The USS Hancock was built by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation and commissioned by the U.S. Navy in April 1944, toward the end of the Second World War. It earned four battle stars for operations conducted in the Pacific Theater, and received a Navy Unit Commendation for extraordinary heroism against the enemy. The ship, measuring at 888 feet bow-to-stern, carried a complement of 3,448 officers and enlisted, and held between 90 and 100 aircraft. It was decommissioned three times after World War II, and was finally laid to rest in January of 1976.
Those who served on the USS Hancock were likely exposed to asbestos on board. Navy ships built between the 1930’s and 1970’s used asbestos in a great deal of equipment, including pumps, valves, turbines, boilers, and electrical components. Asbestos materials such as gaskets and packing were also common amongst ships of this era. Although the companies who made these asbestos products were often aware of their danger, they never warned the veterans who would be working with these products. As a result of this negligence, many veterans developed deadly diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer later in life.
Veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused illnesses have a right to seek compensation from the companies responsible for their conditions. Settlements can offset or cover the often overwhelming costs of medical care, and can provide additional sums for the pain and suffering of victims and their loved ones. Time limits have been imposed on filing lawsuits however, so it is important to seek legal counsel soon after a diagnosis is made.