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Naval Base San Diego

Expert Fact Checked

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Jennifer Lucarelli Lawyer and Legal Advisor

The military calls the Naval Base San Diego, known as the 32nd Street Naval Station, a “city within a city.” This large complex built and repaired ships during a time of widespread asbestos use. Veterans and others exposed on base are at risk of developing mesothelioma. Asbestos product suppliers may be liable.

01. History

Naval Base San Diego History

Today, the Naval Base San Diego complex is homeport to almost a third of the Pacific fleet. The U.S. Navy has owned and operated the base since 1922. Until the 1980s, asbestos use was common throughout the military. Veterans, shipyard workers and others faced exposure risks at sites like Naval Base San Diego.

The base expanded rapidly during World War II. Between 1943 and 1945, workers on base converted, overhauled, maintained and repaired over 5,000 ships. At the end of the war, the base had nearly 300 buildings, including barracks that could house over 18,000 Navy personnel.

Naval Base San Diego continued to operate during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In the 1990s, it became the main homeport of the U.S. Pacific Fleet after the Long Beach Naval Shipyard closed. It is currently homeport to 56 ships and has over 200 tenant commands and other support facilities.

Naval Base San Diego History at a Glance

  • Other Names: 32nd Street Naval Station, U.S. Destroyer Base San Diego, U.S. Naval Repair Base San Diego, Naval Station San Diego
  • Location: San Diego, California
  • Owner(s): U.S. Navy
  • Years of Operation: 1922 – Present
  • Wartime Operations: World War II (WWII), Korean War, Vietnam War
  • Size of Shipyard: 1,600 acres
  • Noteworthy Ships: Agerholm (DD-826), Bauer (DE-1025), Bausell (DD-845)
  • Types of Ships Built/Serviced: Amphibious cargo ships, destroyers, destroyer escorts, floating dry docks

Navy veterans, shipyard workers and families faced asbestos exposure at this jobsite. People who worked or lived at this base before developing mesothelioma may be eligible to seek compensation.

Notable Ships Repaired

During the period when asbestos use was most common, Naval Base San Diego primarily maintained and repaired ships. For a brief period of time between 1945 and 1946, it was renamed Naval Repair Base San Diego. The base has worked on a number of notable ships throughout its history.

USS Agerholm (DD-826)

The USS Agerholm was a destroyer built in 1945. It likely docked at Naval Base San Diego many times throughout its years of service. Workers at Naval Base San Diego completed at least one overhaul of the ship.

Quick Ship Facts
  • Year Built: 1945
  • Years in Service: 1946 – 1978
  • Ship Type: Destroyer

In June 1963, shipyard workers began updating electronic and weapons systems on board. They completed the overhaul in January 1964. Those involved in this project may have interacted with or used asbestos materials.

In 1978, the Navy decommissioned the destroyer. Four years later, the Navy sank the USS Agerholm, using it as a target for another ship.

USS Bauer (DE-1025)

The USS Bauer was a destroyer escort built in 1955. The ship received at least one upgrade at Naval Base San Diego.

Quick Ship Facts
  • Year Built: 1955
  • Years in Service: 1957 – 1973
  • Ship Type: Destroyer escort

In 1962, workers at Naval Base San Diego began upgrading the USS Bauer. The upgrade was part of the Navy’s fleet rehabilitation and modernization program. This program was designed in response to an increase in Soviet submarines.

At the time, asbestos use was still common in shipyards and on ships. People working on the upgrade may have come into contact with asbestos materials.

In 1973, the Navy decommissioned the destroyer escort. Among the reasons cited for the decommissioning were worn out machinery and lack of safety gear. Both of these conditions can result in exposure if asbestos is present. In 1974, it was sold for scrap to National Metal & Steel Corp.

USS Bausell (DD-845)

The USS Bausell was a destroyer built in 1945. The ship spent at least one long stretch of time at Naval Base San Diego.

Quick Ship Facts
  • Year Built: 1945
  • Years in Service: 1946 – 1978
  • Ship Type: Destroyer

Like the USS Bauer, this ship underwent alterations as part of the Navy’s fleet rehabilitation and modernization program. Two years later, in June 1963, the USS Bausell spent a maintenance period at Naval Base San Diego.

Maintenance workers often came into contact with asbestos on ships and in shipyards. The mineral was common in many items they repaired.

The Navy decommissioned the USS Bauer in 1978. The destroyer was then used as part of a missile development program before the Navy sank it as a target in 1987.

02. Asbestos Use

Asbestos at Naval Base San Diego

Naval Base San Diego built, repaired and maintained ships when U.S. asbestos use was very high. The Navy used asbestos to insulate products subject to high temperatures, among other uses. Asbestos products were common on ships and in shipyard facilities.

Asbestos exposure causes serious illnesses, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. Asbestos at Naval Base San Diego endangered workers and visitors.

Asbestos Exposure at Naval Base San Diego

Veterans, other shipyard workers and families faced potential asbestos exposure risks at Naval Base San Diego. Exposure may have happened in places like factories, boiler rooms, engine rooms and housing.

Veterans and shipyard workers faced occupational exposure risks. If workers accidentally carried asbestos home on their clothes or hair, family members may have been exposed.

On-site housing and buildings also held asbestos-containing materials. So shipyard residents faced exposure risks in many areas. Construction materials commonly had asbestos in them during major periods of expansion at Naval Base San Diego, like the 1930s and 1940s.

Naval Base San Diego was quite active during years of heavy asbestos use. Tens of thousands of people may have been exposed to asbestos throughout this time.

03. Lawsuits

Asbestos Lawsuits and Settlements for Naval Base San Diego

Mesothelioma patients and their families may be able to seek compensation from companies that supplied asbestos to the Navy. Mesothelioma lawsuits that settle or succeed at trial average over a million dollars. This can help veterans, workers and their families pay for expenses related to asbestos illnesses.

Veterans and workers can speak to an attorney. A specialized asbestos attorney can help identify potential sources of exposure at Naval Base San Diego.

Naval Base San Diego Lawsuit Settlement Examples

The following people alleged asbestos exposure at Naval Base San Diego and later received mesothelioma compensation from asbestos companies:

  • $1,811,560 for a 66-year-old Navy veteran
  • $1,173,386 for a 67-year-old Navy veteran and former construction worker
  • $1,096,493 for an 84-year-old Navy veteran and former mechanic
04. Trust Fund Claims

Asbestos Trusts Associated With Naval Base San Diego

Companies continue to face legal consequences for their asbestos use. Some companies have gone through bankruptcy and set up trusts to pay current and future victims. This includes several that provided asbestos products to Naval Base San Diego.

A mesothelioma lawyer can help identify asbestos trust funds that may provide compensation to eligible clients. Once funds are identified, the lawyer can file on behalf of their client. They may also file a lawsuit in addition to any trust fund claims.

Asbestos Company Trust Funds and Eligible Years of Employment

Asbestos trust funds have eligibility requirements for filing. A mesothelioma lawyer can determine eligibility based on a person’s work history and other factors. Companies listed below have trust funds and are known to have supplied asbestos products to Naval Base San Diego.

Asbestos Trust Funds & Eligible Years of Employment
Asbestos Company Name Eligibility Start Date Eligibility End Date
A.P. Green Industries 1/1/1962
Babcock & Wilcox 1/1/1970 12/31/1982
Combustion Engineering 1/1/1953 12/31/1982
Eagle-Picher 12/31/1972
Fibreboard 1/1/1949 12/31/1982
Flexitallic 1/1/1941 12/31/1982
Halliburton 10/1/1942 12/31/1982
Keene Corp. 1/1/1942 12/31/1972
Owens Corning 1/1/1952 12/31/1982
Plant Insulation 1/1/1978 12/31/1999
Thorpe Insulation 1/1/1958 12/31/1979
U.S. Gypsum 1/1/1962 1/2/1968