The USS Tucson was last of the four of the Oakland-class light cruisers. The 6,000-ton ship was built in San Francisco and placed into commission in February of 1945. She quickly found herself on the path to the war zone, arriving in the Pacific in June of the same year.
Action in World War II
She spent the next two months serving in the Third Fleet as part of the aircraft carrier striking forces, helping take part in the attacks of the Japanese home islands. When Japan finally surrendered in August of 1945, she stayed in the Far East for a short period of time to help in the occupation efforts, remaining here until she was sent back to the West Coast of the United States in October of 1945.
After the war
For the remainder of 1945 and into 1946, the USS Tucson could be seen off of the coast of California as an anti-aircraft gunnery training ship. She also operated as a unit of the Pacific Fleet for the next three years, even making a cruise to Hawaii in February and March of 1947. She was then shipped to the Asian waters in August until October of 1948. However, this was going to be the last cruise that the Tucson would take before she was decommissioned in June of 1949.
A few months later, she was reclassified as a CLAA-98, later becoming part of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was eventually stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in the summer of 1966. She was then used as a test hulk after being decommissioned, getting sold for scrapping in the early part of 1971.
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.