|Built:||Newport News, VA|
Built by Newport News shipbuilding late in World War II, the USS Midway was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in September of 1945, and was the lead ship in its class. Measuring 972 feet from bow-to-stern, the Midway held a complement of 4,104 officers and enlisted. Though it had the capacity to hold up to 137 aircraft, the ship typically carried between 65 and 100 during active duty. It conducted operations in both the conflict in Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm over its nearly fifty year service, and was finally decommissioned in April 1992. Today, it is the last in-tact WWII-era carrier that is not of the Essex class, and serves as a museum ship docked in San Diego, CA.
Veterans who served on the USS Midway are at risk of developing mesothelioma, due to the presence of asbestos on ships built during this era. Between the 1930’s and 1970’s, asbestos was a common material used in shipbuilding, and could be found in equipment such as boilers, turbines, electrical components, pumps, and valves. Materials including gaskets and packing were also often made from asbestos. These asbestos products were located in an especially high concentration in the boiler and engine spaces, leaving those who worked in these areas at an elevated risk. The companies who provided the Navy with these asbestos products were often aware of the health hazards they posed, but did nothing to warn those serving aboard the USS Midway or its contemporaries. This caused veterans to develop mesothelioma at a much higher rate than the general population.
Victims of asbestos who served in the Navy have a right to seek compensation, and will not sacrifice VA benefits by doing so. The companies who are responsible for these asbestos-related illnesses have been well documented, allowing victims to often recoup the costs of their medical care and potentially collect additional sums for pain and suffering. The law limits the time in which lawsuits may be filed however, so it is important to seek legal counsel soon after receiving a diagnosis.