USS Midway (CV-41) - Facts and Asbestos Exposure


The USS Midway (CV-41) was a Midway-class aircraft carrier. The ship acted like an airbase that was in motion at sea.

In its almost five decades of operations, the ship provided support for aircraft from armament to shelter to repair work. The ship distinguished itself during the Vietnam War, and as a result, it was rewarded with four battle stars and the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation.

Technical Features of the USS Midway (CV-41)

Class and type: Midway-class aircraft carrier
Ordered: 1 August 1942
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding
Laid down: 27 October 1943
Launched: 20 March 1945
Commissioned: 10 September 1945
Decommissioned: 11 April 1992
Fate: Museum ship at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, California
Displacement: 45,000 tons (at commissioning), 64,000 tons (at decommissioning)
Length: 972 ft (296 m)
Beam: 121 ft (37 m), 136 ft (41 m), 238 ft (73 m) at flight deck after modernization
Draft: 34.5 ft (10.5 m)
Propulsion: 12 boilers, four Westinghouse geared turbines
Speed: 33 kn (38 mph; 61 km/h)
Complement: 4,104 officers and men
At commissioning: 18 x 5/54 caliber Mark 16 guns; 84 x Bosfor 40 mm guns; 68 x Oerlikon 22 mm cannons
At decommissioning:2 8-cell Sea Sparrow launchers; 2 Phalanx CIWS
Awards: 34 battle stars

History of the USS Midway (CV-41)

USS Midway was the lead ship of the Midway class, and until 1955, it used to be the largest one in its category. The advantage of this ship consisted of the fact that its design was so innovative that it could be operated better than all the other carriers previously built. After the carrier was commissioned under Captain Joseph F. Bolger's command, the USS Midway started the activity along the U.S. Atlantic Fleet with training exercises in Norfolk. Also, the ship was designated to be the flagship for Carrier Division 1.

In June 1965, the USS Midway was involved in combating two of the Southern Asia MiGs. A few years later, in 1971, the ship returned to Vietnam, where it continued the fights. It also participated in Operation Frequent Wind, which had the main purpose of evacuating the American citizens from Saigon, but also the rest of the civilians that could have been in danger at that time.

For the services brought to the country in the period between 30 April 1972 and 9 February 1973, the Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to the USS Midway by President Richard Nixon.

After the Vietnam War, the ship operated under the US flag for another 15 years until it was accidentally destroyed by two explosions that took place onboard. The fire resulting from these explosions took the life of 3 people.

After the explosion, the ship had one last operation in San Diego, and then it started the preparations for being used as a museum ship. The wreck can be visited in San Diego, California, and it even hosted a college basketball game in November 2012.

Asbestos Risks on the USS Midway (CV-41)

Many veterans who worked in the Navy before the 70s developed asbestos-related diseases because this toxic substance was present on the ships. Asbestos was a very common element used in construction materials back in those days. This mineral was very resistant to heat, and it had amazing qualities as an insulator. Therefore, many ships were built using asbestos in the insulation or the boilers, as well as in different other parts of the ship. Practically, asbestos was present everywhere on board, from the engine or boiler room to the quarters or the deck.

So, how did exposure occur? There are several circumstances in which asbestos becomes increasingly dangerous. This happens when the fibers are disturbed during maintenance works or in the initial construction phase in the shipyard. During these operations, the microscopic asbestos particles contained in the construction materials are released. Once these particles become airborne, they are easily inhaled because they are invisible. If asbestos fibers get in the lungs, they cause a particular type of scaring that can't be reversed. The effects of asbestos on human health vary from case to case. Some individuals don't show any symptoms after years of exposure, while others develop diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma, or cancer.

Nowadays, former marines who have been affected by asbestos exposure and developed a malignant asbestos disease can access certain benefits. By filing a claim for their condition, they have the chance to get compensation and cover their medical expenses if they meet certain criteria.

Have you been exposed to asbestos on the USS Midway (CV-41)?

If you developed a malignant asbestos-related disease after years of service in the Navy, you should submit your claim and try to receive compensation. We are here to help you get informed on asbestos use within the US Navy.

If you have a cancer diagnosis please contact us

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