The USS Denver was a Cleveland class light cruiser built in Camden, New Jersey. She was commissioned in mid-October 1942 and arrived in the Pacific war theater in February of 1943. She soon faced operations in the Solomon Islands.
Action in World War II
She shelled a Japanese base at Vila, which sent Japanese destroyers to the bottom of the sea. She bombed more facilities in June of 1943 and covered the Rendova and New Georgia landings. She also supported the Bougainville invasion in November of the same year. She also fought in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay. However, she was not spared damage in the Bougainville battle when she was crippled by a torpedo that killed twenty crew members.
The damage was so extensive that she was forced to go to Mare Island Navy Yard to be repaired. She returned to combat in June of 1944 and served as a screen for carriers while they struck at the Marianas and Bonins. She also supported the Iwo Jima troops with her guns, bombarding the island. She was also involved in the Palau Islands invasion and helped defeat the Japanese surface ship attack in the Battle of Surigao Strait. She received credit for helping to sink the Japanese destroyer Asagumo.
The Denver continued working in the Philippines area for the remainder of the War. She covered some of the landings in the region and in 1945 took part in the amphibious attacks on Borneo. She then went to the China coast and help with raiding the merchant ships in the area.
After the War
When Japan finally surrendered, the Denver helped with prisoner of war recovery efforts. She left the Pacific in 1945 and went to the East Coast for overhaul. During early 1946 she was used in the Naval Reserve as a training ship. She was decommissioned in 1947 and remained in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until 1959. The USS Denver was sold in early 1960 as scrap.
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.