Page Updated: June 05, 2019

The Air Force, Asbestos Exposure, and Mesothelioma Cancer

Established in 1947 by the National Security Act, the U.S. Air Force is the aerial warfare branch of the military and the youngest of the nation’s armed forces. Originally part of the U.S. Army and operating under various names from 1907 to 1947, the Air Force has participated in many military and humanitarian operations. Unfortunately for many Air Force veterans, most of the asbestos use by the federal government occurred throughout the service’s formative years and continued for decades.

Consequently, numerous Air Force personnel and their dependents were exposed to asbestos. While many have already developed an asbestos-related disease, many more are still at risk of developing lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma cancer, as the asbestos-type illnesses typically lie dormant for several decades.

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more. 

Air Force uniform

The Ever Present Danger of Asbestos in the Air Force

Since the War Department’s creation of the Army Signal Corps’ Aeronautical Division in the summer of 1907, officers and enlisted men lived and worked in bases and installations built with asbestos-laden materials.

Abundant and naturally-occurring, asbestos is a group of six fibrous minerals that can resist fire, high temperatures, chemical reactions, and electrical discharges. As a result, many industries used asbestos to make insulation, construction materials, and even garments that could withstand heat and fire.

The U.S. government became one of the asbestos industry’s largest customers. Every branch of the military wanted to protect personnel, facilities, and equipment from fire, extreme heat, and electric shocks. At the time, asbestos was touted as a safe and efficient fire and heat-resistance mineral.

Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were used in barracks, hangars, aircraft repair facilities, fire stations, administration buildings, fuel storage tanks, and motor pools. Asbestos-laced cement and other materials were used to construct on-base housing for officers, enlisted personnel, and their families.

Every air base built between 1907 and 1980 was constructed with ACMs. This includes facilities set up when the Air Force was a semi-independent organization within the Army. The most extensive use of asbestos occurred between 1939 and the early 1970s, which coincided with the Army Air Force’s expansion during World War II, the establishment of the independent service, and the Cold War.

Peak Use of Asbestos by the Air Force During World War II

To understand the magnitude of the Air Force’s asbestos problem, it is important to remember that by July of 1944, the then-Army Air Forces operated 79,908 aircraft and had 2.4 million members. During World War II, this force built hundreds of bases in the U.S. and overseas while expanding those already in existence.

While constructing, the military used a large scale use of asbestos which exposed service personnel to the toxic mineral, no matter what their jobs were or where they were posted. While not all Air Force veterans who served in the 1940s suffer from the effects of asbestos-related diseases, at least 3,000 new cases a year are diagnosed.

Asbestos in the Postwar Air Force

During post-World War II, the independent Air Force still had a large number of bases and installations which contained asbestos. Further, many aircraft built between 1947 and 1980 contained parts made with ACMs.

Starting in 1973, studies carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially linked asbestos exposure to lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. The Defense Department stopped using asbestos and ACMs for new construction and in Air Force equipment in 1980, but many older installations still contain large amounts of the cancer-causing material.

United States Air Force Bases with Possible Asbestos Association


  • Maxwell AFB and Gunter Annex, Montgomery
  • Brookley AFB, Mobile


  • Eielson AFB, Moose Creek
  • Elmendorf-Richardson AFB, Anchorage
  • Ladd AFB, Fairbanks


  • Luke AFB, Glendale
  • Williams AFB, Mesa


  • Edwards AFB, Rosamond
  • Hamilton Field AFB, San Pablo Bay
  • March Air Reserve Base, Riverside County
  • McClellan AFB, Riverside
  • Norton AFB, San Bernardino
  • Travis AFB, Travis
  • Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc


  • Lowry AFB, Denver


  • Dover AFB, Dover


  • Eglin AFB, Eglin
  • Homestead AFB, Homestead
  • MacDill AFB, Tampa
  • Orlando AFB, Orlando
  • Patrick AFB, Brevard County
  • Tyndall AFB, Panama City


  • Dobbins AFB, Marietta
  • Hunter AFB, Savannah
  • Robins AFB, Warner Robins


  • Chanute AFB, Rantoul
  • Scott AFB, St. Clair County


  • Bakalar AFB, Columbus
  • Bunker Hill AFB, Kokomo


  • Forbes AFB, Topeka
  • McConnell AFB, Wichita
  • Schilling AFB, Saline County


  • Barksdale AFB, Bossier City


  • Air National Guard, Bangor
  • Loring AFB, Limestone


  • Hanscom AFB, Hanscom
  • Westover Air Reserve, Springfield


  • K.I. Sawyer AFB, Marquette County
  • Selfridge AFB, Harrison


  • Duluth Air National Guard, Duluth


  • Richards-Gebaur AFB, Kansas City
  • Whiteman AFB, Knob Noster

New York:

  • Griffiss AFB, Rome
  • Hancock AFB, Syracuse


  • Rickenbacker AFB, Columbus
  • Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton


  • Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City


  • Harrisburg Air National Guard, Harrisburg

Rhode Island:

  • Rhode Island Air National Guard

South Carolina:

  • Charleston AFB, Charleston
  • Donaldson AFB, Greenville
  • Shaw AFB, Sumter

South Dakota:

  • Ellsworth AFB, Piedmont


  • Arnold AFB, Franklin County


  • Amarillo AFB, Potter County
  • Bergstrom AFB, Austin
  • Brooks AFB, San Antonio
  • Naval Air Station Joint Reserve, Fort Worth
  • James Connally AFB, Waco
  • Goodfellow AFB, San Angelo
  • Kelly AFB, San Antonio
  • Laredo AFB, Laredo
  • Midland AFB, Midland/Odessa
  • Reese AFB, Fort Worth
  • Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls


  • Hill AFB, Ogden


  • Fairchild AFB, Spokane
  • Larson AFB, Grant County
  • McChord AFB, Pierce County


  • Truax AFB, Madison


  • Hickam AFB, Oahu

Additional Information and Legal Assistance

If you have mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may for significant compensation. Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your areaFor additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.