USS Randolph, a Ticonderoga class carrier, was built in Newport News. She was commissioned in October of 1944 and was sent to the Pacific Ocean in December of the same year. It would take her until February of 1945 before she would finally see combat and that first action was to send her planes to strike at the Japanese Home Islands.
Action in World War II
She would also launch her planes in support of the Iwo Jima invasion. However, she was not going to get by unscratched as a suicide bomber would strike her while she was at anchor in the Ulithi Atoll. She was able to be repaired locally, but unfortunately she would end up losing twenty five of her crew members during this action.
Following her return in April of 1945 she would continue striking at Japanese targets in Okinawa until late May 1945. During the latter part of those strikes, she would even be considered the flagship of Task Force 58. After she completed the job of helping secure Okinawa, she would turn her attention to the Japanese home islands and would help strike at them for the rest of the war.
After the War
After peace was reached in the Pacific, she was transferred to the Atlantic Ocean and the fleet that is present here. She would end up make two trips to what used to be the European front to bring home the soldiers. She was then turned into a training ship and would visit Europe twice during that time period before she was put out of service in the Philadelphia Naval Yard in 1948. However, that was short lived and in 1953 she would be recommissioned as an attack aircraft carrier to be sent out to the Mediterranean Sea as part of the Sixth Fleet.
In 1955 she would receive a modern flight deck and an enclosed bow. After that she would be sent on three more Sixth Fleet deployments before being changed into an anti-submarine support carrier. She would also help as a support ship for the early Mercury missions on space flight. The USS Randolph would be decommissioned in 1969 before being stricken from the Register in 1973. She was eventually sold for scrapping in 1975 bringing to end the storied history of this carrier that helped win World War II.
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.