Laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in 1941, the USS Independence was the lead ship of its class. It served during World War II, having earned 8 battle stars for the outstanding activity of the crew throughout the conflict. The ship was also part of the carrier group that sank the remnants of the Japanese Mobile Fleet in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. During Operation Crossroads, the USS Independence was used as a target in nuclear weapon testing. Because the ship contained large amounts of asbestos, particularly in the engine room, the pump room, the damage control room, and the propulsion room, people who were present aboard it should keep a close eye on their health, as they are at high risk of developing serious diseases such as mesothelioma as a result of exposure. Occurring when one inhales or ingests asbestos fibers from the air, exposure may result in a terrible disease within 20 to 50 years, so veterans who served on this ship need to be vigilant. In 1951, the USS Independence was scuttled near the Farallon Islands off the coast of California.