Launched in 1943 in Camden, New Jersey, USS Cowpens (CVL-25) reported for duty at Pearl Harbor in the fall of the year. Participating in attacks on Wake Island and the Marshall Islands, she also launched air strikes on Mille and Makin atolls and Kwajalein and Wotje.
She returned to Pearl Harbor to prepare for the next mission, to invade the Marshall Islands. Planes from her decks went on to attack Kwajalein and Eniwetok. Later, during the raids upon the Palaus, she helped supply air and antisubmarine patrols. From her spot off of New Guinea, she was able to assist in the strikes on Truk, Satawan, and Ponape.
Cowpens played an active and vital role in the military operations of the Pacific, including the following:
- Attacks on Saipan
- Raids on Iwo Jima, Pagan, Rota, Guam
- Battle of the Philippines
- Invasion strikes on the Palaus
- Covered landings on Morotai
- Strikes over Okinawa and Formosa
- Provided air cover for withdrawal of damaged ships Canberra and Houston
- Struck targets at Luzon, Formosa, Indo-Chinese Coast and Hong Kong
- Air strikes over Tokyo, Kure, Hokkaido, and Honshu
Cowpens was affected by a typhoon in 1944, but quick-thinking crew helped to prevent further damage despite one casualty and many planes and other equipment. She went on to participate in other operations that proved vital to U.S. military success.
In 1947, she was decommissioned. For her service, she received a Navy Unit Commendation and twelve battle stars.