The Princeton was a 27,000 ton Ticonderoga class aircraft carrier built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and was commissioned in November of 1945. Designated CV-37, it was deployed in the Atlantic Ocean until June 1946. In late 1946, it was deployed to the Western Pacific, and then again in 1948. The Princeton was decommissioned in June of 1949 as a part of the Truman Administration’s cutback in defense spending after World War II.
Action in the Korean War
With the start of the Korean War, the Princeton was recommissioned, crewed primarily with naval reservists, and was deployed with Task Force 77 to support the United Nations troops stationed in Korea. The vessel’s first Asian deployment was from December 1950 through August 1951. Its second deployment was from April through October 1952. The Princeton was then redesignated as CVA-37, and with that designation served in the Korean conflict from March 1953 until the end of that war in the summer of 1953.
After the Korean War
The Princeton was reclassified in January 1954, changing from attack aircraft carrier to anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carrier. Designated CVS-37, it operated in the Pacific Ocean until deployed to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf area in 1957 until 1958. The Princeton was scheduled for decommission in 1959, but instead, in March, was redesignated LPH-5 and converted to an amphibious assault ship.
Action in the Vietnam War
Moving back and forth from the eastern to the western Pacific, the Princeton carried U.S. Marines in missions of vertical envelopment of amphibious warfare objectives, especially during the war in Southeast Asia. In the spring of 1965, it landed Marines at Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam, and during that summer transported Marines from the U.S. to Vietnam. From February through August 1966, the Princeton offered naval support for several Army and Marine combat operations in Vietnam. It continued its active involvement in the war through the end of the decade.
After the Vietnam War
In addition to its service in the Vietnam War, in April of 1969, the Princeton was a space recovery ship for the return of the Apollo 10 lunar landing mission. In January 1970, the USS Princeton was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Register, and then sold for scrap in May 1971.
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.