USS Cowpens CVL-25 (1943-1960)
This small aircraft carrier, an 11,000 ton member of the Independence class, was built in New Jersey and served from 1943, including World War II, to 1960. It was originally commissioned with the number CV-25 in May 1943, but eventually was renamed CVL-25. In July 1943, the USS Cowpens traveled to the Pacific Ocean to join the battles against Japan in World War II. The ship’s first battle was an October 1943 raid near Wake Island.
Action in World War II
From November 1943 to February 1944, the USS Cowpens aided the invasion of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. Through May 1944, she joined other ships to attack enemy targets in the center of the Pacific Ocean and in the area around New Guinea. In June and July of 1944, the ship aided the Navy in the Marianas campaign and also took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
Later that year, in September 1944, the USS Cowpens helped the invasion of Palaus and Morotai, and aided in other raids and battles, like Formosa, the Philippines, and Okinawa, in the rest of 1944. She was also involved in the crucial Battle of Leyte Gulf. She continued to facilitate raids and battles in the first few months of 1945, present at places like the South China Sea, Iwo Jima, and Lingayen Gulf.
After the War
The USS Cowpens returned to the West Coast of the United States for refurbishments and repairs. She then returned to war in June 1945. As the Pacific War wound down, the Cowpens attacked targets in the Wake Islands and other Japanese targets. When the war ended, the Cowpens helped support the occupation of Japan, and through 1946, brought veterans of the war home from the Pacific theater.
In January 1947, the USS Cowpens was decommissioned and spent the rest of its service time as a member of the Reserve Fleet. In May 1959, the USS Cowpens was reassigned as an aircraft transport and given the new number ATV-1. However, the ship was eventually taken apart and sold for scrap metal in 1960, putting the closing chapter on the ship’s history.
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.