USS Mississinewa (AO-59) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

USS Mississinewa (AO-59)

The USS Mississinewa (AO-59) was an auxiliary oiler laid down in 1943 by the Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard, Inc. The vessel was launched in 1944 and commissioned the same year, with Captain Philip G. Beck in command. After shakedown in the Chesapeake Bay, the oiler began her short but active wartime service on 18 May 1944. She took on her first cargo in Aruba, Dutch West Indies, and continued to Eniwetok as a unit of Service Squadron 10, where she fueled ships of the 3rd Fleet. The oiler continued to supply fuel and stores and delivered mail to ships until the ominous fueling at sea assignment was about to begin on 20 November 1944. She was anchored in her new base in the Caroline Islands when a Japanese Kaiten crewed torpedo hit her. Fleet tugs acted immediately, trying to extinguish the fire, but despite their efforts, the vessel sank with a loss of 63 sailors. The USS Mississinewa received four battle stars for World War II service. Those working on Navy ships or near them inhaled toxic asbestos fibers and may develop serious diseases decades after their service. Asbestos is dangerous because it breaks into microscopic fibers that can travel deep into the lungs and lodge into the tissue, causing irritation and scarring, possibly leading to cancer.

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Shipmates on USS Mississinewa (AO-59)