USS Hiwassee (AOG-29) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The USS Hiwassee (AOG-29) was a Mettawee-class gasoline tanker launched on August 30, 1944. It was commissioned on October 17, the same year under Lt. R. Radcliffe's command with the hull number AOG-29 and it served in the U.S. Navy for 3 years until it was decommissioned on March 22, 1947. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 62 people on board and had its main missions in Panama Canal, Ulithi, and Okinawa. After decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List and sold to Luzon Stevedoring Corporation. For the services brought to the country during World War II, the USS Hiwassee received one battle star. Sailors and marines were most likely exposed to asbestos while on Navy ships and in military shipyards. They lived and worked in close quarters above and below deck, surrounded by asbestos-containing products. Sleeping berths, mess halls, and boiler and engine rooms all contained the toxin since it was also used to insulate pipes and plumbing. Pipefitters, boilermen, enginemen, or hull maintenance technicians were repeatedly exposed to high levels of the toxic mineral, putting them at risk for future asbestos-related illnesses.

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Shipmates on USS Hiwassee (AOG-29)