The USS California and Asbestos: Everything You Need to Know About

Image of the USS California at sea, representing how service or work on or around the USS California and asbestos exposure have increased the risk of crew, workers, and their families of suffering from asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and how mesothelioma attorneys at Nemeroff Law Firm can help.

Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that attacks the protective lining surrounding the lungs and other organs. Like other U.S. Navy ships of its time, the USS California was built with many components that contained the toxic substance asbestos. If you were a worker on the USS California and asbestos is the cause of your disease, you may be entitled to compensation.

History of the USS California and Asbestos-Related Diseases

At the time of the construction of the USS California, asbestos was known for its fireproofing properties and its resistance to heat, water, and corrosion. As a result, shipbuilders used asbestos materials in many parts of the USS California and other Navy ships of that era. But when asbestos particles are released into the air, those nearby can inhale the particles, which can then penetrate the lining of many organs, leading to mesothelioma cancer and other diseases. A review of the history of the USS California shows how many may have been affected by this exposure.

The USS California’s Pre-War History

Battleship 44, USS California, was ordered for the U.S. Navy on December 28, 1915. The ship was built at Mare Island Navy Shipyard on October 25, 1916. The battleship was launched on November 20, 1919, and commissioned under the command of Captain H.J. Ziegemeier on the 10th of August, 1921.

The USS California began her career carrying the commanding admiral for the Pacific Fleet and later for the United States Battle Force or Battle Fleet. In the 1920s, soon after her commission, she won the Gunnery “E” and Battle Efficiency Pennant awards.

In 1925, the USS California set off for a goodwill tour, leading the Battle Fleet to New Zealand and Australia.

In the late 1920s the battleship underwent a modernization, updating its armaments. The battleship was then based in California from the mid to late 1930s and made it to the World’s Fair in New York City in 1939.

The USS California also competed for the “Iron Man Trophy” and won in 1924. She retained the title until 1927. Her sailors competed in football, baseball, boxing, rowing, wrestling, basketball, and other sports as part of the trophy competition. The battleship earned the Iron Man trophy again in 1939, after which many of the most important warships were rebased in Hawaii due to concerns about relations with the Japanese government.

USS California World War II Involvement

The USS California was stationed at Pearl Harbor when Japan began its assault on December 7, 1941. The ship withstood the detonation of two torpedoes before a 551-pound bomb hit the starboard upper deck, destroying an armored second deck and causing 50 casualties. Another bomb also damaged the battleship, rupturing the bow plates and causing the ship to take on water.

The battleship was evacuated, and, after a couple of days of flooding, it sank to the mud. One hundred crew members died and 62 were wounded in the attacks. U.S. Navy Sailor Robert R. Scott was later presented with the Medal of Honor for his heroism.

In March 1942, the USS California was raised from the sea floor for repairs in Pearl Harbor. Several months later, she was able to sail to a Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington for reconstruction and refitting. When finished, she was practically a new ship constructed out of the remains.

In 1944, a shell struck USS California during the invasion of the Mariana Islands, causing one death and nine injuries. Over the next few months, she was involved in operations at Guam, Tinian, Manus, Leyte, and the Battle of Surigao Strait.

On the 6th of January, 1945, the USS California was bombarding the shore of a Philippine Gulf when a kamikaze plane hit the ship, killing 44 men and injuring 155. The battleship was temporarily repaired and remained in the area until the mission was completed. She arrived at Puget Sound Navy Yard for proper repairs on February 15.

After repairs, the USS California participated in the battle at Okinawa and in mine-sweeping operations in the East China Sea. In February 1947, she was decommissioned and 12 years later was sold for scrap.

How Are Working on the USS California and Asbestos Related?

Like many ships of her day, the USS California was built with asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos particles become dangerous when disturbed and released into the air. This release of asbestos particles could occur while workers were building, modernizing, or repairing the ships or when the ship was bombarded and severely damaged. Anyone who worked in or around the battleship may have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos.

Asbestos exposure is concerning because it can lead to lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, throat cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer. USS California workers should monitor their health carefully, and consult a doctor if they experience any symptoms associated with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related conditions.

Those diagnosed with cancer and who believe that working on the USS California and asbestos exposure caused their disease should contact an experienced mesothelioma lawyer immediately.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness like mesothelioma and the USS California plays a part in your past, you need to learn more about your legal rights. If you believe the condition is related to working on USS and asbestos exposure, contact Nemeroff Law Firm to explore your legal rights. You may be entitled to monetary compensation to help you cover for your treatment and lost wages. Call 866-342-1929 to speak to an expert mesothelioma lawyer at Nemeroff Law Firm or fill in your information for a free mesothelioma case evaluation.

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