Asbestos on Amphibious Warships

Quick Summary

Many amphibious warships were created using asbestos. As a result, many sailors on these ships were exposed to airborne asbestos. These sailors later developed asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Asbestos and Amphibious Warships Explained

Amphibious ships are specialized ships belonging to the Marine Corp and the Navy. They are used to transport troops, equipment and supplies from ship to shore. They also work in humanitarian efforts, disaster relief and crisis response.

These warships are relatively new to the Marine Corp. While they were not available in World War II, there have been many amphibious warships created since this time period. The U.S. has the most powerful amphibious strength throughout the world.

Amphibious warships are also referred to as “gator freighters” because they thrive on the ocean. Their primary use is the discharge of cargo to be used on the ground during battle and the provision of support to soldiers on the ground. Both the Marine Corp and the Navy have amphibious warships.

The three main types of amphibious warships are:

  • Command ships
  • Landing craft air cushion ships
  • Amphibious assault ships

There were literally hundreds of amphibious warships commissioned by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp. The ships listed below encompass a partial list of all amphibious war ships used by the Navy and the Marine Corp:

  • USS Accomac—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1959
  • USS Achernar—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1982
  • USS Adair—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1970
  • USS Adirondack—Commissioned in 1945 and scrapped in 1972
  • USS Alamance—Commissioned in 1944 and still functioning
  • USS Alamo—Commissioned in 1956 and sent to Brazil in 1990
  • USS Alchiba—Commissioned in 1941 and scrapped in 1973
  • USS Alcyone—Commissioned in 1941 and scrapped in 1969
  • USS Algol—Commissioned in 1943 and sunk in 1991
  • USS Algorab—Commissioned in 1941 and scrapped in 1973
  • USS Athena—Commissioned in 1941 and scrapped in 1971
  • USS Allendale—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1988
  • USS Almaack—Commissioned in 1941, whereabouts unknown
  • USS Alpine—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1971
  • USS Alshain—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1971
  • USS American Legion—Commissioned in 1941 and scrapped in 1948
  • USS Amesbury—Commissioned in 1943 and scrapped in 1962
  • USS Anchorage—Commissioned in 1969 and sunk in 2010
  • USS Ancon—Commissioned in 1942 and scrapped in 1973
  • USS Andromeda—Commissioned in 1942 and sold in 1971
  • USS Appalachian—Commissioned in 1943 and later scrapped
  • USS Appling—Commissioned in 1943 and scrapped in 1954
  • USS Aquarius—Commissioned in 1944 and sold in 1947
  • USS Arcturus—Commissioned in 1940 and scrapped in 1971
  • USS Arenac—Commissioned in 1945 and scrapped in 1974
  • USS Ameb—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1973
  • USS Artemis—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in the 1960s
  • USS Arthur L Bristol—Commissioned in 1945 and scrapped in 1965
  • USS Arthur Middleton—Commissioned in 1942 and scrapped in 1973
  • USS Ashland—Commissioned in 1943 and scrapped in 1970
  • USS Athene—commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1974
  • USS Attala—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1974
  • USS Auburn—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1961
  • USS Audrain—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1972
  • USS Audubon—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1974
  • USS Aurelia—Commissioned in 1944 and sent to the Maritime Commission
  • USS Austin—Commissioned in 1965 and scrapped in 2009
  • USS Balduck—Commissioned in 1945 and scrapped in 1976
  • USS Bandera—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1974
  • USS Banner—Commissioned in 1944 and scuttled in 1948
  • USS Barber—Commissioned in 1943 and sent to Mexico in 1969
  • USS Barnett—Commissioned in 1940 and scrapped in 1966
  • USS Barnstable—Commissioned in 1944 and scrapped in 1973
  • USS Barnwell—Commissioned in 1945 and sunk in the 1980s
  • USS Barr—Commissioned in 1944 and sunk in 1963

If you worked on any of these ships, you may be at risk for diseases related to asbestos exposure. Check with your branch of the service to see if you were stationed on any of these ships.

Risks For Asbestos Exposure on Amphibious Warships

As you can see, many of these ships were functioning in WW II. Fortunately, there aren’t many of these ships in use today, as most were sunk or decommissioned. However, this doesn’t mean that the risk of asbestosis or mesothelioma has passed. There can be a five-decade lag time between the exposure to asbestos and coming down with asbestosis or mesothelioma.

These ships not only carried cargo, but they also carried battle personnel and were designed to deploy a large number of troops at any given time in battle. Asbestos was widely used in the pipes on these warships. These pipes traveled throughout the ship, including crew quarters and mess halls. The pipes had a tendency to become wet and break down. It is through this break down of asbestos-containing pipes that asbestos was allowed to become airborne so that sailors could inhale or ingest the substance, resulting in asbestos-associated diseases, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

The quarters on these warships were not well ventilated and asbestos in the air had no place to go. Sailors stuck in these small quarters were exposed to asbestos from the products, insulation and piping. While they often experienced no symptoms of an asbestos-related disease at the time of deployment on these ships, the symptoms developed many decades later. Sailors today that lived and worked on amphibious warships are just now developing the cough, chest pain and weight loss associated with the development of mesothelioma.

If you were in the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Marine Corps and believe you were exposed to asbestos as a result of your deployment on one of these amphibious warships, you need to be screened on a regular basis for asbestos-related diseases.

Should you develop asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma, you can be treated at specialty VA Medical Centers that help mesothelioma patients. As your asbestos exposure was directly the result of your time in the service, it is considered a service-related condition that is one hundred percent covered by your VA Medical benefits. In some cases, you may be awarded compensation for your asbestos-related illness through funds the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corp have set up to handle issues such as this one.