Navy Trades Exposed to Asbestos
Navy veterans who held certain jobs were exposed to asbestos. Many Navy jobs involved working in confined spaces with poor ventilation, operating machinery and equipment that used asbestos components.
Asbestos was used extensively as fireproofing and insulation in ships’ engine rooms and boiler rooms because of its resistance to heat. Navy veterans are at greater risk decades later of developing mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer.
List of Veteran Occupations Exposed to Asbestos
Boilermen, or Boiler Tenders, were sailors responsible for the operation, maintenance, and repair of a ship’s heat and hot water systems, focusing on the large boilers in the fire rooms. Boilers generate steam for heat and for driving turbines to propel ships.
Tasked with the continuous operation of many of the inner-workings of a Navy ship, Machinist’s Mates maintain and repair a ship’s mechanical components including pumps, valves, and turbines. This includes regular work on the ship’s steam propulsion system, boiler and engine room equipment, machinery, engines, and temperature-control equipment.
Electrician Mate Operations
Electrician’s Mates handle the operation and maintenance of the power systems aboard a Navy ship. They perform upkeep and repairs on generators, circuits, turbines, and switchboards, and other electrical components. They work with wires and electrical equipment throughout a ship.
Enginemen operate and maintain a Navy ship’s engines, including both diesel and gasoline designs. Many enginemen may also maintain temperature control systems aboard the ship, including refrigeration, air conditioning, and compressors.
Firemen are assigned to a ship’s fire rooms, located below deck. They are tasked with the operation and upkeep of a ship’s boilers, engines, and related components.
Duties include installing and repairing piping and other equipment on a ship. Additionally, they coordinate all work related to sonar domes and tanks. Shipfitters perform a great deal of the work on pumps, valves, and steam lines.
Gunner’s Mates oversee and maintain the offensive systems on Navy ships. They operate and oversee a ship’s guns, turrets, rocket launchers, guided-missile systems, and related equipment. Other tasks include casualty analysis, ordinance tests, and training. They also often stand watch aboard ships.
Storekeepers order, store, and maintain the supplies of a ship or company. Generally, they are tasked with purchasing and stocking goods, receiving and cataloging shipments, and issuing these items to the proper personnel.
Boatswain’s Mates are responsible for overseeing and training personnel in rope work and seamanship on a Navy vessel. They also supervise maintenance related to the ship’s deck, including structural upkeep and equipment repairs. Additionally, Boatswains Mates are responsible for watch duties, and may act as petty officers on smaller ships.
A Damage Controlman’s duty is to keep a ship’s systems stable and operational while under attack or during accidents. They are tasked with coordination and execution of repair efforts across the ship, and instruct other personnel in damage control.
The duties of a Pipefitter include insulating pipes and equipment aboard Navy ships, as well as in Navy Bases.