USS Milwaukee CL-5 (1923-1949)

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The Milwaukee traveled the Pacific and Atlantic from 1923 to 1949, commissioned in the summer of June 1923. The light cruiser weighed over 7,000 tons and was produced in the North Western town of Tacoma.

Provided with a new sonar technology apparatus, it continued to gather sea depth data near Australia. For about the next 20 years, the USS Milwaukee served in both the Atlantic and Pacific arenas. In the late 1920s and in 1938 the Milwaukee traveled the waters of the Asiatic seas. Using its updated sonar technology, it located the Atlantic Ocean’s farthest depth in February 1939. Then in the early 1940s, just before World War II, it was assigned to take part in a Neutrality Patrol.

Action in World War II

During the middle of 1941, the Milwaukee joined a newly-formed patrol force in the South Atlantic. For the next three years, it stayed on this assignment off the coast of Brazil. In the early part of 1942, it escorted a convoy to the South Pacific.

When a Brazilian commercial ship, the Comandante Lyra, needed assistance after it was blasted by a torpedo, the USS Milwaukee came to its aid and salvaged the damaged ship in the spring of May 1942. It also participated in the counter check and annihilation of the Annaliese Essberger, a German defense ship, in November of 1942.

During the winter of February 1944, the Milwaukee ventured out of the South Atlantic to escort a convoy from the shores of New York to the coast of Great Britain. It then joined a British consort that embarked to Murmansk in the spring along the northern coastline of Russia. During this time, a lend-lease transfer to the Soviet Navy took place. Operating through the rest of World War II and thereafter, the Soviet Navy renamed it the Murmansk. By March of 1949, it was returned to the United States as an obsolete cruiser and was put to rest in a Navy waste yard in Philadelphia. In the year 1949, the USS Milwaukee 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.

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