USS COWPENS CV 25
USS Cowpens (CV 25) was launched January 17, 1943 by New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J., sponsored by Mrs. M. H. Spruance, daughter of Vice Admiral W. F. Halsey; and commissioned May 28, 1943, Captain R. P. McConnell in command. She was reclassified CVL 25 on July 15, 1943.
Departing Philadelphia August 29, 1943, Cowpens arrived at Pearl Harbor September 19 to begin the active and distinguished war career which was to earn a Navy Unit Commendation. She sailed with Task Force (TF) 14 for the strike on Wake Island on October 5 and 6th, then returned to Pearl Harbor to prepare for strikes on the Marshall Islands preliminary to invasion. She sortied from Pearl Harbor November 10 to launch air strikes on Mille and Makin atolls between November 19-24, and Kwajalein and Wotje on December 4, returning to her base December 9, 1943.
Joining the vast carrier TF 58, USS Cowpens (CVL 25) sailed from Pearl Harbor January 16, 1944 for the invasion of the Marshalls. Her planes pounded Kwajalein and Eniwetok the last three days of the month to prepare for the assault landing on the 31st. Using Majuro as a base, the force struck at Truk on February 16 and 17th and the Marianas on 21st and 22nd before putting in to Pearl Harbor March 4, 1944. Returning to Majuro, TF 58 based here for attacks on the western Carolines; Cowpens supplied air and antisubmarine patrols during the raids on Palau, Yap, Ulithi and Woleai from March 30 to April 1. After operating off New Guinea during the invasion of Hollandia from April 21-28th, Cowpens took part in the strikes on Truk, Satawan and Ponape between April 29 and May 1, returning to Majuro May 14 for training.
From June 6 to July 10, 1944, USS Cowpens operated in the Marianas operation. Her planes struck the island of Saipan to aid the assault troops, and made supporting raids on Iwo Jima, Pagan, Rota, and Guam. They also took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea on June 19 and 20th, accounting for a number of the huge tally of enemy planes downed. After a brief overhaul at Pearl Harbor, Cowpens rejoined the fast carrier task force at Eniwetok on August 17. On the 29th, she sailed for the pre-invasion strikes on the Palaus, whose assault was an essential preliminary to the return to the Philippines. From September 13-17, 1944, she was detached from the force to cover the landings on Morotai, then rejoined it for sweep, patrol, and attack missions against Luzon from Sept. 21-24th.
USS Cowpens (CVL 25), with her task group, flew strikes to neutralize Japanese bases on Okinawa and Formosa from October 10-14, 1944, and when USS Canberra (CA 70) and USS Houston (CL 81) were hit by torpedoes, Cowpens provided air cover for their safe withdrawal, rejoining her task group October 20, 1944. En route to Ulithi, she was recalled when the Japanese Fleet threatened the Leyte invasion, and during the Battle of Surigao Strait phase of the decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf on October 25 and 26, the carrier provided combat air patrol for the ships pursuing the fleeing remnant of the Japanese fleet.
Continuing her support of the Philippines advance, Cowpens' planes struck Luzon repeatedly during December. During the disastrous typhoon of December 18, 1944, USS Cowpens lost one man, planes and equipment but skillful work by her crew prevented major damage, and she reached Ulithi safely Dec. 21 to repair her storm damage.
Between December 30, 1944 and January 26, 1945, Cowpens was at sea for the Lingayen Gulf landings. Her planes struck targets on Formosa, Luzon, the Indo-Chinese coast and the Hong Kong-Canton area and Okinawa during January. On February 10, USS Cowpens sortied from Ulithi for the Iwo Jima operation, striking the Tokyo area, supporting the initial landings from Feb. 19-22nd, and hitting Okinawa on March 1, 1945.
After overhaul at San Francisco and training at Pearl Harbor, Cowpens sailed June 13, 1945 for San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on her way striking Wake Island on 20th. Rejoining TF 58, Cowpens sailed from San Pedro Bay July 1 to join in the final raids on the Japanese mainland. Her planes pounded Tokyo, Kure, and other cities of Hokkaido and Honshu until August 15.
Remaining off Tokyo Bay until the occupation landings began August 30, USS Cowpens (CVL 25) launched photographic reconnaissance missions to patrol airfields and shipping movements, and to locate and supply prisoner-of-war camps. Men from Cowpens were largely responsible for the emergency activation of Yokosuka airfield for Allied use. Between November 8, 1945 and January 28, 1946, Cowpens made two voyages to Pearl Harbor, Guam, and Okinawa to return veterans.
Placed in commission in reserve at Mare Island December 3, 1946, USS Cowpens was decommissioned January 13, 1947. She was reclassified as an aircraft transport with a new hull number of AVT 1 in May 1959, but was stricken from the Navy List on November 1st that year and sold for scrap.