What is the link between the USS Boxer and asbestos? Like all other ships built during World War II, the USS Boxer was constructed using asbestos-containing components. The U.S. Navy stockpiled asbestos during WWII to use in shipbuilding and repair. The naturally occurring material was valued for its resistance to heat, water, fire, and corrosion. While the Navy was aware of a link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma by 1960, a research of the literature found it was not until 1970 that the Navy realized encapsulated asbestos components were also a risk to health.
The USS Boxer and Asbestos Material
The USS Boxer was ordered for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She was built at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. Asbestos was used throughout the USS Boxer and mesothelioma was planted like a hidden bomb inside the lungs of some of the builders.
Being subjected to the cancer-causing asbestos material did not occur just in the shipyard where the CV-21carrier was built. Maintenance activity, repair, and overhaul of the ship provided potential for exposure. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has compiled a list of how service members and civilians were possibly exposed to asbestos:
- Working in the shipyard after 1930
- Serving on a Navy vessel built prior to 1983
- Renovating asbestos-containing structures and/or removing asbestos materials
- Working below deck where asbestos was used and the ventilation was poor
- Removing damaged asbestos and then using asbestos material to re-wrap pipes
- Working with, damaging, or repairing materials that contained asbestos
The Historic Life of the USS Boxer CV-21 Brings Crew in Contact with Asbestos
The USS Boxer (CV 21) was finished too late to take part in the fighting during World War II, but did tours on the West coast and in the Far East through 1950. At the beginning of the Korean conflict the USS Boxer carried 150 planes to the combat zone, crossing the Pacific in record-breaking time.
The Boxer received some quick repairs in August 1950 then returned to provide air support to American troops in Korea. Later that year she sailed back to San Diego for an overhaul.
A fire on the hangar deck in August 1952 killed nine men and seriously injured two others. The carrier received emergency repairs at Yokosuka then headed to San Diego for permanent repairs. During this time she was reclassified as a CVA 21.
The USS Boxer served in the final military actions of the Korean conflict. Between that time and the Vietnam War, the USS Boxer was used as an anti-submarine warfare carrier, an assault helicopter carrier and an amphibious assault ship. She also participated in nuclear tests and participated in the Cuban missile crisis.
The Boxer supplied helicopters and planes to the 1st Cavalry Division during the Vietnam War. She later served as the prime recovery vessel for the first flight of the Apollo Command and Service Modules on February 26, 1966.
The USS Boxer was struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 1969 and was sold for scrap. She was torn down by the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1971.
Builders, Crew Members, the USS Boxer and Asbestos Danger
Through three conflicts and peace time many persons worked on board the USS Boxer and asbestos was always present. Anyone who helped build the USS Boxer, served aboard her, or participated in her repair, overhaul or tear-down was put at risk of developing life-threatening asbestos-related illnesses. Even family members of those who worked on or around the ship may be at risk due to secondhand exposure. USS Boxer workers and their families should monitor their health carefully and seek a medical consultation if they experience any symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma.
Answers About the USS Boxer and Mesothelioma
Anyone who worked on or around the USS Boxer who is diagnosed with mesothelioma should also consider contacting a lawyer to discuss his or her legal rights. Nemeroff Law Firm is a nationwide expert law firm in mesothelioma- and asbestos-related personal injury claims. We have successfully represented persons who have suffered from the debilitating effects of working with asbestos. If you or a loved one worked on the USS Boxer and asbestos has caused an illness or cancer, contact us today for a consultation by telephone: 866-342-1929 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.