USS Paricutin AE-18 (1945-1973)

On December 7, 1944 the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company of Wilmington, North Carolina received a contract to lay down the USS Paricutin (AE-18) as MC hull 1708. She was launched on January 30, 1945 after being sponsored by Senora Arias De Garcia Jurado of the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C. and would later be commissioned and acquired on March 3, 1945.

Action in World War II

She joined the Pacific Fleet after a shakedown and was engaged in transferring the excess ammunition from areas in forward in the Pacific to Port Chicago, California, and Bangor, Washington until the November 20, 1947. On November 20, she was sent to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard where she would be deactivated. In April, 1948, she was placed out of commission in reserve to be berthed in the San Francisco Group as part of the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Action in the Korean War

After the break out of the Korean War, the USS Paricutin was reactivated on June 24, 1950 and recommissioned the next month to serve in support of Service Squadron One. On October 8, she made her way east, eventually arriving in Japan at the end of the month. Based out of Sasebo, the Paricutin helped rearm the carrier task forces operating off the costs of Korea, blockading forces and surface bombardments, as well as the shore Marine air groups. After a long and hard-fought 18 months in combat, the Paricutin returned to the United States in March of 1952. At the end of July of that year she once again returned to support the operations in Korea, this time to spend the majority of her time rearming warships. On March 19, 1953, she returned to San Francisco, remaining there until the Korean Armistice Agreement was made official in July. In August of 1953, she left San Francisco to begin peacetime deployments and headed for Sasebo, Japan. A typical peacetime deployment lasted between six and seven months of operations and trainings with the 7th Fleet. During these deployments, port calls occurred at locations like the Philippines, Guam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other Pacific islands. The Paricutin would continue to supply the 7th fleet with ammunition in rotation with her sister ships during WestPac deployments. She would stay in service into the 1970s, where she would be stricken from the Navy List in June of 1973.

Asbestos in Navy Ships

Although an essential component of the naval fleet, auxiliary vessels 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.