The USS Nashville was commissioned in June of 1938. This 9,475 ton Brooklyn-class light cruiser was built in Camden, New Jersey. During its first voyage, it transported a shipment of gold from Great Britain to the United States. Later on in 1939, the Nashville went to Brazil carrying diplomatic representatives and stayed until 1940 when it returned to the Atlantic to serve on Neutrality Patrol.
Action in World War II
During the first part of World War II, the Nashville stayed in the North Atlantic region. In April 1942, the Nashville’s guns were fired for the first time during an encounter with Japanese picket boats in the Do Little Raid on Japan. Later that year, in August, it was a part of the bombardment of Kiska Island in Aleutians. After this, the Nashville began serving in the South Pacific where it was involved in many raids against Japan’s bases in the central Solomons. It was on the night of May 12, 1943, during gunfire with New Georgia and Kolombangara, that an accidental explosion of one of its gun towers killed 18 of the Nashville’s crewmen.
After the accident in May 1943, the Nashville was repaired and took part in further raids on Marcus and the Wake Islands before returning to the South Pacific. At times, the Nashville served as one of General Douglas MacArthur’s combat flagships. On December 13, 1944 while heading to the invasion of Mindoro, the cruiser was hit by a suicide plane. This accident caused more than 130 crew members to lose their lives and the ship suffered much damage. Repairs to the ship were completed in March 1945. In May 1945, the Nashville returned to war and took part in operations during the final months of World War II.
After the War
After the surrender of the Japanese, the Nashville went to Shanghai to assist with the removal of Japanese forces. In the later part of 1945, the cruiser made two trips to the west coast of the United States during “Operation Magic Carpet,” assisting to bring home service members from the Pacific. By June 1946, the USS Nashville was inactivated and decommissioned. In 1951, it was sold to Chile where it was renamed “Captain Prat” and was an active vessel in the Chilean Navy until 1982.
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.