USS Fargo CL-106 (1945-1950)
The USS Fargo was the first ship built at Camden, New Jersey in a series of eight ten-ton light cruise vessels. She carried four aircraft, had four propellers and traveled at 32.5 knots. She was named for the city of Fargo, North Dakota. Many of these small cruisers were canceled after the end of World War II. However, this group of cruisers was adapted from the former Cleveland-class ship line.
The Fargo featured a more condensed pyramid structure with a single trunked funnel which was intended to improve her AA gunfire. Her initial commission, sponsored by Ms F.O. Olsen, took place three months after the invasion of Japan in December 1945, which was the motive behind her construction. The USS Fargo’s initial active duty was a South American cruise between April and May of 1946.
Service in the Mediterranean and Atlantic
The USS Fargo then stayed on the Mediterranean for around ten months, until March of 1947. During this assignment, she traveled to several ports, including Trieste, amid the conflict between Yugoslavia and Italy over ownership of the port. She also made journeys to ports in Turkey, Greece, Italy, and France. She was only home for a short time until 1947 when she returned to the seaport of the Mediterranean and served as the flagship for Commander, Naval Forces Mediterranean. The next mission was known as the “cold weather cruise,” after getting orders to join the Second Task Fleet. It was the roughest training exercise the crew had ever experienced.
After coming back home in September 1947, the vessel made preparations for fleet exercises on the Atlantic. The USS Fargo went on two more assignments in 1948 and 1949. She also took part in fleet exercises on the Caribbean. However, a significant defense budget reduction during the Truman administration resulted in cutting down the U.S. Navy cruise force, which impacted the USS Fargo. The vessel was put out of commission in 1950 after five years and was placed in the Atlanta Reserve Fleet. Later, the USS Fargo was transferred to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, staying there until being sold for scrap in 1971.
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.