco, an operation she completed on 4 September. Two days later, Wright and her escort rejoined the task force; and they reached the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, on the 10th.
Three days later, Wright put to sea with two British destroyers acting as her plane guard for NATO Operation "Mainbrace." She conducted air defense maneuvers and tactics evolutions with the British carriers HMS Illustrious (R-87) and HMS Eagle (R-05) en route to Rotterdam, Holland, where the force arrived on the 25th. On 29 September, Wright departed Rotterdam, bound for the United States, and arrived at Newport on 9 October.
That day, she embarked Rear Admiral W. L. Erdman, Commander, Carrier Division 4, and spent the next few months engaged in carrier qualification duties in waters ranging from Newport to the Virginia capes, before she began her second deployment to the Mediterranean. She reached Golfe Juan on 21 February 1953 and operated with the 6th Fleet until 31 March, when she sailed for home, via the Azores.
Wright returned to Newport and, after a rigorous schedule of training in Narragansett Bay, sailed on 5 May for the Gulf of Mexico. During that training cruise, she visited Houston, Tex., where she hosted some 14,000 visitors on 16 and 17 May. Returning to Quonset Point on 28 May, Wright operated locally for another month before shifting south for a stint of operations out of Mayport, Fla.
Wright was overhauled at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard from 31 July to 21 November and then conducted refresher training in Cuban waters from 4 January to 16 February 1954. Next, after departing Davisville, R.I., on 5 April, Wright sailed for the Far East--via the Panama Canal, San Diego, Calif., and Pearl Harbor--and reached Yokosuka, Japan, on 28 May. The carrier, with Marine Attack Squadron 211 embarked, operated with the 7th Fleet off both coasts of Korea and also off Okinawa before she visited Hong Kong from 24 to 30 September. Departing Yokosuka on 15 October, Wright arrived at San Diego on the last day of October and entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard where she remained until 23 February 1955.
At that point, Wright was attached to CarDiv 17, Pacific Fleet, and operated locally out of San Diego until 3 May, when she put to sea as part of TG 7.3--formed around the flagship Mount McKinley (AGC-27)--for the atomic test, Operation "Wigwam," carried out in Pacific waters. Returning to the west coast on 20 May, Wright subsequently cruised to Pearl Harbor briefly before she entered the Mare Island Naval Shipyard on 14 July to commence preparation for inactivation. After shifting to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., on 17 October, for the final phase of preservation for inactivation, Wright was decommissioned at Puget Sound on 15 March 1956 and assigned to the Bremerton group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
During her time in reserve, Wright was reclassified on 15 May 1959, an auxiliary aircraft transport, AVT-7. However, she never served in that role, but remained inactive until 15 March 1962, when she was taken to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for conversion to a command ship and reclassified as CC-2. The conversion--which lasted a year--included extensive alterations to enable the ship to function as a fully equipped mobile command post afloat for top echelon commands and staff for strategic direction of area or world-wide military operations. Facilities were built into the ship for world-wide communications and rapid, automatic exchange, processing, storage, and display of command data. A portion of the former hangar deck space was utilized for special command spaces and the extensive electronics equipment required, while a major portion of the flight deck was utilized for specially designed communications antenna arrays. In addition, facilities were provided to enable the ship to operate three helicopters.
Recommissioned at Puget Sound on 11 May 1963, Capt. John L. Arrington, II, in command, Wright (CC-2) operated locally on trials and training evolutions in the waters off the Pacific Northwest until 3 September, when she departed Seattle and proceeded to San Diego which she reached three days later. For the next three weeks, the ship trained in nearby waters before she returned to Puget Sound on 30 September to commence her post shakedown availability.
Following those repairs and alterations--which took up all of the month of October and most of November--Wright prepared to shift to her new home port, Norfolk. She departed Seattle on 26 November, stopped briefly at San Diego three days later to embark civilian engineers and personnel who were to conduct surveys of communications and air conditioning equipment, and was steaming south off the coast of northern Mexico when she picked up a distress message from the Israeli merchantman, SS Velos, on 1 December. Wright altered course and rendezvoused with Velos later that same day. The command ship's medical officer was flown across to the Israeli ship and treated a seaman suffering from kidney stones. Upon completion of that mission of mercy, Wright resumed her voyage to Balboa.
Transiting the Panama Canal on 7 and 8 December, Wright steamed via St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and moored at the Hampton Roads Army Terminal on 18 December. After a subsequent brief operational period off the Virginia capes, Wright entered port on 21 December and remained there through Christmas and New Year's.
For the next six years, Wright operated out of Norfolk, training to perform her assigned mission as an emergency command post afloat. Regular overhauls performed at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard saw the ship receiving the repairs and alterations that continually improved her capabilities to carry out her task. She operated primarily off the Virginia capes, but ranged as far north as Bar Harbor, Maine, and as far south as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Punta del Este, Uruguay. Her other ports of call included Newport, Fort Lauderdale and Port Everglades Fla., Boston, New York City, Annapolis, Philadelphia, Norfolk, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On occasion, she alternated on "alert" status with Northampton (CC-1).
There were highlights and breaks from the cycle of periods in port and at sea. From 11 to 14 April 1967, Wright lay at anchor off the coast of Uruguay, providing a world-wide communications capability in support of President Lyndon B. Johnson as he attended the Latin American summit conference at Punta del Este. On 8 May 1968, Wright went to the aid of Guadalcanal (LPH-7) after that amphibious assault ship had suffered a machinery failure and had gone dead in the water, 180 miles south of Norfolk. She towed the helpless assault ship 84 miles before other ships arrived on the scene to help out. Later that same year, Wright received the coveted Ney award in the large mess afloat category. That award is given annually to the ship that maintains the highest food standards. During the Pueblo (AGER-2) crisis in February 1969, Wright--while en route to Port Everglades, Fla.--was hurriedly recalled to Norfolk and, upon her arrival there, stood by, on alert. Ultimately decommissioned on 27 May 1970, Wright was placed in reserve at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. She was stricken for disposal 1 Dec 1977. Sold and scrapped in 1980.
USS Wright CVL-49 Association