The USS Bataan was a small aircraft carrier that was built in Camden, New Jersey. Weighing a total of 11,000 tons, it started out as a light cruiser named Buffalo Cl-99 and was later converted to a carrier, prior to its launching in November, 1943.
Action in World War II
The Bataan was assigned to the Pacific at the time of its commissioning and participated in attacks on Japanese positions from April to June of 1944. Those attacks, known as the Battle of the Philippine Sea, took place in New Guinea, Mariana, and the Caroline and Bonin Islands. Other supported attacks were on Hollandia (now Jayapura), Satawan, Ponape and Truk from April 29 through May 1, 1944.
After an extensive overhaul in the U.S, the Bataan was assigned to the Western Pacific in 1945. Assaults in the Philippines included raids against the Japanese home islands and the Okinawa Campaign. During those assaults, the Bataan assisted in the sinking of the Yamato on April 7th and the I-56 on April 18th.
In October of 1945, the Bataan was assigned to the Task Group of Rear Admiral Gerald F. Bogan. Upon Japan’s surrender in October of 1945, the Bataan returned to the U.S. It then was used to assist in the transporting of returning servicemen, a task known as “Magic Carpet” duty. It arrived in Philadelphia on January 10, 1946, and inactivity led to its first decommissioning in February of 1947.
Action in The Korean War
In May of 1950, in Philadelphia, the USS Bataan was recommissioned and back in action, transporting Air Force cargo and personnel from San Diego to Tokyo Bay. Soon after, it arrived at the Korean war zone. The United Nations’ ground operations were supported by the Bataan’s planes from December of 1950 to June of 1951.
On July 9th, 1951, the ship underwent another overall in Bremerton, Washington. It was once again assigned to the Far East in Yokosula, Japan and then to Buckner Bay, Okinawa. There it participated in Korean War actions from January of 1952 to May of 1953. The Bataan conducted various training maneuvers and air exercises. It also continued to operate by transporting personnel and supplies to fighting zones.
After the War
After its final assignment to Asiatic waters in mid 1953, the Bataan was decommissioned for a second time in April, 1954 . In May of 1959, and upon its final decommissioning, it was reclassified as an aircraft transport (AVT-4). In September of that same year, it was stricken from the Navy List and by May of 1961 the USS Bataan was sold for scrapping.
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.