The USS Baltimore CA-68 was constructed in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was the first of a class of cruisers that weighed 13,600 tons. She was put into commission in the middle of April 1943. It took her the next few months to prepare for operations in the Pacific.
Action in World War II
In November, she took part in the Gilbert Campaign. She actually fired on forces from Japan at the Makin Atoll invasion. In February of 1944, she was involved with the seizures of Eniwetok and Kwajalein. Also, in the Marianas and Carolines, she took part in raids on enemy bases using aircraft carriers. She was deployed to various places from February until June, including the Palaus, Marcus Island, Northern New Guinea, the invasion of Saipan and the Carolines. She was also sent to participate in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. On one of her more prestigious missions, she took President Franklin D. Roosevelt from California to Hawaii to meet with Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur, the commanders of the Pacific Theater.
She was then sent home for repairs, and after these were done, the USS Baltimore went back out at the end of 1944. She helped out until the end of the Pacific war with various patrols, raids and combat operations on the China coast, Okinawa, Luzon, Formosa and the home islands of Japan. She also helped invade Okinawa and Iwo Jima. On September 2nd of 1945, after Japan’s surrender, she helped with the occupation and also took United States soldiers home. She was taken out of commission in July of 1946 at Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington.
After the War
After being in storage for more than five years, the Korean and Cold War necessitated the USS Baltimore being recommissioned and put back into service. She met up with the Atlantic Fleet in November of 1951. She was sent to the Mediterranean Sea many times from 1952 until 1954. She took a break in the middle of this period to head to Spithead, England, to take part in the naval Review in honor of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. After this, in 1955, she did a Far Eastern tour of duty. She made her way to Bremerton, Vermont, and in May of 1956 was put out of commission. She was finally stricken in February of 1971 and sold for scrap a little over a year later.
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.