USS Springfield CL-66 (CLG-7)
The USS Springfield was built in Quincy, Massachusetts. This Cleveland-class light cruiser weighed in at 10,000 tons. Commissioned in September of 1944, the first test cruise carried it down the Eastern coast of the United States and on to the waters of the West Indies. The USS Springfield escorted President Franklin Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference in January of 1945.
Action in World War II
After taking part in the escort, the USS Springfield journeyed through the Panama Canal and joined with the Pacific Fleet. During 1945, the Springfield was a member of Task Force 58 and participated in the air strikes over the Japanese home islands as well as the Okinawa campaign. It was in May of 1945, during a brief leave from the carrier force, that it bombarded the island of Minami Daito. The USS Springfield remained with the carriers through the final months of the war. The Springfield made many anti-shipping sweeps and fired another bombardment during this time.
After the War
After the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945, the USS Springfield remained in the Japan-Korea-China area. The USS Springfield departed the waters of the Far East in January 1946. After this time, it served approximately two years just off the west coast of the United States, taking time out for a Central pacific cruise from November 1946 to March 1947. During the months from October 1947 to May 1949, the USS Springfield was deployed to Asiatic waters. In January 1950, following inactivation preparations, the Springfield joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet in San Francisco, California.
The USS Springfield was returned to Quincy, Massachusetts in March 1957. After its conversion to a guided-missile cruiser, May 1957 it was designated CLG-7. With full armament and a new look, the Springfield (CLG-7) was re-commissioned and served as flagship of the Sixth Fleet. From 1967 to 1970, the Springfield (CLG-7) operated in the Atlantic as Second Fleet flagship. From September-October 1968, it was in Europe for a NATO exercise and a series of port calls.
The final cruise of the USS Springfield as Sixth Fleet Flagship began in August 1970 and ended in September 1973. The USS Springfield was decommissioned in 1974. It was then moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The USS Springfield was re-designated as CG-7 in June of 1975 and removed from active service. The cruiser was removed from the Naval Vessel Register in July of 1978 and sold for scrap March 1980.
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.