New Orleans-class heavy cruiser the USS Quincy was commissioned in June of 1936 and was built in Quincy, Massachusetts. Soon after its commissioning, it was sent to the western Mediterranean Sea to aid in safeguarding American interests in relation to the Spanish Civil War. Its journey through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific took place in 1937, but it returned in early 1939 to take part of Fleet Problem XX in the Caribbean in February of that year. Shortly after, it took a goodwill cruise to the waters of South America from April to June.
Action in World War II
The Quincy’s duties were interrupted by the commencement of World War II and it soon began Neutrality Patrol duties in the western Atlantic as a safety precaution. It took a small break to return to South America in 1940, but returned to take part in Naval Reserve training missions as well as continuing its work as a member of the Neutrality Patrol, and working with Caribbean amphibious warfare exercises. The Quincy then took a voyage in July of 1941 to Iceland as an extension of the United States’ “short of war” operations involving the North Atlantic. Later in 1941, it led a convoy from South Africa to Trinidad, after which it returned to its patrol activities.
Destruction in the Solomon Islands
In June of 1942, the Quincy joined the Pacific Fleet and shortly thereafter was sent to New Zealand where it joined other vessels in preparing for an invasion of the Solomon Islands. In August, it bombarded Japanese troops in Guadalcanal, aiding the Marine Corps attempting to land there. Unfortunately, several days later, during the Battle of Savo Island on August 9th, 1942, it was sunk by Japanese ships. The Quincy sat on the ocean floor for fifty years before its wreckage was located and examined. It is still there today, over 3,000 feet underwater.
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.