USS Monterey CV-26 (1943-1971)
Weighing in at 11,000 tons, the USS Monterey is an Independence class aircraft carrier built in Camden, New Jersey. Starting out as a light cruiser, the Dayton (CL-78), the ship was later turned into an aircraft carrier, and it was commissioned with the hull number CV-26 in June of 1943. However, the number was changed a month later to CVL-26. Later that same year, Monterey traversed the Panama Canal all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It went on to take part in the Gilbert Islands invasion in November. The next month, she was in Kavieng, New Ireland where planes were engaged in an air raid.
Action in World War II
In the first six months of 1944, the Monterey took part in four major military operations of the Second World War: the Marshalls operation, Japanese attacks in New Guinea and the central Pacific, the Marianas invasion, and finally the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
After two months of a major overhaul, the ship later joined up with the fast carriers to participate in air strikes against the Japanese on the Philippines, Wake Island, and the Ryukyus. She also took part in the Battle at Leyte Gulf in October. Towards the end of the year, the Monterey suffered damage after getting caught in a typhoon. She returned to the U.S. to undergo repairs and another major overhaul.
Once repairs were complete, she returned to fight the Japanese once again, this time in the battle of Okinawa. After that, she spent two months engaged in attacks over the Japanese main land. After crossing the Pacific yet again to return veteran troops back home, the carrier made her way to the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was used to transport personnel between Italy and the United States. Monterey was then decommissioned in early 1947.
After the War
Her service wasn’t at an end, though. The Korean War was the primary conflict that called the ship back to duty. She was recommissioned late in 1950 and held a position in the Atlantic. After that, the ship then went to Pensacola, Florida where she was used as a training carrier until the middle of 1955. After being decommissioned in early 1956, the Monterey was later reclassified to transport aircraft. However, she never had any active duty. The ship’s tenure ended in May of 1971 when she was sold for scrap.
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.