USS Intrepid CV-11 (1943-1982)
After being constructed in Virginia, the USS Intrepid was commissioned in August 1943. A 27,100 ton aircraft carrier and member of the Essex class, the Intrepid arrived in the Pacific in January 1944 to help the Kwajalein invasion through February of that year.
Action in World War II
In the middle of February, the Intrepid was damaged by an aerial torpedo while attacking a Japanese target at Truk. After going back to Pearl Harbor for repairs, the Intrepid returned to war in September 1944. After hitting targets at various Japanese targets in the Philippines, Okinawa, and elsewhere, the USS Intrepid helped sink enemy ships during the famous Battle of Leyte Gulf. The ship was damaged again on November 25, 1944, by a suicide plane. Over 60 men died on board, and the ship had to return to the U.S. yet again for repairs.
In March 1945, the Intrepid returned to battle in the Pacific, helping the attacks on the Japanese homeland. It was slightly damaged again by a kamikaze plane but carried on. In April, however, the Intrepid was struck once again by two kamikaze planes. While returning back to the action in August after further repairs, the Japanese surrendered. The ship helped occupation efforts through 1945 and 1946, and it was decommissioned in 1947.
After the War
The USS Intrepid was recommissioned in 1952 and was modernized for two years in Virginia. The Intrepid was renumbered CVA-11 and sported an improved deck and a new island. After being deployed to the Mediterranean in 1955 through 1956, the ship was upgraded further and continued its mission through 1961. In 1962 the ship received a new designation, CVS-11, and took on duties as an anti-submarine vessel.
Through the 1960s, the USS Intrepid continued its anti-submarine work in the Atlantic and Europe. The ship was then refitted with light attack planes and put into service for the Vietnam War. It saw action near Vietnam three times through 1966 and 1969. The ship then returned to its European assignment through the early 1970s. The USS Intrepid was finally decommissioned in 1974 and was anchored in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as an ‘exhibition ship’ for the bicentennial celebration. Its final resting place is in New York City – the ship serves as a museum that many people visit today.
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.