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. They later developed asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Veterans who were exposed to asbestos on amphibious warships may be able to file a lawsuit against asbestos manufacturers to be compensated for their injuries.

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The Link Between Asbestos & Amphibious Warships

Two Ships In The Water

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

Amphibious warships typically discharge cargo to be used during battle and support soldiers on the ground. They are used to transport troops, equipment, and supplies from ship to shore. They also work in humanitarian efforts, disaster relief, and crisis response.

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 cover treatment expenses and get justice. To find out what benefits and compensation you qualify for, get our Free Veterans Packet.

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Why Were Veterans Exposed to Asbestos on Amphibious Warships?

Veterans were exposed to asbestos on amphibious warships because government mandates required all Navy vessels to use asbestos-based products — and the dangers of exposure weren’t known until decades later.

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

It often takes 10 to 50 years before the symptoms of asbestos-related diseases appear after exposure. Thus, Navy veterans that worked with asbestos-based insulation, gaskets, and other products aboard amphibious warships decades ago are at risk today.

Mesothelioma Risks in U.S. Navy Veterans Video Thumbnail

Video Summary: U.S. Navy veterans are at a high risk of mesothelioma due to the use of asbestos on Navy ships. The Mesothelioma Veterans Center can help affected veterans and families pursue benefits, medical care, and financial aid if eligible.

Military members who served between the 1930s and 1980s were very likely exposed to asbestos, particularly in the Navy, because asbestos was used throughout the ships to insulate pipes and insulate their boiler systems.

And being that you were a sailor on a ship, you would've likely been on ship for months at any given time. And that's why we see the highest rate of mesothelioma cases in Navy veterans.

Veterans diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases are entitled to several different types of benefits from the VA, to include disability benefits, [and] health care benefits. There are even survivor benefits for those with asbestos-related diseases.

If a veteran believes they were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military, we encourage them to call the Mesothelioma Veterans Center so that we can work together to help them file for VA benefits.

When Was Asbestos Discovered on Amphibious Warships?

The U.S. Navy knew that its ships contained asbestos since the 1930s, when products using this substance were first used aboard vessels. However, the dangers weren’t revealed until decades after that. 

Testimonial

“I was a boiler tender when I went aboard my first ship and started doing my first job. They told me — I asked them what material it was made out of and they told me asbestos. It didn’t kill anybody on the spot, that’s for sure, but it took years later when it starting catching up with us.”

Walter TwidwellWalter Twidwell
U.S. Navy Veteran
Mesothelioma Patient

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has regulated asbestos exposure in the workplace since 1971, with varying levels of recommendations.

Unfortunately, thousands of Navy veterans had been exposed to asbestos on amphibious ships and other vessels by the time the risks were known. Navy vessels still used asbestos until the early 1980s.

If you were exposed to asbestos during your service and got sick from it, help is waiting for you. Our Free Veterans Packet can tell you all the benefits and assistance you may qualify for.

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. Other areas of the ships were affected by asbestos as well.

Asbestos-containing products used in amphibious warships included:

  • Pipe insulation
  • Gaskets
  • Pumps
  • Turbines
  • Boilers
  • Engines

Navy or Marine Corps personnel on the ships could unknowingly inhale or ingest asbestos, 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.

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Who is at Risk of Asbestos Exposure From Amphibious Warships?

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

  • Builders
  • Machinists
  • Insulators
  • Kitchen staff
  • Mechanics
  • Medical officers
  • Pipefitters
  • Naval officers
  • Plumbers
  • Shipbuilding personnel (shipyard workers)
  • Staff in boiler rooms and engine rooms
  • Welders
  • Woodworkers

Many sailors that lived and worked on amphibious warships laced with asbestos 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.

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

Have You Served Aboard Any of These Warships?File a Claim Now

How Can Veterans Get Compensated for Asbestos Exposure?

Veterans who were exposed to asbestos serving the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps on amphibious warships have options to be compensated for any asbestos-related illnesses they develop.

Two ways they may seek compensation are through filing a mesothelioma lawsuit against the companies that developed asbestos-containing products or by applying for Veterans Administration benefits.

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Veterans can file mesothelioma lawsuits with help from a knowledgeable asbestos lawyer. If you have a mesothelioma diagnosis linked to your time spent on an amphibious warship, you may be eligible for a lawsuit.

A mesothelioma lawyer or law firm can help you start your lawsuit, act as your legal communicator throughout the claims process, and negotiate a settlement for you.

99% of mesothelioma lawsuits reach settlements
99% of mesothelioma lawsuits reach settlements.

VA Benefits

Veterans who were exposed to asbestos while serving in a military branch may be able to collect VA benefits.

Veterans with mesothelioma typically receive a 100% disability rating by the VA, meaning they get the most compensation available in their case.

You may qualify for VA benefits if:

  • You were exposed to asbestos in the military
  • You developed an illness linked to asbestos
  • You didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge

Mesothelioma lawyers can help you learn your legal rights, gather information so you can file a VA claim, or start a lawsuit if necessary.

$1 Million Average Settlement
$1 Million
Average Settlement
*varies case by case

Help for Navy Veterans With Mesothelioma

Should you or a loved one develop asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma after serving on a U.S. Naval ship, help is available.

Navy veterans with mesothelioma can: 

    Be treated at specialty VA medical centers that help people with mesothelioma
  • Pursue financial VA benefits like disability compensation
  • Qualify for compensation from makers of asbestos-based products through lawsuits or asbestos trust fund claims

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 mesothelioma patient advocates is standing by to help you with a free case evaluation.

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Get information on:

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Frequently Asked Questions About Asbestos and Amphibious Warships

Do Marine Corps and Navy ships still have asbestos?

No. Asbestos manufacturers hid the health risks from the general public until the 1980s. By then, asbestos use had been widespread in U.S. Navy and Marine Corps ships for decades.

Once the danger of asbestos became well known, it was no longer used in ship production

When were amphibious warships first used in the Marine Corps and Navy?

The first amphibious ships were developed and used in World War I by the English Royal Navy. In the period between World War I and World War II, interest in amphibious warfare increased dramatically. This was the period when U.S. forces began to employ amphibious warships.

Advances were made before and during the second world war, culminating in arguably the most famous amphibious assault in history, D-Day.

How many veterans were exposed to asbestos on amphibious warships?

It’s difficult to say. Many veterans who were exposed to asbestos on amphibious warships or other vessels are just being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer today. It can take 10-50 years after asbestos exposure for mesothelioma symptoms to appear.

It is likely that more veterans will continue to be diagnosed as asbestos was used by the U.S. Navy well into the early 1980s. 

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

Can you sue the Navy or Marine Corps for asbestos exposure?

No.

When you file a lawsuit seeking compensation for mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illnesses, you are not suing the U.S. government. In fact, the Navy and Marines were victims of the lies told by asbestos companies, too.

Lawsuits are filed against the companies that manufactured and sold asbestos products or the trust funds these companies established. The VA can offer some forms of payment or other help, but these are the benefits you earned through your service and don’t require a lawsuit.

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.

  1. National Cancer Institute. Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk. Retrieved January 21, 2023 from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/asbestos/asbestos-fact-sheet.
  2. Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved January 14, 2023 from https://www.history.navy.mil/
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Compensation - Asbestos Exposure.” Retrieved January 20, 2023 from: https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/claims-postservice-exposures-asbestos.asp
  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii, Chapter 1, Section 1. Developing Claims for Service Connection (SC) Based on Other Exposure Types. Retrieved January 14, 2023, from https://www.knowva.ebenefits.va.gov/system/templates/selfservice/va_ssnew/help/customer/locale/en-US/portal/554400000001018/content/554400000033326/M21-1,-Part-IV,-Subpart-ii,-Chapter-1,-Section-I---Developing-Claims-for-Service-Connection-(SC)-Based-on-Other-Exposure-Types