The USS New York was commissioned in April of 1914, and her first active service was during an intervention from the U.S. in Vera Cruz, Mexico. The New York crossed the Atlantic Ocean in December of 1917 and joined the British Grand Fleet. The year 1919 brought the New York to the Pacific Ocean through the Panama Canal, which is where she sat for the next 15 years. The New York was still a unit of the Battle Fleet, so many exercises, gunnery practices, and drills that were practiced in the Caribbean and the Pacific were performed on her.
The New York received many modern improvements in the years of 1925-1927. These improvements were designed so that the ship’s combat capabilities would be improved. Some of the improvements include heavier deck armor, anti-torpedo bulges, modern gunfire control mechanisms, and new oil-fired boilers. The New York went to the Atlantic in the mid-1930s, and in the year 1937 she went to England to the British Coronation naval review as the representative for the U.S.
Action in World War I
Because of the war that was forming in Europe, the New York took participation in Neutrality Patrol operations. In the year of 1941 as the conflict became closer to the United States, she helped to escort convoys as well as aided in the occupation of Iceland. In December of 1941 the United States became a combatant, but the New York continued her participation in convoying. A year later, in November of 1942, she participated in the invasion of North Africa by providing gunfire support at Safi, Morocco.
The years of 1943 and 1944 were spent by performing escorts as well as training duties, and she entered the Pacific war zone early in the year of 1945. In the month of February, she participated in bombarding Iwo Jima. On April 14, 1945, the New York was hit by a suicide plane and endured some light damage.
After the War
The New York returned to New York City in August of 1945, and was there for the Navy Day fleet review which took place in October. She saw her last active service in July of 1946 at Bikini, Marshall Islands, when she was a target for an atomic bomb test. The ship was now too old and too radioactive for any further use, so she was towed out to sea in July 1948, where she was a target for Navy ships and aircraft, and was sunk soon after.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet throughout conflicts during the last century, battleships also posed a lasting health risk to soldiers who served on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common on these 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.