The fourth ship to bear the name Independence, this CVL-22 was launched in 1942 in Camden, New Jersey and commissioned by the Navy in early 1943. Independence was among the class of carriers created by converting cruiser hulls.
After completing training in the Caribbean, she sailed through the Panama Canal and joined the Pacific Fleet in San Francisco. She participated in crucial training exercises in Pearl Harbor and later sailed with fellow carriers Essex and Yorktown to raid Marcus Island to destroy the majority of installations on the island. Independence followed up this success through a similar operation against Wake Island in 1943.
Independence continued her attacks, finding success in shooting down six Japanese planes. After refueling at Espiritu Santo, she continued on to the Gilberts and completed strikes on Tarawa.
The Japanese launched a counterattack on Independence. She was attacked by aircraft that shot torpedoes. One of the torpedoes hit her and caused serious damage. She returned to San Francisco in early 1944 for repairs.
Fixed and Ready to Strike
Independence continued to serve missions designed to destroy the enemy. When it became clear that the Japanese were not launching counterattacks, she shifted to regular day-type duties and provided night-time reconnaissance duties where needed. She further played important roles in missions in the Philippines and Okinawa. After the war, she helped transport veterans home from the Pacific theatre. Her distinguished service during World War II earned her eight battle stars.
Atomic Bomb Testing
After her valiant service during WWII, Independence served as a target vessel during the atomic bomb tests on Bikini. Though she did not sink from the blasts, she did sustain damage and was studies for radioactive exposure. She was decommissioned and sunk off the coast of the Farallon Islands.
CVL-22 General Specifications
Class: Independence class light carrier
Complement: 1569 Officers and Enlisted
Displacement: 10662 tons
Length: 623 feet
Beam: 71.5 feet
Draft: 26 feet
Range: 13 000 nautical miles
Final Disposition: Sunk off Okinawa 6 April 1945