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USS Antietam (CV-36)

USS Antietam (CV-36)

The USS Antietam (CV-36) was an Essex-class aircraft carrier serving the United States Navy from the end of the Second World War until 1962. She was named for the site of two American Civil War battles.


One of the two dozen Essex-class carriers ordered by the U.S. Navy for use in World War II, the Antietam was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard between March 1943 and August 1944. The vessel was commissioned in January 1945 under the command of Captain James Tague.

Repairs and Upgrades

In 1945 Antietam developed engine and structural problems and went in for service at the Apra Harbor Naval Base in Guam. Engineers inspected the vessel and determined that the problems were minor, however. She later entered the New York Naval Shipyard in September 1952, undergoing major structural alterations that added a sponson off the port side to accommodate the first true angled flight deck.

During her three years at Quonset Point, the vessel underwent further structural alterations when she was converted into an attack carrier. Between 1957 and 1959 when docked at Mayport, America received a number of upgrades as part of her role as a testing platform for new landing systems.

Wartime Service

Following her initial shakedown trials in the Caribbean, she was ordered to the Pacific in May 1945. By the time she reached Eniwetok in August, the Japanese Empire had surrendered and the war was over.

Antietam spent the next three years in Asiatic waters in support of Allied occupation of former Japanese territory along the Asian mainland. In addition to her regular duties in the Yellow Sea, the carrier made port calls in Manila, Japan, Okinawa and the Mariana Islands.

In 1949, the carrier returned to the U.S. Naval base in Alameda, California, where she was deactivated and placed in reserve. This status did not last long; six months after the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, the carrier was recommissioned and moved to San Diego following shakedowns along the California coast. After a brief voyage to Pearl Harbor, Antietam was ordered to Korean waters in September 1951. Her combat deployment with Task Force 77 lasted six months. Between cruises on the line, the vessel spent time in port at Yokosuka.

In March 1952, Antietam returned to the U.S. After a short period with the Pacific Fleet, she was transferred to the Atlantic.

For the next three years, Antietam was stationed at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. During this time, the vessel was redesignated for anti-submarine warfare and given a new number, CVS-36. After a training period, Antietam was deployed to the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet.

In October 1956, Antietam sailed for Western Europe in order to participate in NATO exercises. During the Suez Canal Crisis of 1957, she was sent back to the eastern Mediterranean in order to assist with the evacuation of American citizens from Alexandria. Antietam returned to Quonset Point just before Christmas of 1956.

In April of 1957, Antietam was transferred to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. However, she was too large for the harbor, so she wound up being anchored at Mayport, some 350 miles to the east on Florida's northern Atlantic coast. Until January 1959, the carrier operated out of Mayport as a training vessel for new pilots and midshipmen graduating from Annapolis.

By the beginning of 1959, the channel into the port of Pensacola had been dredged and widened enough to allow Antietam to enter the harbor. Functioning as a training ship for novice naval aviators, Antietam spent her remaining years operating out of Pensacola, conducting training and also participating in relief efforts for hurricane victims.

In October 1962, Antietam was moved to Philadelphia, where she was maintained on reserve status until decommissioned eleven years later. In February 1974, the USS Antietam was sold for scrap to the Union Minerals & Alloys Corporation.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Antietam (CV-36)

The use of asbestos insulation in virtually all areas of marine vessels was mandated by law in the 1930s after a passenger liner, the SS Morro Castle, caught fire off the coast of New Jersey with great loss of life. Asbestos was already in use on ship boilers and to insulate pipes, but from the 1930s through the early 1980s asbestos proliferated throughout ships and was used as fireproofing in practically every compartment of every vessel built.

Asbestos exposure is the primary reason that many naval veterans develop pleural mesothelioma, a form of malignant mesothelioma that is extremely difficult to treat. Because Antietam was constructed long before the use of asbestos was banned, her construction and refits made heavy use of asbestos, and the odds are very good that any sailor who served aboard Antietam, and any dockworkers or shipfitters who worked on her construction and repair were exposed to asbestos fibers. Mesothelioma takes many years to develop – sometimes decades – and as a result some victims of asbestos exposure may not realize that they need mesothelioma treatment until the disease is already well-advanced.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, whether pleural mesothelioma or the somewhat less common peritoneal mesothelioma, you should be aware that there are legal options available to you. To help with the process of finding a mesothelioma lawyer, someone who specializes in getting mesothelioma patients the care they need and deserve, we have created a Mesothelioma Information Kit that provides complete information about this disease, its treatment, and the options that are available. Just fill in the form on this page and we will send you the kit, absolutely free, with no obligation.

Author: Linda Molinari

Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Linda Molinari


Friedman, Norman. U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1983)

NA. "Antietam II." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Retrieved 29 November 2010.