USS Boxer CV-21 (1945-1971)
The USS Boxer was an aircraft carrier of the Ticonderoga class. It weighed 27,100 tons and was commissioned in 1945. It was built too late for it to participate in any operation of World War II. However, the carrier was deployed to the Pacific after the war, making ten trips there between September 1945 and 1957.
Action in the Korean War
In 1950, after the Boxer’s third deployment in the Pacific, the Korean War began. In response, the USS Boxer brought planes and personnel to the combat zone in July 1950. It was then fitted with weapons and other tools needed for combat, after which it supported combat operations in Korea through the rest of 1950.
The USS Boxer took three more trips in the Korean War from March to October 1951, March to September 1952, and May to November 1953. During these trips the Boxer launched planes that attacked targets in North Korea and supported ground troops in battle on the front.
In August 1952, the Boxer experienced a deck fire and suffered minor damage. The damage was repaired in two weeks and the carrier returned to combat. When the Armistice began, the Boxer was re-designated CVA-21 in recognition of its status as an attack carrier of the Seventh Fleet. It stayed near Korea for two more trips in 1954 and 1955. Its last trip in the Pacific lasted from 1956 to 1957; the USS Boxer was re-designated CVS-21 and served as an anti-submarine vessel.
After the War
In 1957, the USS Boxer was used in an experiment for launching assault helicopters. In 1958, the Boxer was used in nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific. Soon after, in 1959, the carrier left the Pacific for the Atlantic Fleet and was re-designated LPH-4, an ‘interim amphibious assault’ vessel.
The next ten years saw the Boxer and its Marines as a crucial component of the amphibious assault capabilities of the United States Armed Forces. The ship worked mostly in the Caribbean, and was involved in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis as well as in the intervention in 1965 in the Dominican Republic. In 1964, the ship was used in Europe for Operation “Steel Pike.”
Then, in 1965, the Boxer participated in the Vietnam War, carrying airplanes and helicopters as a member of the First Calvary Division. In 1966, it aided in spacecraft recovery and then returned to Vietnam. The Boxer was decommissioned in December 1969 and eventually sold for scrap in 1971.
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.