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The USS Arkansas and Asbestos: What You Need to Know

Image of the USS Arkansas (BB-33), representing the risk of those who worked on or near the USS Arkansas and asbestos-related illnesses and how consulting the mesothelioma attorneys at Nemeroff Law Firm can help protect your legal rights.

Many warships during World War I and World War II were constructed using asbestos-containing parts. For this reason, USS Arkansas workers should monitor their health carefully, and consult a doctor if they experience any symptoms associated with mesothelioma. Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer who believes that working on USS Arkansas and asbestos exposure are the causes of their illness, should read on.

The USS Arkansas and Asbestos Exposure

Like other Navy ships of its time, the USS Arkansas was built with many components that contained the hazardous material asbestos. Known for its resistance to heat, fire, water, and corrosion, asbestos was used in virtually all areas of the ship. But we now know that exposure asbestos and the USS Arkansas service may increase the risk of developing asbestos-related conditions. Experts now connect service on ships like the USS Arkansas and mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disorders.

USS Arkansas and Asbestos: Together From the Beginning

The story of the ship began on March 3, 1909, when the U.S. Navy ordered the production of USS Arkansas (BB-33). The New York Shipbuilding Company in New Jersey built her, she was launched on January 14, 1911, and she was commissioned on September 17, 1912 under the command of Captain Roy C. Smith.

President William Howard Taft visited the USS Arkansas on October 14, 1912, as part of a fleet review. The battleship transported the President to the Panama Canal for inspection of its development. She returned President Taft to Key West, Florida on December 26.

The USS Arkansas joined the Atlantic Fleet in 1913, on the East Coast before sailing across the Atlantic. The Arkansas docked in ports in the Mediterranean Sea, including a stop at Naples, Italy to celebrate King Vittorio Emanuele III’s birthday.

In 1914, the USS Arkansas headed to Veracruz to support a battalion securing Mexican waters. When the ship arrived on April 22, two of her sailors died in the fighting that secured the city. She left Mexico near the end of September, heading toward Hampton Roads, Virginia. There the crew completed a week of training before heading to the New York Navy Yard for modifications and repairs.

Over the next few years, the ship performed a lot of fleet exercises and maneuvers, including torpedo exercises in Mobile Bay on March 12, 1916. She was overhauled in the New York Navy Yard the following month.

The USS Arkansas in World War I

On April 6, 1917, when the United States joined World War I, the USS Arkansas patrolled the York River in Virginia as part of Battleship Division 7 (BatDiv 7). After training gun crews and patrolling the U.S. East Coast for over a year, the Arkansas received orders to relieve the USS Delaware in Rosyth, Scotland in July 1918. While in Scotland, the Arkansas served for the British Grand Fleet as part of the Sixth Battle Squadron.

After World War I ended, the USS Arkansas left the British Grand Fleet and met with the USS George Washington at the Isle of Portland, England. She served as part of President Woodrow Wilson’s escort of honor as he sailed to Brest, France. From there, the battleship headed toward New York City and was later overhauled in the Norfolk Navy Yard.

The USS Arkansas in World War II

Before the start of World War II, the USS Arkansas remained busy. She took weather observations, served as an orientation vessel for Curtiss flying boats, transported Admiral William S. Benson and his spouse from the Paris Peace Conference, and performed in a number of training exercises and patrol duties. The battleship was overhauled and repaired many times and was involved in a number of ceremonial celebrations during peacetime.

When World War II began in Europe, the USS Arkansas was at Hampton Roads. In the early 1940s, she headed to Guantanamo Bay with the USS Texas and the USS New York for fleet exercises. The Arkansas was again overhauled at Norfolk Navy Yard before sailing to Panama and Venezuela for midshipman training. Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles and Averell Harriman had accommodations on the USS Arkansas during the Atlantic Charter conference in Newfoundland from August 8 to 14, 1941.

The USS Arkansas was anchored in Casco Bay, Maine when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941. She escorted cargo and troop transports as flagship of Task Force 38 (TF 38), crossing the Atlantic a number of times. The battleship covered a convoy to Casablanca before heading for New York for overhaul.

Throughout World War II, USS Arkansas continued to serve alternately as a convoy escort and a training vessel. She sailed for Bangor, Ireland, on April 18, 1944, to train for shore bombardment. And she supported the Invasion of Normandy in June, positioning herself three and a half kilometers off the section of shoreline code-named Omaha Beach.

Over the next few months, the USS Arkansas went into battle off the coast of Cherbourg, Algeria, and Italy. She invaded the southern French coast in Operation Anvil, on August 14, 1944. The battleship then returned to the United States for repairs and modifications in Boston.

In January 1945, the USS Arkansas headed toward Pearl Harbor then on to Ulithi. She prepared for the later attack on Iwo Jima, which began on February 16. After clearing the waters there, she returned to Ulithi for refueling and provisions before the invasion of Okinawa in March. For 46 days, the battleship fended off kamikazes and provided fire support.

The USS Arkansas dry-docked in Apra Harbor in Guam on May 14, 1945. When the war ended, she brought 800 U.S. servicemen back home as part of Operation Magic Carpet. Thereafter, she made several more trips to bring soldiers back from Pearl Harbor to the U.S. mainland.

The USS Arkansas received four battle stars for her service during World War II. In July 1946, she was fired upon by an atomic bomb for nuclear testing as a part of Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll. The battleship survived the blast by the bomb Able but was sunk by a second test with the bomb Baker on July 25. The USS Arkansas was decommissioned on July 29, 1946, and removed from the Naval Vessel Register on August 15, 1946.

The USS Arkansas and Asbestos: What’s the Connection?

Many Navy ships were in use in the twentieth century, like the USS Arkansas, and asbestos was a common component. In 1918, toward the end of World War I, government regulations began to recognize the risks of using asbestos, but shipbuilders continued to use asbestos.

When asbestos is disturbed, particles are dispersed into the air, and those nearby may inhale or ingest the asbestos particles. Once inside the body, the particles can cause various conditions including mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other forms of cancer.

Given any type of construction, repair, upgrading, refurbishment, or damage to the USS Arkansas and asbestos particles may have been released into the air.

Many sailors who worked on board and workers who helped repair and overhaul the USS Arkansas and asbestos protective gear was non-existent. Those workers and their families are risk for developing life-threatening asbestos-related illnesses like lung cancer, throat cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma, a dangerous form of cancer that attacks the mesothelium of certain organs.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness like mesothelioma and believe that your condition was caused by working on the USS Arkansas and asbestos exposure, contact an experienced lawyer. You may be entitled to financial compensations for your lost wages and treatment. Contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney at Nemeroff Law Firm by calling 866-342-1929 or by completing an online form for a free case evaluation.

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