USS Langley CV-1 (1922-1942)
Until October 1936 the USS Langley CV-1 remained an outfitted carrier. It was during this time she became a seaplane tender. Categorized AV-3 upon completion of the reorganization in early 1937, Langley was chiefly in use in the Pacific until she was retired.
Before her retirement the USS Langley had a heroic and interesting history. Originally the USS Langley, an 11,500-ton aircraft carrier, was transformed from the USS Jupiter (Collier #3) beginning in 1920. Custom-built in March 1922, she dispatched, pulled through and launched her first aircraft during start-up operations in the Atlantic and Caribbean areas.
Guided by Captain Joseph M. Reeves after being transferred to the Pacific in 1924, Langley was the ship from which Naval Aviators embarked on the development of carrier operating procedures and maneuvers that were vital to triumph in World War II. She remained a principal carrier even though larger and faster aircraft carriers were introduced to the fleet in the later 1920s. Langley had developed a soul that instilled a feeling of achievement and heroism.
Action in World War II
In 1937, the Langley was chiefly engaged in the Pacific for the duration of her usefulness. In 1939 she sailed to the Far East and remained there when the Pacific War commenced in December 1941. Still strong and able through the beginning months of the war, she sustained seaplane patrols and provided aircraft transportation services.
After the War
Sadly, while transporting Army fighters to the Netherlands East Indies on 27 February 1942, Langley was assailed by Japanese aircraft. “Sufficient to each day are the duties to be done and the trials to be endured.” These words spoken by T.L. Gayler convey the tale of the Langley’s end of service: after the attack by Japanese aircraft the Langley could no longer endure; disabled by several bombs, she was laid to rest by her accompanied destroyers.
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.