The USNS Geiger (T-AP-197), a transport ship, was built in 1949 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation located in Camden, New Jersey. It was named President Adams until it was acquired by the U.S. Navy in September 1952. The name Geiger was given in honor of Roy Geiger, who served as commander of the Marine Force, Pacific Fleet for about 16 months in 1945 and 1946. The Geiger was a Barrett transport capable of moving up to 2,000 troops at a speed of 19 knots, or 22 miles per hour. This type of ship had no armament and was not designed to participate in any battles.
The Navy bought and converted this ship for Military Sea Transportation Service, or MSTS, specifically for use in the Korean War. After this war, the Geiger operated out of a New York harbor and continued to transport troops around the world, including to many European bases. During the 1950s, after the Syrian army was taken over by a pro-Soviet faction, she participated in several peace-keeping missions in the Middle East to protect several nations from various Communist forces. The Geiger was also used to move military dependents to and from the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in 1962 and 1963.
This ship took part in the largest amphibious exercise ever conducted in the Atlantic Ocean, known as Operation Steel Pike I, and in one of the largest American military landings off the southwest coast of Spain. She provided naval support during the Dominican Republic civil war and in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, she transported Korean troops to Vietnam to support their efforts again Communist aggression. Following her return from Vietnam in 1966, she made several trips between the United States and Europe. Again in 1967, the Geiger carried troops between San Francisco and Vietnam to support the Allied Forces.
After supporting troops in Vietnam, the USNS Geiger returned to Massachusetts in 1979. There, she was reassigned to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and renamed the United States Training Ship Bay State IV. While docked at the pier, she burned completely to the water line in 1981.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, some auxiliary vessels also posed 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 to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.