The USS Cabot CVL-28 was built in Camden, New Jersey. She was an Independence class small aircraft carrier that started as the light cruiser Wilmington CL-79, but was later converted and commissioned in July of 1943. At the beginning of 1944 she made her way to the Pacific war zone, where she joined the fast carrier striking force of the Pacific Fleet.
Action in World War II
From the time she joined the Pacific Fleet until the end of the war, she was involved with every major carrier action that the fleet was part of. Some of her most important missions were the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Okinawa Campaign, the Iwo Jima Operation, the Marshalls Operation, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the carrier strikes on Japan and many more. After making it through all these campaigns with no damage, she was finally damaged by kamikazes in November of 1944. The damage was not enough to put her out of commission, however, so she stayed in operation.
After the War
After Japan surrendered in August of 1945, the Cabot helped with the occupation, and then went home in November of that year. The Cabot was finally decommissioned in 1947. She then came back to active duty in October of 1948 in the role of Naval Air reserve training carrier. In the early 1950s, she returned to Europe to be transformed into a ship to be used for the anti-submarine support role. Out of commission from January of 1955 until May of 1959, she was then given the new number AVT-3 and classified as an aircraft transport.
After remaining in storage for almost twelve years, Spain took her on a loan and changed her name to Dedalo. After five years, Spain purchased the ship. She was then given to a private organization in the United States in 1989 so they could convert her to a museum ship. These plans never materialized, so she was finally sold for scrap in 1997. Many legal attempts were made to preserve the Cabot in the next three years, but she was finally cut up in November of 2000, in Brownsville, Texas.
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.