USS Wasp (CV-18)
This Essex-class Aircraft Carrier was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in November of 1943, and was named for the USS Wasp (CV-7), which had been sunk the previous year. Measuring 872 feet from bow-to-stern, the ship carried a complement of 2,600 officers and men, and held between 90 and 100 aircraft. Soon after, it was sent to fight Japanese forces on the Pacific front, and earned eight battle stars over the course of World War II. After the war, the Wasp was decommissioned for a period of four years, before being integrated into the Atlantic Fleet. The vessel conducted operations mainly in this arena until it was decommissioned in July 1972.
Veterans who served on the USS Wasp were likely at risk of asbestos exposure over the course of their normal duty. Between the 1930’s and mid-1970’s, shipbuilders used asbestos in abundance on Navy vessels. Equipment including boilers, valves, pumps, turbines, and electrical components all used asbestos, and materials such as gaskets and packing were often made from asbestos. The engine and boiler spaces were sites of particular concern thanks to a high concentration of asbestos products, leaving Boiler Tenders, Machinist’s Mate, and others who worked in these areas at en elevated risk. The businesses that fabricated these asbestos products were often aware of asbestos’ high potential to cause harm, but did nothing to warn the sailors who served on the USS Wasp or other ships from the era.
Victims of asbestos who served in the Navy have the right to seek compensation. Settlements can offset or often cover the overwhelming costs that come with medical care, and may provide additional sums for pain and suffering. The law limits the time in which a lawsuit can be filed however, so it is advisable to seek experienced legal counsel soon after a diagnosis.