The USS Roanoke was constructed in Camden, New Jersey. It was built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, and launched on the 16th of June, 1947 as was one of only two Worchester-class cruisers made by the Navy. Ten of these cruisers were planned, but only two were built, the other being the USS Worcester CL-144. These and the Des Moines-class heavy cruisers were the last all-gun cruisers built for the Navy. Finally commissioned on the 4th of April 1949, the USS Roanoke was sponsored by Ms. Julia Ann Henebry, and its captain was Capt. Bernard R. Cadden.
Service in the Caribbean and the Atlantic
Its shakedown took place in the waters of the Caribbean. After spending some time with the Battleship-Cruiser Force in the Atlantic, it was put on its first deployment in the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet on the 6th of January, 1950. Four months later, in May, it made its way back to the U.S. After returning home, it spent its time alternating between helping out in the western Atlantic and its duties in the 6th Fleet.
In the summer of 1952, it was deployed to the Caribbean and Europe, doing midshipman’s cruises there. For the next three years or so, its duties revolved around the Battleship-Cruiser Force. It was then sent to the Mediterranean waters for its sixth and final tour there, and finished up in May of 1955. It was at that point ordered to the Pacific Fleet.
Four months later, on September 22nd, 1955, the USS Roanoke left its base in Norfolk, Virginia for its new home at Long Beach via the Panama Canal. It was finally put out of commission on the 31st of October 1958, after taking part in two Westpac cruises and nine Naval reserve cruises. The Roanoke was stored at Mare Island until the 22nd of February 1972 until the Levin Metals Corporation out of San Jose, California bought it for scrap.
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.