USS Mobile CL-63 (1943-1959)
The USS Mobile was constructed at Newport News, Virginia. It was a Cleveland-class light cruiser. This class of ship weighs 10,000 tons. In March of 1943 it was put into commission, and had its shakedown and training on the East Coast.
Action in World War II
The Mobile headed to the Pacific area to run its first mission from August through October of 1943. It carried out raids on islands occupied by the Japanese. After this, it was called to the invasions of Tarawa and Bougainville. The Fast Carrier Task Forces then needed its help for raids on the Marshall Islands and at the end of January of 1944 it spent two weeks helping to conquer the Kwajalein Atoll.
The Mobile next cooperated with aircraft carriers on various attacks north of New Guinea and in the Central Pacific; these occurred from February to May 1944. Continuing into June and July, it stayed to help with the Marianas campaign, and was also present for the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June. It sank two ships in August when patrolling the Volcano Islands and Bonin. In September, in Palaus, it acted as a guard for carriers during raids in the Western Pacific and the attack on Leyte. It sank two Japanese vessels, the aircraft carrier Chiyoda and the destroyer Hatsuzuki. This occurred on October 25th, 1944 during the Battle off Cape Engano.
For the rest of 1944, the Mobile helped take back the Philippines as a guard cruiser for the U.S. aircraft carriers. After returning to the Californian coast for repairs, it resumed combat in March of 1945. It then participated in fighting in Okinawa by supporting ground forces with gunfire.
After the War
The Mobile assisted with occupation efforts for two months after Japan’s surrender. After making two trips home, transporting soldiers and officers, it traveled to the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington. It was then decommissioned in May of 1947. It remains in reserve for 12 years, before being stricken in March and sold for scrap in December of 1959.
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.