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NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive


Courtesy of CAPT Gene Oleson, CHC, USN (Ret)
(bluejacket.com)

USS INDEPENDENCE   (CV-22)
(later CVL-22)



Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Zulu - Bravo - Foxtrot

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons




Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: American Campaign Medal / Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (8 stars) / World War II Victory Medal
2nd Row: Navy Occupation Service Medal ("Asia" clasp) / Philippine Presidential Unit Citation / Philippine Liberation Medal

(Click here for further detail)

Independence Class Light Aircraft Carrier
Ordered Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Stricken
1 Jul 1940(*)
18 Mar 1942(**)
1 May 1941 22 Aug 1942 14 Jan 1943 28 Aug 1946 ?
Builder: New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.
(*) As a Light Cruiser (CL-59), see below
(**) As an Aircraft Carrier (CV-22), see below

Specifications
(As built, 1943)
Displacement: 11,000 tons standard; 15,100 tons full load
Dimensions (wl): 600' x 71' 6" x 26' (max)  /  182.9 x 21.8 x 7.9 (max) meters
Dimensions (max.): 622' 6" x 109' 2"  /  189.7 x 33.3 meters
Armor: no side belt (2" belt over fwd magazine); 2" protective deck(s); 0.38" bridge; 5"/3.75" bhds; 5" bhds, 2.25" above, 0.75" below steering gear
Power plant: 4 boilers (565 psi, 850°F); 4 geared turbines; 4 shafts; 100,000 shp (design)
Speed: 31.6 knots
Endurance (design): 12,500 nautical miles @ 15 knots
Armament: 2 single 5"/38 gun mounts (soon removed); 2 quad 40-mm/56-cal gun mounts (in place of 5" mounts); 8 (soon 9) twin 40-mm/56-cal gun mounts; 16 single 20-mm/70-cal guns mounts
Aircraft: 30+
Aviation facilities: 2 centerline elevators; 1 hydraulic catapult
Crew: approx. 1,560


Click On Image
For Full Size Image
Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
Namesake
CV-22 Independence
NS022225
141k

CV-22 was named after "famous ships of the past" that had borne the name Independence.

The first American Independence was a Continental Navy sloop built in Baltimore, Maryland, and purchased and fitted out by the Marine Committee.

Image from Naval Aviation News, October 1957 issue
World War II
CV-22 Independence
NS022201
40k

Seen just over three months after entering service, Independence is camouflaged in Measure 14, and has a few SBDs and TBMs on the flight deck forward. The contours of the port hull bulge can be seen. A few weeks after this photo was taken, the bow and stern 5"/38 guns, fitted as original equipment, were each exchanged for one 40-mm quad. SK, SC-2 and SG radars were carried. (Thanks to Robert Hurst, who provided additional info).

USN
CV-22 Independence
NS022209
112k

USS Independence (CV-22) photographed soon after completion, circa early 1943, while she still carried a 5"/38 gun at the bow.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph (# NH 88416).

NHC
CV-22 Independence
NS022218
58k

USS Independence, location unknown. USN photo, 1943. Note the early war aircraft markings on the planes on deck.

David Buell
CV-22 Independence
NS022221
271k

USS Independence (CV-22), 12 March 1943. From U.S. Naval Ships & Aircraft (ONI 54-R), condensed and printed for FM 30-50, NAVAER 00-80V-57 (Recognition Pictorial Manual of Naval Vessels). Supplement 3 - 1 April 1943.

Gerd Matthes, Germany
CV-22 Independence
NS022221a
284k

USS Independence (CV-22), 12 March 1943. From U.S. Naval Ships & Aircraft (ONI 54-R), condensed and printed for FM 30-50, NAVAER 00-80V-57 (Recognition Pictorial Manual of Naval Vessels). Supplement 3 - 1 April 1943.

(Top) Starboard stern view. The ship is still on shakedown cruises off the east coast and is camouflaged in Measure 14 scheme. The stern mounted 5"/38 mount is visible here. Independence was the only member of her class so completed with 5"/38 guns, and these were replaced by quadruple 40mm mounts before leaving San Francisco for the Pacific War Zone.

(Bottom) Stern overhead view, during shakedown cruises. The general layout of the ship is easily seen in this photo with two centerline elevators and four offset stacks behind the island.

Gerd Matthes, Germany
Mike Green
CV-22 Independence
NS022223
44k

Aerographer's Mates prepare to launch a weather balloon aboard USS Independence (CV-22), during the carrier's shakedown period, 30 April 1943.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-K-777).

Courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
CV-22 Independence
NS022223a
325k

Radioman-Gunner of an SBD Dauntless scout-bomber aims his plane's twin .30 caliber machine guns aboard USS Independence (CV-22), during the carrier's shakedown period, 30 April 1943. Note the guns' armor plate, gunsight, and variety of bullet types (with tip marking sequence: red, black, light blue & plain).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-K-787).

Courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
CV-22 Independence
NS022216
223k

Aft plan view of USS Independence (CV-22) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 11 July 1943. Navy photo # 5083-43.

Darryl Baker
CV-22 Independence
NS022217
104k

Stern view of USS Independence (CV-22) off Mare Island Navy Yard on 13 July 1943. Navy photo # 5099-43.

Darryl Baker
CV-22 Independence
NS022210
124k

Broadside view of USS Independence (CV-22) off Mare Island Navy Yard on 13 July 1943. Her hull number was changed to CVL-22 two days later. Navy photo # 5101-43.

[Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives (# 19-N-48266)]

Darryl Baker
CV-22 Independence
NS022211
108k

Bow on view of USS Independence (CV-22) off Mare Island Navy Yard on 13 July 1943. Navy photo # 5103-43.

[Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives (# 19-N-48269)]

Darryl Baker
CVL-22 Independence
NS022205
132k

USS Independence (CVL-22) in San Francisco Bay, California, on 15 July 1943, the day her hull number was changed from CV-22 to CVL-22. She has nine SBD scout bombers parked amidships and aft, and nine TBM torpedo planes parked amidships and forward.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-74433).

Scott Dyben
CVL-22 Independence
NS022205a
34k

USS Independence (CVL-22) underway in San Francisco Bay. The ship was commissioned in Philadelphia Jan. 14, 1943. The ship served throughout World War II. [USN 74435   15 Jul 1943]

Courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
CVL-22 Independence
NS022208
124k

Another view, as above.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-74436).

NHC
CVL-22 Independence
NS022222
136k

An aerial photo of USS Independence (CVL-22) underway probably in the second half of 1943, [(appears to have been taken within minutes from the photos above)], with a few TBM Avenger and SBD Dauntless aircraft on her flight deck. The bow 40mm quad is now in place. Note the crane, visible in front of the small island, the four cranked smokestacks, the edge of the port bulge, and the twin 40mm AA guns, the latter being exclusive to Independence-class ships. Photo USN.

Text and photo from Aircraft Carriers of the U.S. Navy, by Stefan Terzibaschitsch.

Robert Hurst
CVL-22 Independence, VF-6
NS0588920
91k

"Butch" O'Hare's section of VF-6 squadron aboard USS Independence (CVL-22) on 6 September 1943. Left to right: LT(JG) Alex Vraciu (Butch's wingman), LCDR Butch O'Hare, LT Sy Mendenhall and ENS A. Willy Callan.

Alex Vraciu was the leading Navy "ace" between late June and late October 1944. He was shot down by AAA near Bamban Airfield (Philippines) on 14 December 1944; he was scooped up by friendly Filipino guerillas and spent some six weeks with them, behind enemy lines. Vraciu is listed as the Navy's #4 ace, with 19 victories.

Edward H. "Butch" O'Hare, first U.S. Navy ace in WW II and Medal of Honor awardee, was reported as MIA not long after this photo was taken, on the night of 26–27 November 1943.

Mark Maxwell, via Tom Kermen
CVL-22 Independence
NS022227
105k

Independence class. ONI 54-CV, Division of Naval Intelligence, Identification and Characteristics Section, 11-43.

Photos of USS Princeton (CVL-23) and USS Cowpens (CVL-25).

Gerd Matthes, Germany
CVL-22 Independence
NS022212
134k

Burial at sea, Battle of Tarawa, Nov. 22, 1943.

Twelve sailors were killed and five missing in action as result of torpedo Nov. 20, 1943.

Al Hiegel,
USS Independence Reunion Group Inc.
CVL-22 Independence
NS022213
131k

One of many violent rolls during typhoon in the Pacific, Oct 4, 1944.

"The ship went through at least 6 heavy weather episodes including the worst of all on 17/18 Dec. 1944, when a bomb magazine broke loose and all its bombs nearly destroyed us." (Don Labudde).

"I was in charge of the bomb magazine at the time. Those bombs would just tumble end over end. I would jump up, grab an I beam overhead, lift my legs, and let the bombs roll by. When it stopped on one side momentarily, I would tie one or two down. Then I would grab hold the I beam again and hang up there like a monkey until the bombs rolled to the other bulkhead and I could secure a couple more. I could hear the speakers telling the crew to make ready to abandon ship. So I was down there doing my job and thinking to myself, if this thing blows up, I'm going to die anyway so it don't make any difference where I am." (Herman Backlund).

Al Hiegel,
USS Independence Reunion Group Inc.
CVL-22 Independence
NS022220
99k

Portside of USS Independence's (CVL-22) island at Hunters Point, 19 June 1944. A YE radio beacon is mounted atop the foremast, with the antenna of an SG surface-search radar fitted to the platform immediately below the beacon. An SM fighter-direction radar antenna is mounted on the foremast platform.

Pieter Bakels
CV-12 Hornet + CVL-22 Independence
NS021238
139k

Hornet and Independence (CVL-22) together, Jan. 25, 1945, as seen from Enterprise (CV-6).

National Naval Aviation Museum, photo # 1996.488.245.010. Robert L. Lawson Photograph Collection.

Steve Whitby
Larger copy submitted by Mike Green
CVL-22 Independence
NS022226
74k

USS Independence (CVL-22) off Hunters Point in June 1944. Independence shows the unusual tumble-home hull form of her class. The deck cargo consists of twin-engined Lockheed PV-1 Ventura patrol bombers en-route to the combat area. USN photo.

Photo and text from U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History, by Norman Friedman.

Robert Hurst
CVL-22 Independence
NS022224
181k

Members of the crew of the light carrier USS Independence (CVL-22), including possibly the ship's commanding officer, Captain Nolan Kindell, at far left, pictured in front of the scoreboard painted on the carrier's island, 1945. Image is part of a photograph album relating to the service of Independence during World War II.

Photo courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum (photo # 2001.268.022.004).

Bill Gonyo
Operation Crossroads
CVL-22 Independence
NS022206
78k

Afire aft, soon after the "Able Day" atomic bomb air burst test at Bikini on 1 July 1946. The bomb had exploded off the ship's port quarter, causing massive blast damage in that area, and progressively less further forward.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-627502).

Scott Dyben
CVL-22 Independence
NS022207
107k

View of the ship's port quarter, showing severe blast damage caused by the "Able Day" atomic bomb air burst at Bikini on 1 July 1946. Photographed at Bikini anchorage on 23 July 1946.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-627471).

Scott Dyben
CVL-22 Independence
NS022202
107k Shown here in July, 1946 after surviving the 1st Atomic Bomb test. She was sunk by naval gunnery in January, 1951 off the California coast. USN
CVL-22 Independence
NS022219
89k

The badly damaged hulk of ex-USS Independence (CVL-22) moored at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard. Two Essex-class aircraft carriers that had already been mothballed can also be seen: Hornet (CV-12), left, and Intrepid (CV-11), right. Photo from Warship Boneyards, by Kit and Carolyn Bonner.

Robert Hurst
Farewell...
CVL-22 Independence
NS022203
100k January, 1951. Being used as a naval gunfire target. USN
CVL-22 Independence
NS022204
77k January, 1951. Sinking after being used as a target. USN
CVL-22 Independence
NS022214
135k

"Last list — Starboard gun tubs of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Independence (CVL-22) etched against the Pacific sky as she starts her death throes off the Central California coast. The bow is nearest camera (left). She sank after a weapons test Friday morning. The "Mighty I" was a veteran of two years of war in the Pacific and a target ship in the Bikini atomic bomb tests. (Official Navy photo)."

Al Hiegel,
USS Independence Reunion Group Inc.

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

View the USS Independence (CV-22 / CVL-22)
DANFS History entry located on the Naval Historical Center Web Site.

Crew Contact and Reunion Information
Date:  
Place:  
Contact: Al Hiegel, USS Independence Reunion Group Inc.
Address:  
Phone:  
E-mail: flyboy@conwaycorp.net
Web site: USS Independence CVL-22 Reunion Group Inc. Website
Remarks:  

Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Official U.S. Navy Carrier Website
USS Independence CVL-22 Reunion Group Inc. Website
USS Independence CVL-22: A War Diary of the Nation's First Dedicated Night Carrier, a book by John G. Lambert

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Last update: 29 June 2014