The USS Oregon City was a 13,700-ton heavy cruiser that was built at Quincy, Massachusetts. The ship, which was the first of her class, was formally commissioned in February of 1946, being sent on a shakedown cruise in the Caribbean of the same year. After completing the shakedown cruise, the Oregon City was assigned to the Philadelphia and Boston area during the year 1946.
Service in the Atlantic and Caribbean
The ship became the flagship for the 4th fleet in July of 1946, beginning the task of dockside training of navy reservists in Philadelphia. During October, the ship completed a post-war reservist training mission to Bermuda and later returned to Boston. The ship remained in Boston for the remainder of the year and saw her crew reduced in numbers. The Oregon city was to be reassigned to the 2nd fleet in January 1947 and her crew was returned to full staff. The ship set sail for a tour of Guantanamo Bay on March 30, 1947, and returned to Boston after completion of the training exercise. The ship was to sit idle for the month of April and May, beginning a cruise of the Panama Canal Zone and the Caribbean region for the annual summer reservist training exercises in June.
After completion of the annual summer training exercise in August of 1947, the ship was slated for deactivation in Philadelphia. The ship was decommissioned on December 15, 1947, and remains the only ship of her class to be deactivated so soon after completion. The ship was not selected to be converted into a guided missile carrier, so plans were set in motion to have the ship sold for scrap. The USS Oregon’s bell was sent back to Oregon, where it was placed in a museum which highlights people, place and things that are of significance to Oregon history. The ship was officially stricken from the naval registry on November 1, 1970, getting sold for scrap to Union Minerals & Alloys Co.
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.