List of U.S. Navy Vessels That Used Asbestos
The U.S. Navy has about 430 vessels, including both ships and service craft, that are actively in service or in reserve. Unfortunately, although the Navy issued a policy against using asbestos in ships in 1975, many veterans had already been exposed to the cancer-causing material by that point.
The nationally recognized mesothelioma law firm of Belluck & Fox has extensive experience researching where asbestos was used on U.S. Navy vessels, and we are here to help veterans who are now suffering health effects from their exposure years ago.
U.S Navy aircraft carriers were critically important during wartime, helping shape the strategy of combat. Able to hold more than 3,000 soldiers and as long as 1,100 feet, these mobile air bases are the largest warships ever constructed. They are indispensable platforms that help greatly extend the military’s reach, enabling it to launch airstrikes against any target, anywhere in the world. The Navy lists more than 60 aircraft carriers that have served the U.S. military, with 10 of those currently active and two more under construction.
Used to deliver important supplies to combatant ships at sea, U.S. Navy ammunition ships carry more than ammunition and missiles. They also transport food, parts for repairs, and small amounts of fuel, when necessary. Due to the dangers of carrying such volatile cargo, though, these ships aim to make deliveries in safe spots at sea, out of enemy lines of fire. Ammunition ships became a staple in the fleet before and during World War II, and they continue to serve our country today.
As the name indicates, amphibious warships – commonly referred to as “gator freighters” – travel on water in support of ground assaults. In addition to transporting troops, they host aircraft, carry landing craft, and provide suppressive fire and cover for other ships. Amphibious warships were first used widely during World War II due to the complexity of coastal area campaigns. The overarching “Gator Navy,” as it’s called, includes: amphibious assault ships; amphibious command ships; amphibious transport dock; command ships; dock landing ships; landing craft, air cushioned; and landing craft, mechanized and utility.
Battleships have served a vital role throughout the history of naval conflict. Although U.S. Navy battleships were the most important vessels in the fleet prior to World War II, advancements in weapons technology made them largely obsolete by the early 1940s. Far too vulnerable to mines, aircraft and torpedoes, these grand ships were largely replaced by aircraft carriers in the Second World War and completely decommissioned by the 1990s. Over the course of its history, the U.S. Navy commissioned 59 battleships.
Cruisers took on the role of direct-combat surface ships as production of battleships ceased in the later 20th century. Each of these large, powerful vessels served its own specialized function, including guided missile cruisers, aircraft cruisers, battlecruisers and command cruisers. Although a few remain in service, these ships were critically important to the U.S. Navy fleet throughout much of the 1900s. The U.S. Navy currently has an aging force of 22 cruisers.
Destroyers are built largely for speed and elusiveness and are therefore smaller than cruisers and battleships. The main function of a destroyer is to help defend larger vessels from attacks by quick, agile enemy craft. As battleship production ceased and the use of cruisers began to decline, destroyers became the most heavily armored and armed surface-combat ships. The U.S. Navy now boasts 72 destroyers, including 10 that are under construction.
Destroyer escorts are smaller than full-size destroyers and used mainly for anti-aircraft and anti-submarine purposes. The U.S. Navy used these small, agile vessels to help defend unarmed Merchant Marine ships during the Second World War. They share the same design as destroyers but are not as fast. There were more than 450 of these vessels constructed after 1941. By the 1970s, destroyers became known as frigates.
Escort carriers provided substantial advantages over standard aircraft carriers because they were easier and less expensive to build. The Navy was thus able to deploy these vessels, often called “baby flattops” and “jeep carriers,” when larger carriers were unavailable. Escort carriers were mainly used during World War II to help protect Allied convoys from attacks by German U-boats.
Floating dry docks are essential for the flexibility of naval operations, giving U.S. Navy vessels the ability to dock along shores where a traditional dry dock is not an option and offering aid wherever it is needed. These crucial service crafts assist in hauling and docking ships, as well as conducting maintenance and repairs to vessels in isolated areas. The Navy began ramping up its fleet of floating dry docks in preparation for operations in the Pacific during World War II. These vessels continued to be a great asset during the Korean and Vietnam wars, and they are still used today.
Frigates were mainly built during and after the Second World War. Prior to the 1970s, they were referred to as destroyer escorts. While they were used primarily in an anti-submarine role, frigates were also used to defend convoys. These are substantially different from prior vessels that were also known as frigates.
These specialized vessels were constructed with equipment that could detect, neutralize and safely remove naval mines. Minesweepers not only save countless lives, they also help prevent damage to the U.S. Navy fleet and keep America’s sea trade up and running. Thanks to minesweepers and mine countermeasure vessels, crucial supply lanes remain open and vessels are able to operate freely. There are currently 11 mine countermeasure ships in service.
Among the most well-known naval vessels, submarines are also some of the most deadly in the U.S. Navy arsenal, able to provide tactical and strategic advantages during wartime. Submarine use dates back to World War I, and these craft, capable of sustained underwater operation, remain a naval fleet mainstay. There are four classes of Navy submarines: attack submarines, ballistic missile submarines, guided missile submarines, and deep submergence rescue vehicles. Submarines range in size from small vessels built for stealth to huge ships that can carry a crew of nearly 100 sailors.
Often referred to as the “workhorse” of the harbor, tugboats have always played an important role in U.S. Navy operations. These sturdy boats maneuver larger ships into and out of harbors, as well as tow other vessels and perform rescue missions on the open seas. The seamen who serve on these vessels are crucial to keeping harbors running smoothly and dedicated to providing aid whenever they are called upon.