USS Wright CC-2 Command & Control Ship

HF - AN/WRT-2 transmitters, R-1051/URR receivers

LF - TAB-7 transmitter (100-555kc, 2kw), and AN/WRT-1 transmitters

SVLF - Shipboard Very Low Frequency
Wright had a 250kw (275kw?) VLF transmitter with a 10,000 ft. wire antenna which was hoisted by a manned but remote-controlled Kaman QH-43G helicopter (or by a balloon)
   - Photo of helicopter (Kaman QH-43G) used to lift 10,000' antenna
   - Please let me know if you have any additional info about this transmitter (manufacturer, nomenclature, etc.)

5/11/63 Command Ship WRIGHT Commissioned

The Navy's second fully-equipped mobile command post, command ship USS Wright (CC-2), was commissioned on May 11, 1963 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. The first of the command ship class is Northampton (CC-1), currently operating with the Fleet. The auxiliary aircraft transport Saipan is being converted to CC-3 at Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Company in Mobile, Alabama [ed. note - Saipan was instead converted to AGMR-2]. Wright is also a converted auxiliary transport.

The principal speaker at Wright's commissioning was Rear Admiral Allan L. Reed, USN, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Operations and Readiness.

The mission of the command ship class is to provide command and control facilities which will contribute to the defense of the United States through the world-wide communications facilities of the ship. To provide fully-equipped mobile command posts to top echelon commands and staffs, Wright will go to sea with the most extensive communication facilities ever placed aboard a U. S. Naval vessel. Wright's "voice of Command" can be sent to any ship, aircraft or station anywhere in the world.

Wright's command spaces have facilities for theater-type presentations similar to command posts ashore, including projection equipment and huge motion picture screens. An entire wall is used to display large status boards and maps which are mounted on tracks and can be quickly rolled into view. Overall packaging of the operational control spaces calls for rooms for war operations, plotting, chart and graphics, emergency action, briefings and conferences.

On the ship's antenna deck are mounted the largest and most powerful transmitting antennas ever installed on a U. S. Naval vessel. Over 200 officers and men are assigned to operate and maintain these antennas and the associated radio and communication equipment.

An entire room is given over to the ship's teletype printers, which can each record incoming messages at 100 words a minute. Wright can handle as many messages in a day as a major shore based communications station.

More than 1,720 personnel are expected to man Wright when the vessel joins the Fleet. This number includes prospective commands and staffs.

ALL HANDS Magazine - February 1964

NEWLY CONVERTED USS Wright (CC-2) is a combatant ship, yet she is not designed to sink, chase, find, follow or even scare the enemy. Although she is as large as a light cruiser her armament is limited to four 40-mm guns - less firepower than carried by an icebreaker.

Wright represents a relatively new idea in modern warfare: the command ship concept. From her decks, joint command staffs can control task force and fleet operations anywhere in the world. She carries the most extensive communications facilities ever installed aboard ship, and can handle as many messages as a major shore facility.

The ship has little need, and less space, for guns. Wright will be protected by the aircraft and guns of the task force with which she operates. Until recently the idea of an unarmed flagship was absurd. In fact, the fleet commander usually embarked in the biggest, most powerful ship under his control. According to theory, the task force commander could best lead his group into battle from the bridge of the most heavily armed ship. This is no longer so.

EARLY AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULTS during World War I1 gave birth to the command ship concept. Task force commanders, controlling landings on heavily defended beachheads, found coordination limited by the communications facilities at their disposal. Unfortunately, the problem could not be solved by simply adding communications equipment. Space was not available for both heavy gun batteries and the needed electronics gear; something had to go.

The British were the first to take step. In 1942 they converted a merchant ship to an amphibious headquarters command ship. The mission of this ship was communication and coordination. Its main battery - radio. One year later the Navy launched its first amphibious command ship. 

Amphibious communications ships were widely used during the remainder of the war, but the command ship concept was not applied to other Fleet operations until 1953. During that year, sparked by the success of the amphibious ships, USS Northampton (CC-1) was launched with the most extensive communications equipment ever put to sea at that time.

Even Northampton, however, carried guns. Her armament consisted of four 5-inch and eight 3-inch guns.

THERE IS LITTLE SIMILARITY between Northampton and the more recently converted Wright. Northampton does not look radically different from other, more conventional Navy ships, except for her large number of antennas. But Wright is a different matter. One of the weirdest-looking ships in commission, her antenna masts, which protrude from the flight deck, make her identification easy from any angle or distance.

Wright retains her wooden flight deck, renamed the antenna deck. Two fiber glass antennas stand over 150 feet above the center of this deck, while three slightly smaller antennas line the port side opposite the island. Whip antennas, used in local communication, extend outward from the edge of the flight deck.

The communications ship has not completely abandoned the airdale Navy, however. The after third of her flight deck is free of antennas, and is used to launch and recover helicopters. The ship can carry up to three helos.

Bellow decks, command spaces are not different from those used ashore. One entire wall is devoted to large status boards and maps which are mounted on tracks and may be quickly rolled into view, There are compartments for war operations, plotting, emergency action, briefs, and theatre presentations. An entire room is devoted to the shipís teletype printers. Each printer can record incoming messages at 100 words per minute.

Wright was converted on the West Coast,  but is expected to join the Atlantic fleet sometime before Christmas of this year

Saipan, Wright's sister ship, is presently being converted on the Gulf Coast and will become CC3. [Note - Saipan was instead converted to AGMR-2]

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Welcome Aboard pamphlet - 1964?

THE COMMAND SHIP CONCEPT

What makes WRIGHT radically different from the rest of America's fighting ships, and what is the role she plays in preserving the security and strength of our nation?

The Command Ship Concept is a relatively new idea emerging from the Second World War as a quite significant innovation in naval strategy. The concept was first utilized by the British when, in 1942, HMS BULOLO was converted from a merchant vessel into a 'headquarters ship'. The new mission of BULOLO was to coordinate Navy, Army, and Air Force operations from a unified command center in order to accomplish the ultimate objective of victory.

Aside from the unusual mission of this new ship an even more startling departure from then existing naval philosophy was the fact that her main armament did not consist of guns, but a far more efficient and subtle weapon -- extensive communications equipment. Up until this time naval theory had been to make the flagship the most heavily armed vessel in the fleet, the idea being that the fleet commander embarked in the most powerful man-o-war could best lead other supporting ships. However, the whole picture of naval warfare had been rapidly changing. The emphasis had shifted from battles at sea, where lines of mighty dreadnaughts slugged it out, to amphibious assaults on heavily armed beaches, where a high degree of control over ship-to-shore movements was required.

In this new type of warfare the commander in the flagship had to maintain constant communications with not only other ships, but with his air support, his forces already on the beach, and his supply lines. In general, he had to be able to communicate with all the forces engaged in the landing. This necessitated the innovation of the new type of command ship, as such communication equipment could not easily be built into a ship primarily designed as a man-o-war.

The success of the British with this new concept prompted the United States to follow suit, and in April, 1943, USS ANCON was converted from an amphibious flagship into a highly complicated communications ship. By the end of the war, in November, 1945, there were 17 ships like ANCON in the United States Fleet

The idea has been improved upon and today it has been expanded and refined into the 'Command Ship', based upon the less sophisticated communications ship. WRIGHT is the second Navy ship specifically designed as a Command Ship. The forerunner of WRIGHT was USS NORTHAMPTON (CC-1), which is presently homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, as is WRIGHT. NORTHAMPTON was the natural outgrowth of the communications ships of the Second World War.

WRIGHT -- vastly different both in appearance and operational concept from NORTHAMPTON -- is the first ship of the fleet specifically designed to provide the most extensive and powerful mobile communications for command and control of our country's fighting forces of today, as well as those of the future In order to provide top echelon commands and staffs w1th the equipment and facilities needed to command and control complex and detailed operations of modern warfare, WRIGHT puts to sea with the most extensive communications center ever installed in a ship.

More than 200 officers and men are assigned to operate the extensive equipment for transmitting and receiving radio communications. The equipment itself -- radio, teletype and facsimile transmitters and receivers -- can send voice, written text, and pictorial data from the ship as well as receive the same. A large space is given to the ship's teletype printers, each of which can record incoming messages at the rate of 100 words per minute. Another large room contains the many radio transmitters -- the heart of WRIGHT's communications system.

Her command spaces have facilities for war-room presentations similar to those of large command posts ashore, including projection equipment and motion picture screens. Entire walls are used to display large status boards and maps which are mounted on tracks so that they can easily be rolled into view. Called the 'Operational Command Center', the ship's command spaces also include rooms for planning and preparing illustrations, photographs, and other intelligence items which are necessary for accurate command and control.

WRIGHT is in fact a floating city. Her population -- the sailors and officers who keep the machinery of the city running -- live and work in an air conditioned environment. Electric power, enough to supply a city of 10,000 persons, is supplied by the ship's own generators. She has a dial telephone system containing over 275 phones which are constantly in use. The switchboard operator can handle four ship-to-shore calls at one time.

The Supply Department prepares and serves three meals a day to over 1100 persons who consume an average of 2,900 pounds of food daily.

An extensive educational organization allows all hands, through USAFI (United States Armed Forces Institute), to take practically any course available in an accredited high school or college.

This city in which we live has its own barber shops, library, stores, cobbler shop, soda fountain and motion pictures. While at sea the ship's entertainment system provides music and news to the entire crew, and a daily newspaper is published. Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish services are held weekly.

WRIGHT's crew is divided into nine departments: Administrative, Operations, Deck, Engineering, Communications, Supply, Medical, Dental and Navigation. Each of them is equally important in the proper operation of the ship. Without these men WRIGHT would be just an inanimate hunk of steel; with them she becomes a living ship -- in the finest Navy in the world.

THE HISTORY OF WRIGHT

The first USS WRIGHT, named in honor of Wilber Wright while his brother, Orville, was still living, was the Navy's first aircraft tender. She was commissioned in New York on 16 December 1921 as USS WRIGHT (AZ-1). In late 1944, WRIGHT became the flagship to Commander, Service Force, Seventh Fleet and was redesignated a 'headquarters ship'. Her hull number was changed to (AG-79).

On 1 February 1945 she was renamed USS SAN CLEMENTE and decommissioned on 29 May 1946 in New York.

Construction of the present WRIGHT was authorized by Congress in March 1934, however her keel was not laid until 21 August 1944. She was launched at Camden, New Jersey on 1 September 1945, and commissioned USS WRIGHT (CVL-49) at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 9 February 1947.

During the next eight years WRIGHT saw service in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, earning three service ribbons -- the Navy Occupation Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, and the United Nations Service Medal. ∑

After several years in the Reserve Fleet work was begun to convert WRIGHT to a Command Ship, and on 11 May 1963 she was recommissioned as USS WRIGHT (CC-2) in ceremonies at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington.

During the trip to her new home port of Norfolk, Virginia WRIGHT passed through the Panama Canal on 9 December 1963 and officially changed to the operational command of the Commander-in-Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet.

Since being homeported in Norfolk, WRIGHT has been conducting routine operations in the Western Atlantic.

1963 -hi-res photo scans
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1963 - hi-res photo scan
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cc2-120615-02.JPG (353212 bytes) 1964 photo
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Hi-res photo scan
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The photos below are after extensive antenna changes in 1965 or 66 - the dish on the black mast is the tropo link antenna.
hi-res photo scan
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hi-res photo scan
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Tropo link antenna - log periodic in background
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cc2-1402.jpg (350871 bytes) cc2-postcard-1511.jpg (988744 bytes) 1968 Winner of a Navy "E"
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1968 article - Autodin
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Artist's Concept of CC-2
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1967 booklet

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cc2-1970-book-01.jpg (79763 bytes) Please let me know if you have a copy I can buy or borrow to scan.

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1965 Antenna plans - Download complete set of plans showing spaces for communications, helicopter stowage, helix room, etc.

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