Toward the end of August in 1944, construction of an Oakland class light cruiser was finished, and the vessel was deemed sea-worthy in San Francisco, California. The ship was named the USS Flint and, at a weight of 6,000 tons, was sailed along the west coast.
Action in World War II
Toward the end of 1944, in the last days of the month of December, the Flint made its way to the war zone of the Pacific Ocean. During the invasion of Luzon in January of the following year, the USS Flint assisted the fast carriers as they sought out and attempted to destroy enemy targets.
In the months to follow, the USS Flint continued escorting carriers in tactical missions against the Japanese home country and in Iwo Jima battles. In April, May, and June its mission changed as the ongoing battles for Okinawa began to turn in the United States’ favor. The USS Flint assisted in bombardment operations and the screening of other fleets. In the summer months of 1945, July and August, the Third Fleet made use of its support in their continuing strikes against Japan. Initially after hostilities had concluded, the Flint remained in the vicinity to assist the fleet in its efforts to occupy the surrendering Japan.
After the War
As the hostilities of the summer ended, the USS Flint began assisting the United States in its efforts to bring home veterans of the war. This operation, known as “Magic Carpet,” began in October of 1945. Later in the year, the USS Flint made another voyage to the central Pacific and returned in a similar fashion.
Following these missions, the cruiser was idle in the city of Bremerton, Washington after the first months of 1946. This inactivity caused the USS Fleet to be decommissioned in May of 1947. Nearly two years later, in March of 1949, the ship’s classification was changed to CLAA-97. The USS Fleet CLAA-97 was assigned as a member of the Pacific Reserve Fleet for several years. In September of 1965, however, the ship was removed from the Naval Vessel Register. In October of 1966, the ship was sold to be disassembled and used as scrap metal.
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.