The USS Reno was a light cruiser, commissioned in December 1943, and designed to specialize in anti-aircraft warfare.
Action in World War II
The USS Reno was deployed to the Pacific war zone from San Francisco on April 14, 1944. The Reno served as an escort for the Task Force 58 aircraft carriers and raided the Marcus and Wake Islands in May of 1944. The Reno supported air strikes against the Marcus Island from May 19 to the 20, 1944, as well as on Wake Island.
In June, July, and August of 1944, the Reno continued in action with other carriers, launching surprise attacks against the Japanese. Reno participated in attacks on Iwo Jima and Haha Jima in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and supported landings on Guam and other Japanese-held Pacific Islands. In late August, the USS Reno attacked the Bonin Islands, then all carrier groups returned to Palaus in September.
Also, in September and October 1944, the U.S. offensive moved into the western Pacific where the Reno made raids on Mindanao and Philippine Islands and supported the attacks of Palaus, Ryukyus, and Formosa. While attacking Formosa, a torpedo plane crashed and exploded on the Reno’s main deck, but the fire was kept under control. On October 24th, in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Reno helped to save the bombed and burning USS Princeton, which had to be scuttled. On the next day, the Reno took part in the Gulf’s battle of Cape Engano.
Late in October 1944, the USS Reno struck the Nansei Shoto, making it closer to the Japanese home islands than any other U.S. fleets had come. On November 3rd, during operations off the Philippines, the Reno was torpedoed on its port side by a Japanese submarine, the I-41, and was towed to Ulithi for temporary repairs to enable it to be brought to the Charleston Navy Yard, arriving March 22, 1945 for full repairs. The Reno’s repairs were completed shortly after WWII ended.
After the War
The USS Reno was used for two round trip missions to assist with “Magic Carpet” duty which was to bring home American troops from LeHavre, France. The Reno was returned to the Pacific in early 1946 and was decommissioned at Bremerton, Washington on November 4, 1946. The USS Reno was reclassified CLAA-96 in March 1949 but remained in the Pacific Reserve Fleet until removed from the naval registry in March 1959. The USS Reno earned three battle stars for its WWII service.
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.