USS Hooper Island (ARG-17) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

USS Hooper Island (ARG-17)

The USS Hooper Island (ARG-17) was a Luzon-class internal combustion engine repair ship laid down in 1944 as Liberty ship SS Bert McDowell at Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards Inc. and launched the same year. The vessel was converted to a repair ship at Bethlehem Key Highway Plant after being acquired by the Navy and commissioned as USS Hooper Island in 1945. During World War II, the ship was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, providing repair services to the Pacific Fleet and earning two battle stars. She was decommissioned in 1948 and joined the National Defense Reserve Fleet. With the need for additional vessels for the Korean War, the ship was recommissioned in 1952. She underwent an overhaul in 1956 and performed repair services for icebreakers of Operation Deep-Freeze in the Antarctic. The USS Hooper Island was decommissioned in 1959 and struck from the Naval Register in 1960. Asbestos was the main building material onboard due to its insulating and fire-retardant properties. All Navy personnel were directly in contact with the material at some point during service. Veterans diagnosed with cancer due to asbestos exposure are eligible for compensation from asbestos trust funds and the VA.

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Shipmates on USS Hooper Island (ARG-17)