USS Aulick (DD-569)
The Consolidated Steel Corporation of Orange, Texas built this Fletcher-class Destroyer during the earliest days of the United States’ involvement in World War II. The ship was commissioned by U.S. Navy in October of 1942, and headed to Pearl Harbor soon afterward. It measured just over 376 feet fore-to-aft, and carried a complement of 329 officers and enlisted men aboard. The Aulick earned five battle stars for its service in the Pacific Theater, and was decommissioned soon after the war’s end, in April 1946. It remained out of use until 1977, when it was shipped on loan to Greece.
Veterans of the USS Aulick were likely exposed to asbestos over the course of their regular duty. Prior to the mid-1970’s, asbestos was commonly used in the construction of Navy ships, and could be found in equipment such as boilers, turbines, pumps, valves, and electrical components. Materials including gaskets and packing were also often made entirely from asbestos. The engine and boiler spaces were areas of particular concern, as they held an especially high concentration of asbestos equipment. This put Machinist’s Mates, Boiler Tenders, and others who worked primarily in these areas at an elevated risk. The companies who provided the Navy with these asbestos products generally understood the dangers of asbestos, but did nothing to warn those serving aboard the USS Aulick and other, similar ships. This negligence caused the instances of mesothelioma amongst Navy veterans to be significantly more frequent than in the general population.
Navy veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma were likely exposed to asbestos during their time at sea, and have a right to seek compensation. Settlements can often cover the costs of medical care, and may provide additional sums for pain and suffering. The time to file a lawsuit is limited however, so it is important to seek counsel soon after a mesothelioma diagnosis is made.