The USS Tarawa, built at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia, was christened by Mrs. Julian C. Smith, on May 12th, 1945. It was commissioned at the end of 1945. This Ticonderoga class aircraft carrier weighed in at 27,100-tons. Its first voyage was to the Caribbean in 1945. In 1947, it was assigned to the Pacific Fleet where it spent the better part of a year along the western U.S. coastline. It was sent to the east coast by traveling west around the globe with ports in Singapore, Ceylon, China, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean Sea on its way to Norfolk, Virginia. It arrived in Virginia in early 1949 and was decommissioned in June of 1950.
Action in the Korean War
The USS Tarawa was recommissioned in February 1951, after the beginning of the Korean War. During the war it was assigned to operation in the Atlantic; it also served in the Mediterranean Sea with the Sixth Fleet.
After the War
The Tarawa was reclassified as a CVA-40 in late 1952. The following September it began a year of cruising eastward around the globe, participating in operations in the Mediterranean and the Far East during its voyage. It also represented the U.S. during the ceremonies commemorating the Battle of the Coral Sea in Australia during the voyage. The Tarawa arrived at NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island to the sound of the Newport Navy Band playing “Old Lang Syne.” The band aboard the ship responded with “It’s Been a Long Time.” Once it had returned to the Atlantic, the vessel was converted to a support aircraft carrier for anti-submarine warfare. Once the conversion was complete, in January of 1955, it took part in an operation along the east coast and the Caribbean, involved with amphibious helicopter and anti-submarine warfare exercises. In mid-1960, the USS Tarawa was decommissioned and placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The following year it was redesignated as an aircraft transport with a new hull number, AVT-12, but it was never used for that purpose. The USS Tarawa received its final decommission in June of 1967. It was finally sold for scrap in October of 1968.
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. References: