USS Independence CVA-62 (1959-present)
The USS Independence was constructed January 1959 in New York State. She was one the first ships considered a “supercarrier” due to the angle of the deck and the ship’s weight. A test cruise was done to the Caribbean and The Independence was utilized for duty to the Mediterranean Sea more than a dozen times. The first voyage was from August 1960 to February 1961 and the ship was assigned to the Sixth Fleet.
The USS Independence spent time in the north Atlantic and Norwegian Sea locations. She was sent to work protecting northwestern Europe and the supply lines, and the ship often worked with NATO supporters.
Action in the Cold War and Vietnam
The ship was a participant in the Cuban Missile Crisis during maneuvers while she was in the Caribbean. This incident occurred during October and November 1962, during the USS Independence’s second tour with the Sixth Fleet.
The Independence was deployed to a location far away from its regular tour in 1965. She was the first ship in the sixth fleet to assist the military during the Vietnam War. The ship initiated raids more than 7000 times; she was a busy ship as she was a part of many missions. The Independence holds the honor for initiating the first strike to effectively hit an enemy missile from the surface.
Action in the Middle East
The USS Independence was reassigned to CV-62 in February 1973. The ship was deployed to the Mediterranean for the Yom Kippur War that was fought among several Arab nations and Israel, this happened later in 1973. The aircraft carrier was there to support U.S. concerns during the Cyprus crisis that arose in 1974 between Greece and Turkey.
The Independence was later sent to the Indian Ocean in 1980-81 when Iran took control of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The ship was responsible for issuing air strikes towards enemy targets during the Lebanon crisis that lasted from 1982 to 1984. Prior to the Lebanon crisis the ship worked to free the island of Grenada.
After the War
The ship’s final Mediterranean cruise occurred in 1985. In need of renovation, she was sent to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. The Independence spent the rest of her military career in South America and the Pacific. The ship was on duty for Operation Desert Shield; however, she was sent back to the U.S. within several months. Currently the great ship is resting at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
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.