The USS Cetus (AK-77) was a cargo ship belonging to the Crater-class that served the US Navy in World War II. The ship’s name comes from the equatorial constellation Cetus. Laid down on 21 November 1942 by Permanente Metals Corporation, Richmond, California, the ship began its service on 17 November 1943 with Lieutenant Commander Nicholas T. Gansa in command. The vessel’s task during the war was carrying cargo among South Pacific bases and from ports in New Zealand. Some of the cargo the ship transported played a vital part in the liberation of the Philippines in September and October 1944. The Cetus received two battle stars for World War II service. The ship was decommissioned on 20 November 1945 and sold to Hierros Ardes, S.A., Spain on 26 October 1971 for scrapping.
Unfortunately, like all US Navy ships built before 1980 when the dangers of asbestos exposure became more widely known, the USS Cetus was laden with asbestos-containing products. This put veterans at high risk of developing mesothelioma and other serious asbestos-related conditions. Veterans that got sick due to their exposure during service are eligible for free healthcare and other VA benefits