Throughout the years, shipbuilders prided themselves on using the best techniques and materials to send people across the seas. Little did they know that one of the natural materials relied on—asbestos—was toxic. Although shipbuilders stopped using asbestos components in the 1970s, people today who were exposed decades ago are suffering the ill effects of asbestos exposure in shipyards decades ago. If you worked at Naval Base Kodiak and mesothelioma plagues you today, read on to learn how to protect your legal rights.
Naval Base Kodiak and Mesothelioma: The Legacy of Shipyard Asbestos Exposure
Naval Base Kodiak has served the U.S. in various forms through the years. From its beginnings as a naval air station to its present-day operations as a U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, the base’s strategic location made it an important point in U.S. military operations on the West Coast. But, while it offered protection for the country’s citizens in times of war or peace, those who worked there suffered asbestos exposure at Naval Air Station Kodiak, leaving a legacy beyond mere memories.
The Establishment of Naval Base Kodiak
Naval Air Station Kodiak was established in 1941, commanded by Commander John Perry. The location was chosen for the surrounding ice-free waters. It served as the principal advance naval base in Alaska and the North Pacific at the beginning of World War II. Ships and submarines from Naval Base Kodiak played a critical role in the Aleutian campaign.
Nearby Fort Greely supplied coast artillery and infantry troops to defend against possible invaders. Fort Abercrombie was established as a sub-post of Fort Greely with a permanent 8-inch gun battery in 1943.
Kodiak Welcomes the U.S. Coast Guard
In 1947, the Coast Guard Air Station joined the naval base as an air detachment at Naval Air Station Kodiak. The U.S. Navy left Kodiak in 1971. The base is now known as Integrated Support Command Kodiak, the largest operating base of the U.S. Coast Guard in Kodiak, Alaska. Integrated Support Command Kodiak is homeport to USCGC Alex Haley, USCGC Storis, and USCGC Spar.
Naval Base Kodiak, Fort Greely, and Fort Abercrombie are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The base was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1985.
Naval Base Kodiak and Mesothelioma: The Dark History of the Base
Ships and aircraft that passed through Naval Base Kodiak were built using components that contained asbestos. Until the 1970s, asbestos was in common use because of its heat resistance, fire resistance, water resistance, and resistance to corrosion. It was cheap and readily available, so it could be found in wall insulation, floor and ceiling tiles, fire doors, valves, gaskets, boilers, turbines, incinerators, engine rooms, sealants, cement, hot water pipes, steam pipes, welding blankets, and rope.
It was later learned that material was also a health hazard, so asbestos exposure is now part of the base’s legacy. Workers at the base were exposed to asbestos without the benefit of protective clothing or gear.
The Effects of Shipyard Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos inhalation and ingestion can cause a number of serious, often terminal illnesses. Some of these asbestos-related diseases are lung cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.
Asbestosis is a scarring of the lungs brought on by inhaling asbestos fibers. It is characterized by shortness of breath, not coughing, and can lead to respiratory failure. Asbestosis is an irreversible condition that can also lead to an increased risk of developing mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the mesothelium, the lining that surrounds the lungs. It cannot be diagnosed for 20 to 50 years after initial asbestos exposure because the symptoms take so long to manifest. Symptoms of mesothelioma can mimic other illnesses such as pneumonia and lung cancer, so it is important to naval base workers to inform their doctors of their history of exposure to asbestos in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
Mesothelioma has no cure, and it is resistant to traditional cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. After receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma, many patients only have about one year to live.
The Relationship Between Naval Base Kodiak and Mesothelioma and You
Naval Base Kodiak workers should monitor their health carefully and consult a doctor if they experience any symptoms associated with mesothelioma. People who worked at Naval Base Kodiak and are diagnosed with mesothelioma should also consider contacting a lawyer to discuss their legal rights.
Shipyard Asbestos Exposure: Your Next Steps
If you worked at Naval Base Kodiak and mesothelioma is your diagnosis, you need an experienced mesothelioma attorney to explain your rights and fight for compensation for you. At Nemeroff Law Firm, our team of mesothelioma lawyers has won settlements and verdicts for asbestos nationwide. Call us toll-free at 866-342-1929 or complete our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We’re here to fight for you.