USS Bunker Hill
The Fore River Ship and Engine Building Company of Quincy, MA built the Essex-class USS Bunker Hill at the height of World War II. Measuring 872 feet, the Bunker Hill held a complement of 2,600 officers and enlisted, and carried up to 100 aircraft. Commissioned in May 1943, the ship was the second named for the Battle of Bunker Hill, and served in a number of campaigns in the Pacific Theater. The Bunker Hill earned eleven battle stars during its time in the war, and sustained heavy damage from Japanese kamikaze attacks in May of 1945. Despite being repaired at the end of the Second World War, the vessel saw no subsequent action, and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1966.
Veterans who served aboard the USS Bunker Hill were likely exposed to asbestos during the course of their regular duty. A significant amount of the equipment on U.S. Navy ships between the 1930’s and 1970’s contained the carcinogen, including turbines, boilers, pumps, valves, and much of the steam propulsion equipment. Materials used in boiler room equipment, such as gaskets and packing, were also often made of asbestos due to the extreme temperatures they needed to withstand. As such, the boiler and engine rooms were sites of especially high asbestos contamination. Sailors tasked with the operation, maintenance, and repair of the boiler and engine spaces are at especially high risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related afflictions. The businesses responsible for production of these asbestos materials and equipment did not warn of their dangers, despite often being fully aware of them.
Victims of asbestos, such as those diagnosed with mesothelioma, have a right to seek compensation for their suffering. Veterans need not worry about losing their VA benefits by pursuing litigation, which can cover the staggering costs of medical care and garner additional sums for the pain and anguish that often comes with battling a serious illness. However, counsel should be sought as soon as possible following a diagnosis, as the law limits the time in which legal action can be taken.