USS Saratoga (CV-60)
The New York Naval Shipyard of Brooklyn, NY built this Forrestal-class Aircraft Carrier for the U.S. Navy in the mid-1950s. One of the Navy’s “supercarriers,” the Saratoga was commissioned in April of 1956, and conducted operations mainly in Vietnam and the Middle East over its nearly forty-year service. Measuring 1,063 feet in overall length, the ship carried a complement of over 5,500 officers and men, and held between 70 and 90 aircraft. It won a single battle star for its service in Vietnam, and was decommissioned in August 1994.
Veterans who served aboard the USS Saratoga were likely exposed to asbestos during the course of their regular duty. Ships constructed between the 1930’s and the mid-1970’s used asbestos in much of their on board equipment, including boilers, pumps, turbines, valves, and electrical components. Materials such as gaskets and packing were also made of asbestos. Asbestos products tended to be at their highest concentration in the boiler and engine spaces of ships, leaving Machinist’s Mates, Boiler Tenders, and others who worked in these areas at an elevated risk. While many of the companies who provided the Navy with asbestos were aware of the harm it could cause, they did nothing to warn those serving on the USS Saratoga and other ships that used asbestos. This resulted in many veterans developing mesothelioma, the sole known cause of which is exposure to asbestos.
The victims of this negligent attitude have a right to seek compensation for their illnesses. Settlements can often cover the costs of medical care, and may provide additional sums for pain and suffering. Legal counsel should be sought soon after a diagnosis however, as the law limits the time in which a lawsuit can be filed.