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 arrays of military and humanitarian operations around the globe. Unfortunately for many Air Force veterans, most of the asbestos use by the federal government occurred throughout the service’s formative years and continued until the late 1970’s. As a result, thousands upon thousands of 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 the effects of 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 also used to construct on-base housing for officers, enlisted personnel, and their families.

Every air base built between 1907 and 1980 was constructed with large amounts of asbestos. 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. This required the large scale use of asbestos which exposed service personnel to the toxic minerals 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

Even with the post-World War II drawdown, the independent Air Force still had a large number of bases and installations which contained asbestos. In addition, many aircraft built between 1947 and 1980 contained parts made with ACMs. As was the case with other branches of the armed forces, safety protocols and federal law mandated the use of ACMs in Air Force property and aircraft until the late 1970s.

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

Alabama:

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

Alaska:

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

Arizona

  • Luke AFB, Glendale
  • Williams AFB, Mesa

California:

  • 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

Colorado:

  • Lowry AFB, Denver

Delaware:

  • Dover AFB, Dover

Florida:

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

Georgia:

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

Illinois:

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

Indiana:

  • Bakalar AFB, Columbus
  • Bunker Hill AFB, Kokomo

Kansas:

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

Louisiana:

  • Barksdale AFB, Bossier City

Maine:

  • Air National Guard, Bangor
  • Loring AFB, Limestone

Massachusetts:  

  • Hanscom AFB, Hanscom
  • Westover Air Reserve, Springfield

Michigan:

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

Minnesota:

  • Duluth Air National Guard, Duluth

Missouri:

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

New York:

  • Griffiss AFB, Rome
  • Hancock AFB, Syracuse

Ohio:

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

Oklahoma:

  • Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City

Pennsylvania:

  • 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

Tennessee:

  • Arnold AFB, Franklin County

Texas:

  • 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

Utah:

  • Hill AFB, Ogden

Washington

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

Wisconsin:

  • Truax AFB, Madison

Hawaii:

  • Hickam AFB, Oahu

Additional Information and Legal Assistance

Remember, 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. 

 

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