Destroyers and Asbestos

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During the Second World War, the U.S. Navy employed a variety of naval vessels.  Some were used for support or transport, but the best-known of Navy ships are the ones used in actual combat.  Two types of these vessels are destroyers and assault ships.

Navy Destroyer Ships

Destroyers were an integral part of World War II as they were warships which were speedy and easy to maneuver and were accompanied by larger ships in order to form a convoy. These destroyers were responsible for protecting the larger vessels from submarine and torpedo attacks. Larger ships were at particular risk as they were not able to move speedily enough in order to dodge missiles, airstrikes, or torpedoes. Because of this, destroyers were required to divert enemy attacks from the large vessels. The ships were well equipped with radar systems and anti-aircraft guns, as well as anti-submarine weapons that could fire mortar bombs that exploded immediately on contact and were highly effective during submarine attacks. Although they were the best-outfitted ship for emergencies at sea, because of their prevalence in combat, the destroyers were the most commonly sunk ships during the period.

Navy Assault Ships

Amphibious assault ships, or assault ships as they were most commonly called, were constructed in order to support the forces on the ground during amphibious attacks. Perhaps the most widely known assault ship during the period of the Second World War, the USS Tarawa was the first of its class to be constructed and was built to carry a maximum of 80 aircraft and hold more than 2,000 crew members. These assault ships were commonly found in the Pacific and were commonly used to escort other vessels as well as aircraft transporters. These ships were later used as a means of transporting helicopters.

Asbestos Exposure

It goes without saying that the crews who worked aboard these World War II assault ships and destroyers faced dangers each day. One of the most long-lasting yet lesser-known risks is asbestos exposure that was experienced while working on the ships. This asbestos has been linked with the occurrence of various diseases such as mesothelioma. Veterans who worked aboard these ships should seek the guidance from a physician when it comes to their respiratory health. They should also undergo testing in order to determine if they have fallen victim to an illness related to asbestos exposure.


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