The USS Colorado was a battleship built in Camden, New Jersey. Weighing 32,600 tons, she was commissioned to sail in August of 1923. Her 624 foot long hull supported seven decks and she was embodied with the maximum amount of fighting power. New innovation for that time appeared in her new watertight hatches and hand-operated hatch wheel.
Rising from her deck was a gun arrangement surrounded by four massive steel barbettes, each housing a huge pair of sixteen-inch, one-hundred and five ton rifles. Both her crew and weapons were guarded by eighteen inches of the hardest steel and an armor of the thickest ever carried by a warship at the time of her existence.
In late 1923 and early 1924, the USS Colorado made her initial cruise to European waters. Most of her active career was spent in the Pacific as the result of a later transfer. Her time spent in service with the Battle Fleet prior to World War II, found her taking part in exercises and training. During peace times, the USS Colorado participated in the fleet’s trans-Pacific voyage to New Zealand and Australia. In 1937, time there was spent aiding in the search for Amelia Earhart, the missing aviator.
Action in World War II
While the USS Colorado underwent an overhaul at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Japan waged an attack on Pearl Harbor and opened what would be known as the Pacific War. For a time from March to August of 1942, she was stationed on the U.S. West Coast. From there she battled in the South Pacific to safeguard against possible offenses of the Japanese in that area. She took part in various operations from 1943 to 1944 that included the Tarawa Invasion, the Marianas operation, and the landings at Kwajalein and Eniwetok. While bombarding Tinian on July 24, 1944, she suffered serious casualties as she was hit by enemy shore batteries.
The USS Colorado battled on to her next opponent off Leyte in November of 1944. There she was hit by two Kamikaze suicide planes, but remained in combat. Further duties involved supporting of the Mindoro invasion and the Lingayen Gulf landings in December and January. From March through May of 1945, she supported U.S. troops ashore by bombarding Okinawa, boasting her sixteen-inch guns. She covered the occupation of Japan in the fall of 1945, and then moved on to the United States.
After the War
Later in 1945 after transport service, the USS Colorado was inactivated. Soon after in January of 1947, she was decommissioned. After twelve years of inactivity, in July of 1959 she was sold for scrapping.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet throughout conflicts during the last century, battleships also posed a lasting health risk to soldiers who served on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common on these 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.