The light cruiser Amsterdam (CL-101) was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Company at Newport News, Virginia. Sponsored by Mrs. William E. Hasenfuss, who lost a son during the attack on Pearl Harbor, the ship was launched on April 25, 1944. She was commissioned on January 8, 1945, with Capt. Andrew P. Lawton as her commanding officer.
Action in World War II
Her shakedown training consisted of exercises in the Chesapeake Bay and then a cruise to Trinidad in the West Indies. She left Trinidad and participated in exercises off Culebra, arriving back in Norfork, Virginia, on March 20. Following gunnery exercises off Cape May, she was declared available for duty on the 24th.
After several training exercises in the Atlantic, the Amsterdam was ordered to the Pacific. She passed through the Panama Canal on May 5 and arrived at Pearl Harbor on the 18th. From there her orders took her to Leyte in the Philippine Islands where she joined the 3rd Fleet at San Pedro Bay on June 21.
On July 1, the Amsterdam joined with Task Force 38 to assist in attacks on the Japanese home islands. Beginning July 10, the Amsterdam acted as part of a screening force protecting the aircraft carriers which launched planes in raids against Japanese airfields, factories and ships. Her actions earned her one battle star. She remained with the task force until the end of the war.
After the War
Following the Japanese surrender, the Amsterdam remained in Japanese waters until September 20 when she began her return to the United States by way of Buckner Bay, Okinawa and Pearl Harbor. She arrived in Portland, Oregon, on October 15 and remained in the area, participating in the Navy Day celebration. Afterward she sailed to San Pedro, California.
From San Pedro, she sailed back to Pearl Harbor to transport troops and equipment back to the mainland. After her return, she waited until January 21 and then sailed to San Francisco where she was laid up and decommissioned on June 30, 1947. She was sold for scrap in 1972 to the National Metal & Steel Corporation of Terminal Island, California.
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 in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.