USS Juneau CL-119 (1946-1962)

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In a shipyard in Kearney, New Jersey, the USS Juneau, a 6,000 ton light cruiser, was constructed. The ship was commissioned in the month of February in 1946. Initially, the Juneau’s service detail required it to tour the Atlantic Ocean. Immediately after this tour, however, the Juneau began its first of three missions across the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

The first of such deployments occurred in 1947; two additional voyages took place in 1948 and in the beginning of 1949. During the month of March in 1949, the Juneau’s classification was changed. This change, from CL-119 to CLAA-119, made the Juneau an antiaircraft vessel.

Action in the Korean War

Toward the end of 1949, the Juneau was moved to the Pacific Ocean and was charted to make its way to the Far East in April of 1950. Remaining there for a few months, the Juneau was strategically placed for the beginning of the Korean War. Because of its location, the USS Juneau was the first warship of the United States to engage the North Korean troops in combat.

The Juneau was tasked with monitoring the east coast of Korea and patrolling and bombarding Korean forces from June 28th to July 5th of 1950. For an entire year, from the summer of 1950 until the spring of 1951, the Juneau continued to maintain a high level of activity in the waters off of Korea and in the Formosa Straits. After a short reprieve, the cruiser completed an additional tour during the Korean War in 1952.

After the War

As the necessity for antiaircraft vessels in the Korean War diminished, the USS Juneau CLAA-119 was re-commissioned to the Atlantic Fleet in April of 1953. The ship saw two more terms of service in the Mediterranean, first in 1953 and again during the end of 1954 and the beginning of 1955. A year later, in 1956, the Juneau was decommissioned in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It remained in Philadelphia for another six years until 1962 when it was sold to be disassembled and used for 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.


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