Construction of the USS Albany CA-123 began in March 1944 in Quincy, Massachusetts. The name of the ship came from the city of Albany, New York, the state capital. The ship was built by Bethlehem Steel.
Cruising in the Atlantic
The Albany was commissioned June 15, 1946, under the command of Captain Harold A. Carlisle. The Albany started out patrolling in the Atlantic Ocean along the east coast of the United States. During this time, she also made a few voyages to the West Indies. The Albany then was used for training purposes until September 11, 1948. She later became part of the 6th Fleet of the American naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Albany was taken out of commission on June 30, 1958, to be converted to a guided missile cruiser. The ship was commissioned again under the command of Captain Ben B. Pickett. For approximately 5 years, the Albany then operated in the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic. The ship also was deployed in the West Indies, joining many allied foreign navies on several training missions.
The Albany was decommissioned March 1, 1967, for modification at the Boston Naval Shipyard. She was placed back in commission on November 9, 1968, under the command of Captain Robert C. Peniston. The refitting and updating of the ship was not finished until the middle of 1969. Albany left Boston on July 5, 1969, for Yorktown, Virginia. The ship proceeded from Yorktown to Norfolk, Virginia, and then to Mayport, Florida, which was her new home port.
Her first deployment out of Mayport took place on September 15, 1969, to the West Indies. The Albany returned to Mayport on October 31, 1969, to join other naval vessels in the Atlantic Fleet. In February 1970, the cruiser was again sent to Europe. During the next 6 years, the Albany made three trips to the Mediterranean Sea and one voyage to the coast of northern Europe. She left Norfolk, Virginia, to join the 6th Fleet for a tour of duty in the Mediterranean Sea. She was the flagship for the Commander 6th Fleet during this time.
The Albany left the 6th Fleet on June 2, 1980, and returned to the United States. The ship arrived in New York City on June 20, 1980, and was decommissioned August 29, 1980, in Norfolk, Virginia.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, even today, naval cruisers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, 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. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.