The USS Miami, a 10,000-ton Cleveland class light cruiser built in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was commissioned in late December 1943. This ship was one of 26 light cruisers completed shortly after the start of the war. The ship made a shakedown cruise along the east coast of the United States shortly after being commissioned. Soon after, the ship was on its way to the Pacific Ocean.
Action in World War II
During July of 1944, the Miami operated in the Marianas campaign. The ship gave support to aircraft carrier and troop transports as the United States fought to take control of the island from Japanese forces during the war. In August of the same year, the Miami supported raids on Iwo Jima and Haha Jima. During the raids, the ships scout planes rescued several American pilots who had been shot down during battles with Japanese fighter planes over the Pacific Ocean. During the days of October 10 to14, the ship participated in strikes against Okinawa. Its guns brought down several enemy fighter planes during the four days.
Later, in the month of October 1944, the ship landed General MacArthur on the shores of the Philippines where he uttered his famous words, “I shall return”. During this time the Japanese planned an assault with its still powerful navy against the United States Naval fleet. The Miami was ordered to protect three of the aircraft carriers assigned to the area. The American Navy met and pushed the Japanese navy farther out to sea, crippling many of its ships. This was a major turning point in the war.
The USS Miami left the war zone on May 10, 1945 and reached Pearl Harbor on the 17th of May. In September and October of 1945 the USS Miami participated in the surrendering of small islands to the United States from the Japanese.
After the War
The USS Miami was ordered home in November and performed training missions along the California coast. It was decommissioned in June 1947, struck from the naval register on September 1st, and sold for scrap on July 26th, 1962.
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.