USS Sicily CVE-118 (1946-1960)
The USS Sicily was a Commencement Bay escort aircraft carrier assembled in Tacoma, Washington. The ship was first commissioned in 1946 and had a shakedown tour along the West Coast of the United States before going to the Atlantic Fleet until April of 1950.
Action in Korea
When the Korean War broke out she was transferred back into the Pacific fleet to help with the anti-submarine efforts by providing the air coverage that was needed. She was soon laden with Marine Corps aircraft in an effort to support combat forces on shore. The next few months would see the Sicily’s planes actively helping to defend the Pusan Perimeter and also assisting the successful Inchon landing. After completing those tasks she was again sent back to the anti-submarine duties, but would again launch Marine planes to help counter a Chinese offensive that helped to change the direction of the war in late 1950.
Her first Korean tour would only last until 1951, but she would have two more deployments into the combat zone in 1952. She was also the base that temporarily helped the Marine helicopters in the early experiments with vertical launching techniques. In July of 1953 the Sicily would return to the Western Pacific, but with the Korean conflict winding down it would be a routine patrol for her and not one that was combat laden like her earlier deployments to the area.
After the War
After this final deployment in 1954 she would be decommissioned and sent to the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was reclassified as an aircraft transport. This was in May of 1959; however, she would never be put to sea as this type of ship because she was sold for scrapping later on in November of 1960, ending the career of a ship that participated in the Korean Conflict.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially throughout conflicts of the last century, submarines also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. However, these risks extend beyond the inherent dangers that existed while operating the vessels during military conflicts. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were also common aboard submarines because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Furthermore, the enclosed environment of submarines put servicemen at an even higher risk of exposure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with or served on submarines should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.