USS Platte AO-24 (1939-1970)
Serving with the U.S. Navy, the USS Platte (AO-24), a Cimarron-class oiler, was named for the Platte River. Built in Baltimore, Maryland by the Bethelem Steel Co, she was launched on the 8th of July in 1939 and commissioned in December 1939 with P. L. Meadows in command.
Service in World War II
By 11 January of 1942, the Platte joined the USS Enterprise and Task Force 8. She provided replenishment services for the carrier, provided security for cargo ships, and guarded troops in the Samoan Islands. Over the next couple of months, she refueled the task forces on the offensive in the Coral Sea. She also provided fuel to the Enterprise and Yorkway just before the Battle of Midway.
Through the 10th of August to the 14th, the Platte continued her refueling operations during the Solomon Islands operations. When that was complete, she returned to the West Coast to support operations of the Guadalcanal Campaign. From January to August of 1944, the Platte served in numerous operations from the Marshall Islands for the USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) and the Yorktown near the Tinian Island and finally in the Marianas Operation.
The Platte continued service in the Pacific until 1946 where she arrived in Yokohama, Japan in support of fleet operations. Finally, she was sent to the Hawiian Islands to refit.
Service in the Korean War
In February 1951, the Platte made way to the East once again in support of the Korean War. There she delivered fuel to multiple ships for the U.S. and others from the UN Escort and Blockade force. She continued to provide an endless supply of fuel and logistics throughout the entire Korean War and into the Vietnam War. Almost yearly deployments were made by the Platte from the years of 1960 to 1968 in support of the Enterprise as well as other ships in the Task Force. She served in the Pacific Fleet until 1970 and was sold for scrap in 1971. She earned 11 battle stars for WWII, 6 for Korea, and 8 campaign stars in Vietnam.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, some oilers 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 in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.