Asbestos Exposure on Crescent City-Class Attack Transports
The four ships in the Crescent City attack transport class saw service in two wars – World War II and the Korean War – and one ship also served in Vietnam. They were used to transport troops and military equipment to foreign shores for the purpose of invasion using smaller attack boats. This class of transports was notable for its variety in armament, as each ship in the class had a different configuration.
History of Crescent City-Class Vessels
The Crescent City class of ships was built by Bethlehem Steel in Sparrows Point, Maryland. The USS Crescent City, the first ship in this class, was originally designed to be a part of a passenger service from New Orleans to Argentina operated by Delta Lines. It was launched on February 17, 1940.
However, with war on the horizon, the Crescent City was acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1941 and converted to an attack transport in Mobile, Alabama. The remaining ships in the class were launched in March through September 1942 and commissioned in August through December 1942.
While the USS Crescent City remained in the Pacific Theater for all of World War II, accumulating an impressive total of 10 battle stars, the remaining 3 ships in the series served in both the Mediterranean and Pacific Theatres. One ship took part in the Normandy landings.
After the war Crescent City-class ships were used to redeploy troops for occupation in Japan, China, and Korea and were also used in Operation Magic Carpet – the massive return of troops home to the U.S.
The ships were decommissioned between 1946 and 1948, but two were recommissioned for the Korean War in 1950, during which Calvert earned two more battle stars in addition to the 8 it earned during WWII. These ships were decommissioned again from 1968 to 1977. As a whole, the Crescent City class of attack transports won two Navy Unit Commendations and 33 battle stars for their service.
Ships of the Crescent City Class
The Crescent City class of transports consisted of four ships:
- Crescent City (APA-21): Days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the USS Crescent City departed Norfolk, Virginia carrying troops and equipment to the Panama Canal Zone. She then sailed to San Diego to carry Navy and Marine personnel to Pearl Harbor, evacuated civilians from Pearl Harbor to San Diego, and sailed back to Pearl Harbor with workers and equipment for repairs. In 1942 she transported troops for the initial assault on Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands), landing troops under heavy air attack and remaining at anchor for two days. Over the next few months USS Crescent City helped sway the balance of victory at Guadalcanal by dodging enemy attack to deliver men, equipment, supplies and enforcements. She continued her transport and supply duties until February of 1945, when she was converted to a hospital evacuation ship, receiving casualties from Okinawa and other ships. She was placed in reserve on April 30, 1948. The USS Crescent City received 10 battle stars and was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her outstanding performance during WWII.
- Charles Carroll (APA-58): The USS Charles Carroll was laid down on March 24, 1942, commissioned on August 13, 1942, and redesigned as an attack transport on February 1, 1943. During the war she was initially assigned to the Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater, and later to the Pacific Theater. She participated in a number of campaigns, including occupation in North Africa and Sicily, landings in Salerno, and invasion of Normandy and southern France. After the war the Charles Carroll was assigned to occupation and China service in the Far East during the first half of 1946. She was decommissioned in San Francisco, CA on December 27, 1946. The USS Charles Carroll earned 6 battle stars for its service during World War II.
- Monrovia (APA-31): Monrovia was laid down in Bethlehem Shipyard in Sparrows Point, Maryland on March 26, 1942. She was launched on September 19, 1942, commissioned on December 1, 1942, and reclassified as an attack transport on February 1, 1943. Monrovia served in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East and was later assigned to the Pacific Theater. She participated in Sicilian occupation in 1943 and in operations in the Gilbert Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Marianas, Leyte, Luzon, and Okinawa Gunto. She was assigned to occupation service in Europe and Asia after the war and to China service in 1945 and 1946. Monrovia earned 7 battle stars for service in WWII. The ship was decommissioned on February 26, 1947, recommissioned on November 30, 1950 (for the Korean War), and decommissioned finally on October 31, 1968.
- Calvert (APA-32): The USS Calvert won the Navy Unit Commendation for consistently superior service during World War II. She successfully landed troops at Safi, French Morocco in November of 1942 and at Scoglitti, Sicily in July 1943. In the Pacific Theater she played a role in operations in the Gilbert Islands, Marshall Islands, Marianas, Luzon, and Leyte, and in the Tinian capture and occupation in July of 1944. She was decommissioned in 1947 and recommissioned in 1950 for the Korean War. The USS Calvert also participated in Vietnam War campaigns in 1965 and 1966. She was decommissioned finally in San Francisco on May 18, 1966.
Crescent City-Class Technical Specifications
Technical specifications for this class of attack transport include:
- Displacement: 8,000-9,000 tons
- Length: 491’
- Beam: 65’6”
- Draft: 25’8”
- Speed: 16-17 knots
- Complement: 500-600
- Troop Accommodations: 1,200-1,400
- Armament: 3”/50 cal. dual purpose gun mounts; 5”/38 cal. dual purpose gun mounts; twin 40 mm AA gun mounts; twin 20 mm AA gun mounts
- Propulsion: 1 Geared turbine, 2 boilers, 1 propeller, 7800 shaft horsepower
Asbestos Exposure on Crescent-City Class Transports
The ships of the Crescent City-class were built at a time when asbestos was specified by the US Navy as a way to cut ship weight and increase speed while still providing fireproofing and insulation. From pipe and machinery covering to electrical cable sheathing to gasket and packing material and much more, asbestos-containing materials had hundreds of different uses on Navy ships and could be found in virtually all vessel areas.
The companies that sold asbestos products to the Navy never warned that they could cause insidious cancers and respiratory problems. Thousands upon thousands of Navy veterans were exposed to asbestos, and some went on to develop diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Belluck & Fox, LLP is a New York law firm that specializes in asbestos lawsuits. We investigate the service history of veterans, tracing their asbestos exposure to specific products used on specific ships and identifying which companies provided the asbestos.
We’ve secured significant compensation for Navy vets and their families, including a recent asbestos verdict worth $32 million. We are committed to obtaining justice for asbestos victims through personalized and professional representation.
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- NavSource Online: USS Charles Carroll (APA-28)
- NavSource Online: USS Monrovia (APA-31)
- HazeGray.org: Calvert
- NavSource Online: USS Calvert (APA-32)