USS Gasconade (APA-85) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The USS Gasconade (APA-85) was a Gilliam-class attack transport laid down on November 7, 1944, and launched on January 23, 1945. It was commissioned on March 11, 1945, under Lt. Comdr. Allen E. Stiff’s command, with the hull number APA-85 and it served in the U.S. Navy for one year until it was decommissioned on August 28, 1946. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 322 people on board and had its main missions in Kwajalein, Bikini Atoll, Guam, Japan, and Eniwetok. Naval vessels were built with asbestos because of its fire-retardant and insulating properties. The United States Navy, specifically, used this substance to build many of their ships until the latter half of the 20th century. Asbestos was mostly used to increase durability in materials like gaskets, insulation, and some filters. Shipbuilders also used asbestos to insulate the pipes in these vessels. Boats built for recreational use also may have included this toxic substance. Asbestos was used in electrical wire insulation, caulking, and sealants. Shipbuilders were at risk of inhaling these fibers when the substance loosened, or broke apart, and became airborne.

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Shipmates on USS Gasconade (APA-85)

Arthur Carl Benson

James J. Calhoun

William E. Hughes

Arthur P. Miller Jr.