The USS Duluth is a Cleveland class light cruiser and was built in Newport News, Virginia. She was commissioned in September of 1944 and spent the rest of 1944 and most of the first three months of 1945 on shakedown and training duties on the East Coast of the United States. The Duluth sailed to the Pacific Ocean in 1945 and arrived in May of that year.
Action in World War II
She was finally able to start her combat operations that year, but her bow took damage only a month into the war zone. However, this was not because of anything that the Japanese did, but because of the typhoons that were present in the area. She had her bow repaired before serving the final three weeks of the war as a screening ship for the carrier strikes on the Japanese home islands. She also served as an escort to help cover the initial occupation of the Japanese islands for the aircraft carriers.
After the War
In October of that same year she was sent back to the West Coast, but was sent back to the Far East though for the first nine months of 1946. She again sailed the Pacific waters in early 1947 until 1948. During those cruises she visited a large number of places including: Australia, Truk, Guam, and the Philippines. At one point, she served off the coast of China. Finally in the summer of 1948, the ship helped in the training missions that were needed for some of the newer ships and even older ships that were serving in the Eastern Pacific. Some of those training missions, which lasted until middle of 1949, required her to head all the way North to Alaska.
Finally she was decommissioned in June of 1949 and the Duluth spent another ten years in the Reserve Fleet. Finally in January of 1960 she would be taken off of the Navy list of ships and was sold as scrap that same year.
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.