USS Allen M. Sumner
|Class:||Allen M. Sumner|
The USS Allen M. Sumner was the lead ship of its class, built by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Kearny, NJ. It was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in January of 1944, and joined the Pacific Fleet soon after to fight in the final year of World War II, where it earned two battle stars. After the Allied victory in the Pacific, the ship entered duty in the Korean War, earning a single battle star for operations conducted in this conflict. The Allen M. Sumner’s final days in service were spent in the conflict in Vietnam, which earned the vessel two additional battle stars. All totaled, the ship remained in active service for nearly three decades, and was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register in August 1973.
Veterans who served aboard the USS Allen M. Sumner were most likely exposed to asbestos during the course of their regular duty. Many pieces of equipment on Navy ships built between the 1930’s and 1970’s were made with asbestos, including boilers, turbines, electrical components, valves, and pumps. Materials such as gaskets and packing were also often made entirely from asbestos. The engine and boiler rooms held especially high concentrations of asbestos equipment and materials, putting veterans who worked in these spaces at an elevated danger level. The companies who made these asbestos products never warned veterans of the dangers of asbestos, even though they were generally aware of the deadly threat it posed. This shocking, widespread negligence caused thousands of lives to be lost to mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused disease.
Victims diagnosed with asbestos-related illness have a right to seek compensation, and will not lose their VA benefits by pursuing legal action. Settlements can offset or entirely cover the costs of medical care, and may provide additional sums for pain and suffering. The law has placed limits on the amount of time victims can file a lawsuit however, so it is important to contact legal counsel soon after a diagnosis.