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NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive

(later CVL-25 and AVT-1)

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Foxtrot - Lima - Quebec

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons


Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Navy Unit Commendation
2nd Row: American Campaign Medal / Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (12 stars) / World War II Victory Medal
3rd Row: Navy Occupation Service Medal ("Asia" clasp) / Philippine Presidential Unit Citation / Philippine Liberation Medal (2 stars)



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.

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

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178k Ordered on 9 September 1940 as a Cleveland-class light cruiser, this ship was assigned hull number CL-77 and named Huntington, for a city in West Virginia (NS022530).

Reordered as an aircraft carrier in March 1942, she was redesignated CV-25 and renamed Cowpens after the Revolutionary War battle fought 17 January 1781, 7 miles north of the town of Cowpens, S.C. (NS022530a). Cowpens was an American victory in the campaign which led to the British surrender at Yorktown.

"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.'" (Text submitted by Bill Gonyo.)

NS04016300: The Battle of Cowpens, painting by Don Troiani.

(Map NS022530 courtesy of Map NS022530a courtesy of Google Maps.)

CV-25 Cowpens
World War II
CV-25 Cowpens

Launching of USS Cowpens (CV-25) at New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, 17 January 1943. Photograph released 1943. U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (NARA) (# 80-G-40785). "[...] 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." (Quoted from a press release.)

NARA, via Michael Mohl
CV-25 Cowpens

Mrs. Preston Lea Spruance, daughter of VADM William F. Halsey, christened Cowpens on Sunday, 17 January 1943.

Ron Reeves
CV-25 Cowpens

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).

CVL-25 Cowpens

Underway at sea on 17 July 1943.

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

CVL-25 Cowpens

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
CVL-25 Cowpens

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. (National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo # 80-G-74267.)

Robert Hurst
Color photo submitted by Richard Miller, BMCS, USNR (Ret.)
CVL-25 Cowpens

Bow view of USS Cowpens (CVL-25) underway on 17 July 1943.

Source: United States National Archives photo (# 80-G-180196).

Mike Green
CVL-25 Cowpens

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).

CVL-25 Cowpens

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

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

USS Cowpens. View on the flight deck, probably during working up exercises in summer of 1943. Note F6F Hellcat, TBF Avenger and SBD Dauntless aircraft. Also radar arrays on and about the island. Original caption states photo was taken in November–December 1943, but note red borders to national insignia on planes, used only in summer of 1943.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # 80-G-K-663.

via Michael Mohl
CVL-25 Cowpens

Wake Island Raid, October 1943. USS Cowpens (CVL-25) pilots and crewmen looking at bombs that have been inscribed with messages for the targeted Japanese on Wake Island just before the raids.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo, # 80-G-208176.

CVL-25 Cowpens

Crash of F6F-3 Hellcat (BuNo 08904) after tail hook caught on end of flight deck of USS Cowpens (CVL-25), sending it over the port side, 6 October 1943. Aviator was Ensign Elden Robert Arms, who was returning from a Combat Air Patrol. A destroyer was dispatched immediately to effect rescue, but was unable to find the pilot.

NS022533: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo, # 80-G-208169.

NS022533a: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo, # 80-G-208170.

NS022533b: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo, # 80-G-208171.

CVL-25 Cowpens
CVL-25 Cowpens
CVL-25 Cowpens

This is believed to be a photo of TBF Avengers of VC-25/VT-25 squadron on the flight deck of USS Cowpens (CVL-25), sometime in October 1943–July 1944. (Effective 15 December 1943, VC-22, -25 and -30 changed their designation to VT-22, -25 and -30.)

Courtesy of Scott Koen &
CVL-22 Independence

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-25 Cowpens
86k Shown here on November 15,1943 as part of TF-50 off the Gilbert Islands. USN
CVL-25 Cowpens

A Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat fighter bursts into flames as its pilot cuts his engine while making an emergency landing, 24 November 1943, during the Gilberts Operation. The pilot, Lieutenant Junior Grade A.W. Magee Jr., was unaware of the fire as he landed. Flames were put out in 1m 30sec. with no casualties. The plane was BuNo 66101.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo.

CVL-25 Cowpens

F6F-3 Hellcat (BuNo 66101) bursts into flames when aviator, Lieutenant Junior Grade A.W. Magee, Jr., cuts the engine on signal and makes an emergency landing on USS Cowpens (CVL-25), unaware that plane was on fire. The flames were put out in 1.5 minutes without any casualities, 24 November 1943.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo, #80-G-208138.

CVL-25 Cowpens

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 and Records Administration (NARA), photo #80-G-208140.

CVL-25 Cowpens

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 and Records Administration (NARA), photo # 80-G-K-527.

Note: The part of the wing in the foreground is of a Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber; also the right plane in the background. These were only part of the air group until mid-1943. Also, the national insignia is surrounded by a red line, which was only used in July‐August 1943. Therefore, the photo nay have been taken while USS Cowpens (CVL-25) was working up in the Atlantic Ocean, in mid-1943.

via Michael Mohl
John Spivey
CVL-25 Cowpens

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
CVL-25 Cowpens

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
CVL-25 Cowpens

Funeral services and burial at sea for 1st Lt. Ted A. McKay, USMC; PFC Curtis J. Miller, USMC; PFC Herman L. Pusey, USMC; and PFC Charles Gange, USMC. Sunday, 5 December 1943, at 1630, northeast of Japanese-held Marshall Islands.

The previous day, at 1310, an F6F-3 Hellcat from USS Lexington (CV-16) crashed in landing (to refuel) and fell over the port side into the sea. Four Marines were killed and 10 Marines and Sailors injured; the pilot was rescued uninjured. USS Cowpens (CVL-25) herself suffered light damage: two 20mm AA guns out of commission, railing around catwalk and port antenna at frame 80 carried away, and one life raft lost.

(Thanks to Nathan Canestaro.)

Ron Reeves
CVL-25 Cowpens
CVL-25 Cowpens
CVL-25 Cowpens

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

Robert Hurst
Larger copy submitted by Tommy Trampp
CVL-25 Cowpens

View aboard USS Cowpens (CVL-25), taken in 1944, showing flight deck scene. Note Grumman F6F Hellcat and TBF/M Avenger aircraft. Also note radar and crewman painting deck in center.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # 80-G-K-664.

via Michael Mohl
CVL-25 Cowpens

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.)

CVL-25 Cowpens

Funeral at sea, 10 April 1944, for Donald V. Sealy, S2c; and James M. Martin, S2c. They drowned at Majuro, 7 April 1944. LCDR Charles J. Hacherl (CHC) presiding (note he is behind the bugler).

Ron Reeves
CVL-25 Cowpens

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
CVL-25 Cowpens

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 History and Heritage Command, photo # NH 96206.

Mike Green
CVL-25 Cowpens

Japanese destroyer under air attack off Southern Mindoro on 26 October 1944, during the pursuit of the Japanese fleet after the main battles (Leyte Gulf). Photographed by a plane from USS Cowpens (CVL-25).

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) photo, # 80-G-272513.

CVL-25 Cowpens

"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

Captain H.W. Taylor presents Navy and Marine Corps Medal to Steward's Mate Second Class Ed King, October 1944.

National Museum of the U.S. Navy, photo # 208-NP-King.

National Museum of the U.S. Navy
CVL-25 Cowpens

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.)

CVL-25 Cowpens

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
CVL-25 Cowpens

USS Cowpens (CVL-25), The Mighty Moo, starboard side flight deck facing aft from the island. Photo taken around the time Typhoon Cobra hit the Third Fleet on 18 December 1944.

Robert Hurst
CVL-25 Cowpens

January 1945. "One of the most incredible pictures taken during World War 2 by a US Navy Combat Photographer. A Hellcat smashes into 6 other Hellcats parked forward on Cowpens' flight deck as crewmen duck and run for cover (on the left). The camera captured all the debris in mid-air. Note that there are pilots in the parked Hellcats."

"Seconds after the crash, men rush up to the wrecked Hellcats to help the pilots."

Courtesy of Scott Koen &


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

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).

She is painted in the two colours of Measure 12. Note that the demarcation line between the two colours differs from that in Measure 22. SP radar, instead of SC-2, can be seen on the mast platform. From August 1944 to March 1945 Cowpens carried Measure 33/7A. (Text from Aircraft Carriers of the U.S. Navy, by Stefan Terzibaschitsch. Thanks to Robert Hurst.)

CVL-25 Cowpens

USS Cowpens, May 1945. The four barrels of the aft 40mm quad can be clearly distinguished. Photo USN.

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

Robert Hurst
CVL-25 Cowpens

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

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

Darryl Baker
CVL-25 Cowpens

Plan view of bow, looking aft. Mare Island, Calif., 15 May 1945. Circles mark recent alterations. Note newly mounted Mk-57 GFCS in starboard catwalk. Photo serial # 3572-45.

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

Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC) photo, # 19-N-84029.

Pieter Bakels
CVL-25 Cowpens

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

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

Pieter Bakels
CVL-25 Cowpens

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

Cropped version of photo above.

Richard Miller, BMCS, USNR (Ret.)
CVL-25 Cowpens

Pilots in the ready room celebrating when Japan's surrender came over the intercom, August 1945.

US Navy Photo now in the collection of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), photo # 80-G-345571.

Tracy White, Researcher @ Large
CVL-25 Cowpens

Cowpens' crew celebrates the news of Japan's capitulation at the forward roller doors into the hangar bay under the island. Note the ship's cruise map behind the crew, which was painted on the forward elevator bulkhead.

US Navy Photo, now in the collections of the US National Archives at College Park, Maryland, photo # 80-G-345572.

CVL-25 Cowpens

USS Cowpens (CVL-25), San Diego, California, 27 October 1945.

Tommy Trampp

For more information about this ship, see:

Read the USS COWPENS (CVL-25), ex-HUNTINGTON (CL-77), DANFS History
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.
CVL-25 U.S.S. Cowpens Web Site.

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Last update: 30 June 2024