USS Bennington CV-20 (1944-1993)

The USS Bennington was an aircraft carrier that weighed over 27,000 tons. She was built at a navy yard in New York, where she was later commissioned in 1944. USS Bennington set sail through the Panama Canal in December of 1944 and continued on to the Western Pacific by February of the next year.

Action in World War II

Her first battles took place during World War II and were targeted mostly at Japan, both the mainland and Japanese islands. She even helped sink the Yamato, a large Japanese battleship. Due to a typhoon, the USS Bennington’s flight deck took damage in June.  The damage did not seem to stop her; she still stayed in battle mode until Okinawa became secure in that same month. USS Bennington finally returned to the United States in October of 1945. Bennington took on restricted missions in between the West Coast and Hawaii before being deactivated, in the East Coast, the following year.

After the War

In the year 1950, the Bennington was brought back into service to acquire several upgrades known as SCB-27A modernization. This would enable her to carry and tend to modern aircraft of that time. She was then renamed CVA-20. Bennington operated out of the Atlantic but could be seen in the Mediterranean for a short time as well. In April of 1953, the USS Bennington suffered a mishap in which her boiler room exploded. In 1954 her hydraulic catapult exploded, killing 103 men, after which she was repaired and upgraded to an angled flight deck and enclosed bow.

USS Bennington took on many tasks in the Pacific. From serving with the Seventh Fleet in 1955 to her involvement in the Vietnam War in 1964, Bennington served the military and our nation. She even became an aircraft carrier that specialized in anti-submarine hostilities. After years of service, she was resigned to the Reserve Fleet of Bremerton in January of 1970. After two decades of serving she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register. In 1993 USS Bennington, now known as CVS-20, was sold and towed to India where she was later broken down for parts.

Asbestos in Navy Ships

Although an essential component of the naval fleet, even today, aircraft carriers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.

References:

Naval Historical Center