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NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive

USS COWPENS   (CV-25)
(later CVL-25 and AVT-1)

Specifications

Class: INDEPENDENCE

As built: Displacement: 11,000 tons (15,100 fl) — Dimensions: 600' wl (622' 6" oa) x 71' 6" (109' 2" fd) x 26' (max) / 182.9 wl (189.7 oa) x 21.8 (33.3 fd) x 7.9 (max) meters — Armor: 1.5"-5" belt, 3" main deck, 0.38" bridge — Power plant: 4 565-psi boilers, 4 geared turbines, 4 screws; 100,000 shp — Speed: 31.6 knots — Endurance (design): 12,500 nm @ 15 knots — Armament: 26 40-mm (2x4, 9x2); 16 20-mm — Aircraft: 30+ — Aviation facilities: 2 elevators; 1 hydraulic catapult — Crew: approx. 1,560


Operational and Building Data

Ordered as the Cleveland-class light cruiser Huntington (CL-77). Contract awarded to New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J. Laid down 17 November 1941. Reordered as an aircraft carrier in March 1942; renamed Cowpens and redesignated CV-25. Launched 17 January 1943 and commissioned 28 May 1943. Redesignated as a "Light Aircraft Carrier" (CVL-25) on 15 July 1943. Placed "in commission, in reserve" at Mare Island 3 December 1946 and decommissioned 13 January 1947.

Reclassified as an "Aircraft Transport", with hull number AVT-1, on 15 May 1959, while in reserve.

Cowpens received a Navy Unit Commendation and 12 battle stars for World War II service.

FATE: Stricken from the Navy List on 1 November 1959 and sold for scrap in 1960.


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Namesake
CV-25 Cowpens
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In upland South Carolina, at a place where local farmers penned their cows, an American force of 300 Continentals and 700 militia from North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia, won a brilliant victory against the British. On January 16, Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, pursued by 1,100 British under Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton, carefully picked his ground for a defensive battle. That night, Morgan personally went among the Continentals and militiamen to explain his plan of battle. Morgan wanted two good volleys from the militia, who would then be free to ride away. The next day, the battle went very much as Morgan had planned. Georgia and North Carolina sharpshooters, in front of the main body of American militia, picked off British cavalrymen as they rode up the slight rise toward the Americans. Then the deadly fire of the main body of South and North Carolina militia forced Tarleton to commit his reserves. Seeing the militia withdrawing as planned, the 17th Light Dragoons pursued, but were driven off by Morgan's cavalry. Meanwhile, the British infantry, who assumed that the Americans were fleeing, were hit by the main body of Continentals, Virginia militiamen, and a company of Georgians. At the battle's end they were aided by militia troops, who, instead of riding away as planned, attacked the 71st Highlanders, who were attempting to fight their way out of the American trap. The British lost: 100 killed including 39 officers, 229 wounded, and 600 captured. As they fled the field, Tarleton and his dragoons were pursued by Colonel William Washington's cavalry, which included mounted Georgia and South Carolina militiamen. Many historians consider this battle to be the turning point of the American Revolution in the Southern Campaign and perhaps the "greatest tactical victory ever won on American soil".

"The Battle of Cowpens" painting © by Don Troiani.

Copyrighted Image courtesy of Don Troiani and Historical Art Prints.

Text submitted by Bill Gonyo.
World War II
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"Cowpens Goes Down the Ways"

"Camden, N.J.—The U.S.S. Cowpens, an aircraft carrier named in memory of a Revolutionary War battle fought at Cowpens, S.C., goes down the ways at the New York Shipbuilding Corps Yards in Camden. Launched on Jan. 17, [1943,] the Cowpens is the fourth carrier to be launched by the corporation in 20 weeks. Mrs. Preston Lea Spruance, daughter of Admiral William F. Halsey, sponsored the vessel. Credit: ACME."

Photo from the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.

Bill Gonyo
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USS Cowpens (CV-25) photographed by the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 25 June 1943.

Note Cowpens was completed with two twin 40-mm mounts on the forward port side of the flight deck, for a total of nine twin and two quadruple mounts.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (photo # NH 96205).

NHC
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Underway at sea on 17 July 1943.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-74266).

NHC
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Underway at sea on 17 July 1943.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-74271).

Scott Dyben
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USS Cowpens (CVL-25), two months after commissioning, on 17 July 1943, with F6F Hellcat, SBD Daunless and TBF Avenger aircraft ranged on deck. On her completion the ship carried Measure 21. The four folded radio masts and the increased width of the flight deck in the region of the forward lift area can be clearly seen. Photo USN (A.D. Baker Collection).

Photo from Aircraft Carriers of the U.S. Navy, by Stefan Terzibaschitsch.

Robert Hurst
CVL-25 Cowpens
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Undated, Underway with aircraft on deck. (Small Image).

Judging from her camouflage and aircraft spotting, this photo might have been taken on 17 July 1943 (see photos above).

USN
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Undated photo showing two Avengers from Torpedo Squadron (VT) 25 in flight over USS Cowpens (CVL-25) at an unknown location.

National Naval Aviation Museum, photo # 1996.253.1349.

Mike Green
CVL-25 Cowpens
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Ship's Marines line up on the flight deck for physical drill, circa mid-1943. Planes on the flight deck include F6F, SBD and TBM types. Note "SK" radar antenna mounted on the stub mast between the stacks and inflatable life belts worn by many of the men on deck.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-K-13723).

Scott Dyben
CVL-25 Cowpens
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86k Shown here on November 15,1943 as part of TF-50 off the Gilbert Islands. USN
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Pilot evacuates his burning F6F-3 fighter after landing unaware that it was on fire, during the Gilberts Operation, 24 November 1943. Firefighters are rushing to the plane, and put out the flames in a minute and a half, with no casualties. The fire started as the Hellcat approached Cowpens for an emergency landing. The pilot was Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Alfred W. Magee, Jr., USNR. The plane was Bureau # 66101.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-208140).

NHC
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Crewmen on the flight deck, looking aft toward the carrier's island during raids on the Marshall Islands, November-December 1943. Note crane and other features on and around the island. Radar antennas atop the foremast include "SC" (larger antenna, in front); "SG" (small antenna, in middle). A "YE" homing beacon antenna is mounted on the topmast. Large radar antenna behind the island is a "SK".

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-K-527).

NHC
CVL-25 Cowpens
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A TBM Avenger torpedo plane landing on board the carrier, at the time of the Marshalls-Gilberts raids, November-December 1943. Note flight deck barrier rigged in the foreground.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-K-13718).

Scott Dyben
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An F6F-3 Hellcat of VF-25 after a hard landing aboard USS Cowpens (CVL-25) which resulted in landing gear failure. The aircraft was returning from a mission during the Marshalls-Gilberts raids of November–December 1943. USN, courtesy Russ Egnor.

Photo and text from Carrier Air War in Original WWII Color, by Robert Lawson and Barrett Tillman.

Robert Hurst
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USS Cowpens (CVL-25) underway circa 1944, location unknown (USN photo.)

Robert Hurst
CVL-25 Cowpens
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Grumman F6F Hellcat fighters warming up on the flight deck, while USS Cowpens (CVL-25) was operating with Task Group 58.3 during raids on the Marshall Islands, circa January 1944.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-K-100.)

NHC
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LT(JG) Donald J. McKinley became squadron VF-25's only ace, 19 June 1944, the day of the First Battle of the Philippine Sea.

Bill Gonyo
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En route to take part in the Palaus operation, 31 August 1944. She is wearing camouflage Measure 33, Design 7a. Carrier in the distance (in camouflage Measure 32, Design 8a) is USS Independence (CVL-22).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (photo # NH 96206).

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"Capt. H.W. Taylor making award presentations aboard U.S.S. Cowpens (CVL-25). Fred Magee, Jr., St3/c USN, receiving commendation of the Secretary of the Navy." October 1944.

National Archives, College Park, Record Group 80 (photo # 80-G-291220).

Tracy White, Researcher @ Large
CVL-25 Cowpens
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Captain George H. DeBaun (center) relieves Captain Herbert W. Taylor (left) as the carrier's Commanding Officer, in ceremonies held by her island in November 1944. Commander Hugh R. Nieman is looking on, at right. The ship's insignia and scoreboard are painted on her bridge wing.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-291229.)

NHC
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LT Ben C. Amsden was born in Buffalo, New York, on 10 October 1922 and entered the Navy on 22 September 1942. He graduated from the Navy Flight Training program at Pensacola, Florida, in January 1944 as a Navy Fighter pilot. He initially joined VF-100, but later transferred to VF-22 aboard USS Cowpens (CVL-25), flying the F6F Hellcat, in August 1944. As a member of VF-22, Ensign Amsden downed a Japanese Zeke five miles north of Heito Airfield on 12 October 1944. Three days later, he and three other VF-22 pilots intercepted and destroyed four Japanese twin-engine Betty bombers and three fighters headed for the U.S. Task Fleet off the coast of Formosa. Amsden was credited with two of the bombers for victory number two and three. On 3 January 1945, Amsden downed a twin-engined Irving over Formosa. He became an Ace on 21 January 1945, when he splashed an Oscar near Formosa.

Bill Gonyo

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Task Group 58.3, under Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman, departs Ulithi on 10 February 1945. Seen from USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) are USS Cowpens (CVL-25), left, and USS Essex (CV-9), center.

Task Force 58 conducted attacks against the Tokyo area (16–17, and 25 February) both to neutralize the enemy's airpower before the landings on Iwo Jima (19 February) and to cripple the aircraft manufacturing industry.

Pieter Bakels
CVL-25 Cowpens
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Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 12 May 1945, following overhaul.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives (photo # 19-N-84024).

NHC
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Stern view of USS Cowpens (CVL-25) off Mare Island on 12 May 1945. She was undergoing repairs at the yard from 25 March to 18 May 1945. Photo serial # 3497-45.

Darryl Baker
CVL-25 Cowpens
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Bow on view of USS Cowpens (CVL-25) off Mare Island on 12 May 1945. Photo serial # 3498-45.

Darryl Baker
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Plan view of bow, looking aft. Mare Island, Calif., 15 May 1945. Note newly mounted Mk-57 GFCS in starboard catwalk. Photo serial # ????-45.

Cruiser at the opposite pier is USS Chester (CA-27).

Pieter Bakels
CVL-25 Cowpens
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Plan view, aft. Mare Island, Calif., 15 May 1945. Photo serial # 3574-45.

Cruiser at the opposite pier is USS Chester (CA-27).

Pieter Bakels
CVL-25 Cowpens
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Plan view, amidship, looking forward. Mare Island, Calif., 15(?) May 1945. Photo serial # ????-45.

Pieter Bakels
CVL-25 Cowpens
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USS Cowpens (CVL-25), "The Mighty Moo," underway, July 1945.

National Archives, College Park, Record Group 80 (photo # 80-G-468977).

Robert Rocker
Tracy White, Researcher @ Large
CVL-25 Cowpens
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USS Cowpens (CVL-25), San Diego, California, 27 October 1945.

Tommy Trampp

USS COWPENS CVL-25 History (Ex- HUNTINGTON CL-77)
View This Vessels DANFS History Entry
(Located On The Hazegray & Underway Web Site, This Is The Main Archive For The DANFS Online Project.)

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Mr. Arthur E Furry
Address:5375 N Wapak Rd Lima, OH, 45807-9752
Phone: 419-339-2262
E-mail: None

Additional Resources
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Official U.S. Navy Carrier Website
CVL-25 U.S.S. Cowpens Web Site.

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Last update: 2 February 2014