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USS Reprisal (CV-35)

USS Reprisal (CV-35)

The USS Reprisal (CV-35) was to have been an Essex-class carrier, but her construction was canceled when she was half built.


The Essex class represented the first "modern" aircraft carrier. These were built between 1941 and 1950. A total of thirty-two of these carriers were planned, however only twenty-four were completed. All of these went on to serve in Korea and Vietnam; at least one continued in service until 1991.

An Essex-class carrier was between 870 and 888 feet in length (depending on the hull; these carriers were of two distinct types), a beam of just over 145 feet at the flight deck, and had a displacement of 34,000 with a full load. The vessel was powered by Westinghouse geared steam turbines driven by a total of eight Babcock & Wilcox boilers.

The typical full crew consisted of 2170 seamen, 870 pilots and air crew and 160 officers.

Repairs and Upgrades

The keel of the Reprisal was laid down in July 1944.

At the time actual construction was canceled in August 1945, the fall of the Japanese Empire was imminent and there seemed little reason to complete the vessel. Nonetheless, the vessel was launched in 1946 when construction was about 53% finished.

An inspection was done in January 1949 in order to determine whether or not the vessel should be completed, but the Navy never followed through; the hulk was sold to the Boston Metals Corporation in Baltimore, Maryland that November.

Wartime Service

Reprisal never saw active service; however, the hull was used for a number of tests to determine the effects of various types of explosives. These tests took place in Chesapeake Bay between 1946 and April 1948.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Reprisal (CV-35)

All sources state that construction on Reprisal was canceled because of an "accident." However, virtually no source provides any details as to the nature of the mishap. This has led to a great deal of speculation as to whether the vessel was sabotaged, if there was an industrial accident or if it was cannibalized to provide parts for a different vessel.

When scientific research demonstrated that using asbestos posed a major health risk to everyone working with it, the Navy started phasing out the installation of this substance in ships as well as shore facilities, and by beginning of the 1980s asbestos was not commonly used. Reprisal made use of asbestos insulation heavily around boilers and engineering compartments, and for fireproofing all through the ship.

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

Mooney, James. Dictionary of American Fighting Ships. (Washington DC; Department of the Navy, 1991).

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