Asbestos in the military

USS Atlanta (CL-104)

USS Atlanta (CL-104)Description:  History of the U.S. Navy cruiser USS Atlanta (CL-104) including information about asbestos exposure for workers.

The USS Atlanta (CL-104) was ordered for the U.S. Navy during World War II. Her keel was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Company on January 25, 1943. She was launched on February 6, 1944 and commissioned on December 3, 1944 under the command of Captain B.H. Colyear.

USS Atlanta arrived at Pearl Harbor on April 18, 1945. She joined Task Force 58 on May 12 at Ulithi. From there, she headed to the waters off Okinawa to screen the carriers as they struck at targets on Kyushu and in the Ryukyu Islands. Her task group was dispersed on June 13, and she put in at Leyte for refitting.

On July 1, the USS Atlanta departed with Task Group 38.1 to support the carrier strikes against the Japanese home islands. During this time, she helped bombard shore targets on Honshu and Hokkaido. The cruiser was off the coast of Honshu when the Japanese surrendered on August 15. She entered Tokyo Bay from September 16 until September 29 until she returned to the United States with homeward bound war veterans.

After World War II, USS Atlanta headed to Terminal Island for a major overhaul. Her work was completed by January 3, 1946, and she sailed for a Far East deployment that brought her to Mainla, Tsingtao, Shanghai, Okinawa, Saipan, Nagasaki, Kagoshima, and Yokosuka. The cruiser arrived back at San Pedro on June 27 and entered San Francisco Naval Shipyard for overhaul.

The USS Atlanta operated off the coast of California until February 23, 1947, when she headed to Pearl Harbor. On May 1, she joined Task Force 38 for a cruise to Australia that brought them also to the Coral Sea, Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Guam before ending back at San Pedro on July 28.

From there, USS Atlanta operated off California for a short time before returning to Pearl Harbor. On September 30, she headed back to the Far East, The cruiser visited Tsingtao, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Keelung before she returned to San Diego on April 27, 1948 via Kwajalein and Pearl Harbor.

After conducting exercises off California, the USS Atlanta cruised to Juneau for the last week of June and first week of July. She then underwent overhaul at Seattle before heading back to San Diego in November. The cruiser conducted a training cruise in February 1949 before entering Mare Island Naval Shipyard for deactivation.

USS Atlanta was decommissioned on July 1, 1949. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on October 1, 1962 but reinstated on May 15, 1964. The cruiser underwent conversion as a target ship, IX-304, to take part in Operation Sailor Hat in 1965. She was damaged, not sunk. The ship was struck again from the Naval Vessel Register on April 1, 1970 and sunk as a target on October 1, 1970 off San Clemente Island. USS Atlanta received two battle stars for her service in World War II.

Like other World War II era ships, the USS Atlanta was built with asbestos-containing materials. The toxic substance asbestos was known for its resistance to heat, water, fire, and corrosion. Because of this, it could be found in virtually all areas of the cruiser. Anyone who served onboard the USS Atlanta or participated in her repair and overhaul was put at risk of developing serious asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, throat cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, and rectal cancer.

USS Atlanta workers should monitor their health carefully, and consult a doctor if they experience any symptoms associated with mesothelioma.  Anyone who worked in or around the USS Atlanta, and is diagnosed with mesothelioma, should also consider contacting a lawyer to discuss their legal rights.

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