USS Astoria CA-34 (1934-1942)

The USS Astoria was a New Orleans-class heavy cruiser laid down in September of 1930 in the Puget Sound Navy Yard.  It was commissioned in April 1934 and was launched three years later. It was based in San Pedro, California in February of 1937.

After the cruiser carried the late Ambassador Saito back to Japan, the Astoria traveled to Guam, china, and the Philippines. The Astoria also escorted a troop to Manila in 1941.  In the month of December, it participated in the Wake Island Relief Expedition.

In 1942, the Astoria supported aircraft carrier task forces built around the USS Yorktown. When the Yorktown was attacked and disabled on June 4, 1942, the Astoria was promoted to flagship. After victory in the Battle of Midway, and repairs at Pearl Harbor, the cruiser returned to the Pacific and teamed up with invasion forces.  It supported Marines from August 7 to 8 during the landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi.

Though the only ship still afloat at the end of the Battle of Savo Island on August 8, 1942, the Astoria sank due to damages on August 9.

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.