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.

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Asbestos and Amphibious Warships Explained

Amphibious ships are specialized ships belonging to the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. 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.

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These warships are relatively new to the Marine Corps and Navy. While they were not available in World War II, there have been many amphibious warships created since that time. Amphibious warships typically discharge cargo to be used during battle and support soldiers on the ground.

The three main types of amphibious warships are:

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

Sadly, many of these ships were built with a deadly material called asbestos. Exposure to asbestos can lead to incurable cancers like mesothelioma later in life. Thankfully, U.S. veterans with mesothelioma or other cancers can pursue military benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and compensation to afford treatments and get justice.

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List of Navy Amphibious Warships With Asbestos

There were literally hundreds of amphibious warships commissioned by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.

an amphibious warship

The ships listed below encompass a partial list of all amphibious warships used by the Navy and the Marine Corps.

  • 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

Get a free veterans packet if you worked on any of these ships as you may be at risk of diseases related to asbestos-related illnesses.

Risks of Asbestos Exposure on Amphibious Warships

While many veterans served aboard U.S. Navy ships that used asbestos, they may not have known about the high risks until decades later.

It often takes 20 to 50 years before the symptoms of asbestos-related diseases appear after exposure. As a result, many veterans who were exposed to asbestos on amphibious warships or other vessels are just being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer today.

It is likely that more veterans will continue to be diagnosed as asbestos was used by the U.S. Navy well into the 1970s. 

It is likely that more veterans will continue to be diagnosed as asbestos was used by the U.S. Navy well into the 1970s.

The general public was largely unaware of the health risks associated with the use of asbestos as major manufacturers hit the truth to keep making a profit.

Thankfully, Marine Corps and Navy veterans with mesothelioma can pursue VA benefits and other forms of compensation to get help after a diagnosis.

How Was Asbestos Used on Warships?

Asbestos materials were widely used in the pipes on U.S. Navy vessels. These pipes traveled throughout the ship.

The pipes had a tendency to become wet and break down. This breakdown could allow asbestos to become airborne. From there, Marine Corps or Navy personnel could inhale or ingest it without notice, putting them at risk of deadly diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Further, these warships had poor ventilation and asbestos fibers in the air had no place to go. Sailors stuck in small quarters were exposed to asbestos from insulation, piping, and other products.

Veterans at a high risk of asbestos exposure on Naval ships included:

  • Machinists
  • Shipbuilding personnel (shipyard workers)
  • Those working in boiler rooms and engine rooms

Many sailors that lived and worked on amphibious warships are just now developing symptoms like a cough, chest pain, and weight loss that are associated with mesothelioma. Sadly, veterans didn’t know the dangers of asbestos until they had already been exposed.

Help for Veterans With Mesothelioma

Should you or a loved one develop asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma after serving on a U.S. Naval ship, you can be treated at specialty VA medical centers that help mesothelioma patients.

If your asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis were directly the result of your time in the service, you’ll qualify for a variety of financial and medical VA benefits. Veterans with mesothelioma receive a 100% disability rating by the VA, meaning they get the most compensation available in their case.

Further, veterans with mesothelioma may also qualify for financial compensation from the makers of asbestos-containing products. This compensation can be accessed either through a lawsuit or through an asbestos trust fund claim.

Get a free veterans packet to see if you can pursue VA benefits and other forms of compensation. Our team of VA-accredited mesothelioma lawyers and caring patient advocates is standing by to help you.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

View 1 Sources
  1. Amphibious warship image retrieved from Naval History and Heritage Command at https://www.history.navy.mil/
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