The USS Ticonderoga is the first of the Essex class aircraft carriers to be launched. She was built in Newport News, commissioned in May 1944 and sent to the West Indies for her shakedown cruise before going through the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean. After she reached that she would serve first as a transport for aircraft going to Hawaii. She would also take place in the replenishment of ships while underway.
Action in World War II
During that time period her crew and air group obtained training for the war against Japan. She would go on to launch her first strikes against targets in November of 1944 against the North Philippines area. She continued launching strikes in this region for a couple of months even in the face of a major typhoon.
Early 1945 would see the Ticonderoga raiding the Japanese assets in Indochina, China, Luzon and Formosa. She was not be spared by the Japanese suicide bombers and was struck twice, which killed 140 sailors and forced the ship to return to the States to have major repairs for the next two and a half months. After returning she struck at the home islands of Japan. When the war ended she was assigned to move troops back to the States from the Pacific. She was decommissioned in 1947 at the Puget Sound Navy Yard.
After the War
After five years the ship was reactivated on a temporary basis and given an extensive modernization. She then served in the Atlantic Fleet for two years and made one Mediterranean deployment. In 1956 she had another refitting that installed an angled flight deck and closed bow so she would be able to have the higher performing aircraft coming off of her deck.
During her stays in the Pacific she undertook ten deployments into the Western Pacific. Her planes would strike at the North Vietnamese and later she was involved in the Tonkin Gulf Incident that eventually led to an increase in U.S. involvement in Southeast Asian combat operations. The Vietnam War dominated the Ticonderoga’s next Seventh Fleets deployments. In October of 1969 she was redesignated and converted into an anti-submarine warfare support carrier. While in this capacity the ship took part in two cruises to Asia. After 30 years of service, she was sold for scrap in 1974.
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.