USS Long Island (CVE-1) (originally AVG-1 and then ACV-1) was lead ship of her class and the first escort carrier of the United States Navy. She was also the second ship to be named after Long Island, New York.
She was laid down on 7 July 1939, as the C-3 cargo liner Mormacmail, under Maritime Commission contract, by the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Chester, Pennsylvania as Yard No 185, launched on 11 January 1940, sponsored by Ms. Dian B. Holt, acquired by the Navy on 6 March 1941, and commissioned on 2 June 1941 as Long Island (AVG-1), Commander Donald B. Duncan in command.
In the tense months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Long Island operated out of Norfolk, Virginia, conducting experiments to prove the feasibility of aircraft operations from converted cargo ships. The data gathered by her crew greatly improved the combat readiness of later "baby flattops". Just after the Japanese attack, she escorted a convoy to Newfoundland and qualified carrier pilots at Norfolk before departing for the West Coast on 10 May 1942. Reaching San Francisco on 5 June, the ship immediately joined Admiral William S. Pye's four battleships and provided air cover while at sea to reinforce Admiral Chester Nimitz's forces after their victory in the Battle of Midway. She left the formation on 17 June and returned to the West Coast to resume carrier pilot training.
Long Island departed San Diego on 8 July and arrived Pearl Harbor on the 17th. After a training run south to Palmyra Island, she loaded two squadrons of Marine Corps aircraft and got underway for the South Pacific on 2 August. Touching at Fiji on 13 August, she then steamed to a point 200 mi (170 nmi; 320 km) southeast of Guadalcanal and launched her aircraft (19 Grumman F4F Wildcats and 12 Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers). These planes, the first to reach Henderson Field, were instrumental in the Guadalcanal campaign and went on to compile a distinguished war record. Her mission was accomplished. Reclassified ACV-1 on 20 August, Long Island sailed for Efate Island, New Hebrides, and arrived on 23 August.
Long Island returned to the West Coast on 20 September, as the new "baby flattops" took up the slack in the Pacific war zones. For the next year, the escort carrier trained carrier pilots at San Diego, an unglamorous but vital contribution to victory. Long Island was reclassified CVE-1 on 15 July 1943. In 1944–1945, she transported airplanes and their crews from the West Coast to various outposts in the Pacific. After V-J Day, she revisited many of these same bases while transporting soldiers and sailors back home during Operation Magic Carpet.
Long Island decommissioned on 26 March 1946 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 12 April, she was sold to Zidell Ship Dismantling Company of Portland, Oregon on 24 April 1947 for scrapping. This was not to be. The old warrior still had some life left; on 12 March 1948, she was acquired by the Canada-Europe Line for conversion to merchant service. Upon completion of conversion in 1949, she was renamed Nelly, and served as an immigrant carrier between Europe and Canada. In 1953, she was renamed Seven Seas. In 1955, she was chartered to the German Europe-Canada Line. In April 1963, made her last voyage. On 17 July 1965, she had a serious fire and was towed to St John's, Newfoundland. She was repaired and started her last voyage on 13 September 1966. She was bought by Rotterdam University the same year and employed as a students' hostel until 1977, when she was scrapped in Belgium.
Long Island received one battle star for her World War II service.