Cowpens file photo [1230]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassIndependence-class Light Carrier
BuilderNew York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, NJ
Laid Down17 Nov 1941
Launched17 Jan 1943
Commissioned28 May 1943
Decommissioned13 Jan 1947
Displacement11,000 tons full
Length623 feet
Beam72 feet
Draft26 feet
MachineryGeneral Electric geared turbines with four screws
Power Output100,000 shaft horsepower
Speed31 knots
Armament24x40mm, 22x20mm anti-aircraft
Armor5in belt, 2in deck, 0.5in conning tower


ww2dbase"The Mighty Moo" USS Cowpens was named after a battle of the American Revolutionary War. She was sponsored by the daughter of Vice Admiral William Halsey. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 19 Sep 1943, and struck Wake Island on 5 and 6 Oct. Between 19 and 24 Nov, her aircraft struck Mille and Makin atolls, and then Kwajalein and Wotje on 4 Dec. During the invasion of Marshall Islands in Jan 1944, her aircraft attacked Japanese positions on Kwajalein and Eniwetok. At the end of Feb 1944, Task Force 58, which Cowpens was a member of, raided Truk and the Marianas. During the campaign across Central Pacific, her aircraft participated in important anti-submarine patrols to protect the task force. From 6 Jun to 10 Jul 1944, she participated in the Marianas campaign, including downing a number of Japanese aircraft during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Her aircraft covered landings on Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Near the end of the war, Cowpens' aircraft also attacked targets and performed reconnaissance missions on the Japanese home islands. After the end of WW2, she became a transport to return American troops back to the United States, then was decommissioned at Mare Island, California, United States.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Apr 2006

Light Carrier Cowpens Interactive Map


Marines exercising on CowpensUSS Cowpens near Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 25 Jun 1943Cowpens underway, 17 Jul 1943, photo 1 of 2Cowpens underway, 17 Jul 1943, photo 2 of 2
See all 15 photographs of Light Carrier Cowpens

Cowpens Operational Timeline

28 May 1943 Cowpens was commissioned into service.
29 Sep 1943 A fast carrier strike force built around carriers USS Essex, USS Yorktown, USS Lexington, USS Cowpens, USS Independence, and USS Belleau Wood, escorted by USS Nashville and other warships, departed US Territory of Hawaii for combat operations.
5 Oct 1943 Task Force 19 consisting of Essex-class carriers Essex, Lexington, and Yorktown with light carriers Cowpens, Independence, and Belleau Wood escorted by cruisers New Orleans, San Francisco, Birmingham, Nashville, Santa Fe, and Mobile and destroyers Hull, Hazelwood, Bancroft, Caldwell, Coghlan, Braine, Halford, Kidd, Bullard, Chauncey, John Rodgers, Harrison, Murray, Ringgold, Sigsbee, Schroeder, Dashiell, Conner, Burns, Boyd, and Bradford began two days of strikes against Wake Island. So intense was the bombardment that island commander Rear Admiral Sakaibara Shigemitsu was convinced it was a prelude to an invasion and he ordered the execution of all 98 remaining POWs that had been there since 23 Dec 1941, many of whom had been civilian contractors at the time of their capture.
19 Nov 1943 USS Nicholas screened carriers USS Yorktown, USS Lexington (both Essex-class), and USS Cowpens as they launched air strikes against Japanese positions on Makin, Mili, and Jaluit Atolls over 6 consecutive days.
18 Dec 1944 Many ships from the United States Third Fleet, Task Force 38 sailed into Typhoon Cobra in the Philippine Sea. Three destroyers and 790 men were lost.
3 Jan 1945 Aircraft from USS Cowpens conducted a reconnaissance mission over Karenko Airfield, Taiwan.
1 Oct 1945 Carriers USS Shangri-La, USS Hancock, USS Yorktown (Essex-class), USS Cowpens and cruisers USS Topeka, USS Duluth, and USS Oakland with a destroyer escort that included USS Nicholas departed Tokyo Bay, Japan bound for Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands.
4 Oct 1945 Carriers USS Shangri-La, USS Hancock, USS Yorktown (Essex-class), USS Cowpens and cruisers USS Topeka, USS Duluth, and USS Oakland with a destroyer escort that included USS Nicholas arrived at Buckner Bay (now Nakagusuku Wan), Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands.
6 Oct 1945 Carriers USS Shangri-La, USS Hancock, USS Yorktown (Essex-class), USS Cowpens and cruisers USS Topeka, USS Duluth, and USS Oakland with a destroyer escort that included USS Nicholas departed Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands bound for the United States with thousands of US troops.
13 Jan 1947 Cowpens was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Aethur Lehr says:
22 Apr 2015 11:27:56 PM

Anyone know my father " Arthur Lehr " on cow pens ww2 ?
2. todd says:
11 Apr 2017 01:46:38 PM

my father served on the cowpens during wwii
3. Fred says:
13 Apr 2017 05:14:58 PM

My grandfather served on this ship. He's gone 20 years now. Anyone know where more info or pictures of this ship can be found?
4. Emily says:
24 Jul 2017 02:02:33 PM

My Dad served on the USS Cowpens too - fighter pilot. Did y'all know about the USS Cowpens Reunion? It usually runs over Father's Day weekend, in Cowpens, S.C. Lots of good people and info. there, even a few veterans show up.
5. Chuck Denison says:
27 May 2018 08:39:53 AM

My Dad served on the USS Cowpens also - He was the gunner on TBF Avenger. He passed 2 years ago. want info to let the grand/great grand kids know
6. Nikki sherry says:
21 Jul 2022 03:07:23 PM

Hello everyone I'm trying to find any information on my girlfriends grandfather who reportedly served on the USS cowpens cvl 25 the name is Bernard c auchter.
not sure if we have the right ship or not but would appreciate any help if there is any
Thank you all and have a nice rest of your day

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Search WW2DB
More on Cowpens
Event(s) Participated:
» Marshall Islands Campaign
» Attack on Truk
» Mariana Islands Campaign and the Great Turkey Shoot
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 2
» Typhoon Cobra
» Raid into the South China Sea
» Battle of Iwo Jima
» Okinawa Campaign
» Preparations for Invasion of Japan

» US Aircraft Carrier Functions
» US Aircraft Carrier Operational Status By Month
» US Carrier Time Operational

Light Carrier Cowpens Photo Gallery
Marines exercising on Cowpens
See all 15 photographs of Light Carrier Cowpens

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