USS Worcester CL-144 (1948-1958)
The USS Worcester is the first of a two-ship class that was build in Camden, New Jersey. Commissioned in June of 1948 as a light cruiser, she weighed in at 14,700 tons. She spent a year of service in the Western Atlantic Ocean, later traveling to the Mediterranean Sea from September until December of 1949. She made a total of seven tours with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. However, her cruise in the Mediterranean Sea was cut short in 1950 after the Korean War outbreak. The Worcester and four other destroyers were sent to the Suez Canal, beginning the journey to the Far East in support of the war effort.
Action in the Korean War
From August 1950 until October of that year, the Worcester served with the Seventh Fleet as an escort. She escorted carriers that carried Task Force 77’s planes, also using her six-inch guns to bomb targets in support of the Inchon Invasion and the Wonsan Landings that were taking place. The cruiser then headed back to the east cost of the U.S. in late November to spend the next half decade in the Mediterranean Sea, during which time she also made stops into some of the ports of Northern Europe.
After the War
In January 1956, the USS Worcester was moved to the Pacific Fleet and sent to the western Pacific for service with the Seventh Fleet. However, these duties were shortened when the USS Worcester was decommissioned in December of 1958 in the Mare Island, California area. She was then put into the Reserve Fleet and sent to Bremerton, Washington, staying mothballed there for the next twelve years. In December of 1970, she was removed from the Naval Vessel Register. In July 1972, the USS Worcester was sold for scrapping.
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.