The USS Oriskany, built in the New York Naval Yard, is a Ticonderoga class aircraft carrier. It was launched in October of 1945, but had some construction suspension issues until August of 1947 and was completed with a redesign.
Action in the Korean War
It was deployed in September of 1950 and spent time in the Mediterranean Sea until joining the Pacific Fleet in 1952. While part of this Fleet, the Oriskany saw action in the Korean War, from September of 1952 until May of 1953.
The ship served in the Pacific Fleet for about two decades and was deployed regularly to the Western Pacific Ocean. It was laid up for even more modernizations from 1957 until early in 1959. Some of those improvements included a new flight deck, steam catapults, and the enclosed bow that many other ships were equipped with to allow higher performing aircraft to take off of their decks. It was also the first carrier to be fitted with the Naval Tactical Data System in 1961.
Action in the Vietnam War
In 1966, during the ships second deployment, the Oriskany caught fire in the forward area, killing 44 sailors. It returned to the U.S. for necessary repairs and returned to the war zone in the middle of 1967. It was able to assist another ship that had a major fire on board, the USS Forrestal.
After the War
The Oriskany was finally deemed as seeing enough action and was decommissioned in 1976. It was removed from the registry of ships in 1989 and was sold for scrapping in 1994. It was not scrapped, however, because of the lack of workers in the ship breaking industry. In 2006 it was one of the ships that were intentionally sunk off the coast of Pensacola to serve as an artificial reef and diving attraction.
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.