The Philadelphia Navy yard was the construction site of the USS Los Angeles. Its construction was started on July 28, 1943 and it was launched on August 20, 1944. It was commanded by Capt. John A. Snackenberg, weighed 13,600 tons, and was commissioned in July of 1945 as a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser.
The Los Angeles was sent to Cuba to patrol for enemy ships then was deployed to the Far East on October 15, 1945 as part of the Seventh Fleet operating off the coast of China and in the Marianas. It sailed back to San Francisco, California on January 21, 1947 and was decommissioned in April 9th of 1948.
Action in the Korean War
The USS Los Angeles was re-commissioned in January 1951 as part of an urgent necessity for heavy gunships for defense against Communist aggressions in Korea. It went on two combat missions to the Far East as the flagship for Rear Adm. Arleigh A. Burke.
The first tour was from May to December 1951 and the Los Angeles used its eight and five inch guns to support United Nations ground forces and to bomb enemy targets along the Korean coastline. It returned to the United States on December 17, 1951 for an overhaul and training. Its second tour lasted from October 1952 to May 1953 in Korean waters where it targeted enemy bunkers and observation lookouts at Koji-ni. It continued to support American ground troops and to cruise the Sea of Japan with aircraft carriers from the Seventh Fleet. It was mildly damaged while bombing Wonsan in the later part of March but continued on its operations until it sailed back to the west coast of the United States.
The USS Los Angeles was deployed to the Western Pacific eight more times from 1953 to 1963 to show a presence in the region as part of the Seventh Fleet. It was modified in the late 1950’s. As part of the modifications it was given the capability to launch a specific surface-to-surface guided missile named “Regulus”. It was updated once again in the early 1960’s to be better suited for service as a flagship.
The USS Los Angeles was decommissioned in November 1963 and was kept in the west coast until May 1975 when it was sold 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.