The Commencement Bay-class escort aircraft carriers were based on the Maritime Commission T3 type tanker hull, which gave them a displacement of approximately 23,000 tons and a length of 557 feet (170 m). Unlike earlier CVE classes which were laid down as something else and converted to aircraft carriers mid-construction, the Commencement Bays were built as carriers from the keel up.
They entered service late in World War II USS Commencement Bay launched on 9 May 1944 so most of them saw little or no operational service. Thirty-three of them were ordered but many were cancelled prior to completion. Nineteen saw commissioned service in the US Navy, two were accepted from the builders but never commissioned, four were broken up on the ways at the end of the war and the remainder were cancelled before being laid down.
After the war they were seen as potential helicopter, anti-submarine, or auxiliary (transport) carriers, and some of the ships served in these roles during the Korean War. The onrushing jet age ended their lives, as the ships were no longer large enough to safely carry jet aircraft and all units were out of service by 1960.
USS Commencement Bay (CVE-105) (ex-St. Joseph Bay) was launched 9 May 1944 by Todd Pacific Shipyards, Tacoma, Washington. Commencement Bay was based deployed as a training ship in 1945. She was decommissioned 30 November 1946. She was re-classified CVHE-105, 12 June 1955; and AKV-37, 7 May 1959.