The USS Fall River was launched in August of 1944 from the New York Shipbuilding company that was based in Camden, New Jersey. She was commissioned in July of 1945 and had the honorable Captain D.S. Crawford in charge of the ship during her first full tour of duty.
Action in the Pacific
The Fall River arrived in Norfolk in October of 1945 and participated in experimental operations for the future development of the Navy. She performed these operations until January of 1946. She was then assigned to the JTF1 and helped with Operation Crossroads, where she conducted the atomic weapons testing that would take place in the Marshall Islands in the summer of 1946.
To get ready for this duty, the Fall River was sent to San Pedro, California. She was given an overhaul to provide flagship accommodations. She then departed to arrive in Pearl Harbor in March. While there she was boarded by Read Admiral F.G. Fahrion, commander of the target groups for the test. With the Admiral on board, the Fall River set sail for the Marshalls and stayed on station from May 21st until September 14th.
After she completed more training missions on the West Coast, the Fall River was assigned flagship duty for the Cruiser Division 1. She continued this role for a little over six months, until June 17th 1947, when she was taken out of service upon arriving back into the Puget Sound Navy Yard. She was placed into the Naval Reserve Fleet, beginning her on Halloween of 1947. She was finally stricken from the register in 1971 and sold to a Portland, Oregon, company the next 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.