U.S. Navy Veterans and Mesothelioma

Around 33% of all mesothelioma cases have been linked to the U.S. Navy or shipyards. This is because, until the mid-1970s, nearly every ship and shipyard built by the United States Navy was constructed with asbestos materials.

Simmons Hanly Conroy is a veteran-founded law firm that helps veterans and their families pursue justice and compensation after a mesothelioma diagnosis. Call (800) 326-8900 now for a free legal consultation.

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Asbestos Exposure in the U.S. Navy

Members of the U.S. Navy were at an increased risk of asbestos exposure. Asbestos was used throughout ships in the U.S. Navy due to its heat-resistant properties, as seagoing vessels and submarines contained engines, boiler rooms and other below-deck areas that generated great amounts of heat.

Additionally, military asbestos exposure could also take place on all military bases, in buildings and from different products and vehicle parts.

When asbestos fibers are disturbed, they can become airborne. Inhaling or ingesting these microscopic fibers causes them to get stuck inside the body, which can lead to mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases decades after exposure.

As a result, U.S. Navy veterans and their families may be eligible for VA benefits and financial compensation from the companies that manufactured the asbestos-containing products.

Call (800) 326-8900 to learn more about what options may be available to you.

U.S. Navy Ship Parts & Products Containing Asbestos

While asbestos was used in large quantities in dangerous below-deck areas, it was also used in everything from mess halls to boiler rooms.

In fact, more than 300 products that contained asbestos were used by the U.S. Navy between 1940 and the 1970s, including:

  • Adhesives
  • Boilers
  • Cables
  • Caulk
  • Deck coverings
  • Engines
  • Grinders
  • Heat shields
  • Paint
  • Pipe coverings
  • Pumps
  • Rope
  • Tiles
  • Tubes
  • Turbines
  • Valves

Unfortunately, some military occupations may have required veterans to work closely with these asbestos-containing products and parts due to the nature of their jobs.

Since asbestos-related diseases can take 10-50 years to develop, U.S. Navy veterans who were exposed to asbestos decades ago remain at risk of mesothelioma and other serious illnesses.

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At-Risk U.S. Navy Ratings

U.S. Navy veterans with jobs at high risk of asbestos exposure should be particularly aware of potential health concerns.

U.S. Navy ratings with a high risk of asbestos exposure include: 

  • Boiler tenders and technicians
  • Damage controlmen
  • Electricians
  • Enginemen
  • Firemen
  • Hull maintenance technicians
  • Machinist mates
  • Pipefitters
  • Sailors
  • Shipbuilders
  • Shipfitters
  • Water tenders
  • Welders

U.S. Navy personnel in other ratings may have also been exposed to asbestos, as it was present throughout all U.S. Navy ships and shipyards.

U.S. Navy Asbestos Ship List

Asbestos was found throughout U.S. Navy ships, putting sailors at risk of developing mesothelioma.

Officers and crew endured years of unsafe work environments in contaminated shipyards and all classes of naval ships, including: destroyers, destroyer escorts, LSTs, submarines, battleships, carriers, frigates, tenders, cruisers and assault craft.

Veterans may have been exposed to asbestos on all naval ships, including:

Don't see your ship listed?

This is only a partial list of U.S. Navy ships with asbestos. Contact Simmons Hanly Conroy today to see if your ship could have exposed you to asbestos.

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Mesothelioma Compensation for U.S. Navy Veterans

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that often requires hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses and treatment.

With the help of an experienced U.S. Navy mesothelioma lawyer, you may be able to secure compensation to help pay for treatment and other costs.

Mesothelioma compensation can be used to cover a variety of expenses, including:

  • Medical bills, like medications and doctor visits
  • Travel costs for surgeries or treatments
  • Everyday expenses
  • Providing for your family
  • Anything else you’d like

U.S. Navy veterans with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases may have a variety of options available to you to help cover your financial needs.

Your asbestos attorney can help you determine your eligibility for each of these options.

Our team has recovered more than $9.3 billion on behalf of our clients with mesothelioma. We may be able to help you access justice and financial compensation too.

VA Benefits for Mesothelioma

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is responsible for managing the VA financial and health care benefits for all U.S. Army veterans and service members.

To qualify for benefits, veterans with mesothelioma have to prove they were:

  • Honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy
  • Exposed to asbestos during their service, making their illness service-related
  • Diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease

Your mesothelioma attorneys can help you prepare your VA claim for benefits. Outside of VA benefits, U.S. Navy veterans with mesothelioma may also be entitled to legal compensation from lawsuits and trust funds.

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Many asbestos companies were aware of the fact that asbestos could cause people to develop deadly illnesses — but they hid this information to protect their profits.

A mesothelioma lawsuit may allow you to hold these companies accountable for their actions while seeking compensation to pay for medical bills, travel costs and other expenses.

You won’t be suing the U.S. Navy or any other branch of the military.

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Asbestos Trust Funds

As asbestos companies began to file for bankruptcy in an effort to avoid mesothelioma lawsuits, the U.S. court system mandated that these companies put money into trust funds to pay victims with asbestos-related diseases.

Today, an estimated $30 billion remains in asbestos trust funds.

You may be able to access compensation from multiple trust funds with the help of our mesothelioma attorneys, without ever having to go to court.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Our Past U.S. Navy Asbestos Settlements

At Simmons Hanly Conroy, we strive to minimize the disruption a lawsuit may have in your life and maximize the potential compensation in your asbestos case. A U.S. Navy asbestos settlement can help you afford medical bills, travel costs and more.

Some of our past mesothelioma settlements and verdicts for U.S. Navy veterans include:

$3 Million

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U.S. Navy Veteran & Telephone Technician

$40.1 Million

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U.S. Navy Veteran & Boilerman

$4 Million

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U.S. Navy Veteran & Boiler Operator

  • $2.4 million granted to a U.S. Navy boiler tender who suffered with pleural mesothelioma
  • $1.5 million awarded to a U.S. Navy veteran from Florida who served aboard the USS Rehoboth and USS Curtiss
  • $3.2 million in mesothelioma settlements to a 62-year-old U.S. Navy veteran and plumber from Wisconsin
  • $1.8 million in mesothelioma settlements granted to a U.S. Navy veteran and farm machinery worker from Washington
  • $1.88 million granted to an 88-year-old U.S. Navy veteran and laborer from Texas who was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma
  • $2.2 million for a U.S. Navy veteran in Tennessee who served on the USS Enterprise and the USS Irwin
  • $3.5 million for a U.S. Navy veteran in Wisconsin who served on the USS Orion
  • Nearly $2.5 million in mesothelioma settlements to a 60-year-old U.S. Navy veteran from New York
  • $1.8 million in settlements for a pleural mesothelioma patient who served as a U.S. Navy veteran and welder
  • $1.75 million secured for a U.S. Navy veteran and splicer from New Jersey who was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma
  • $1.28 million secured for a U.S. Navy veteran and electrician from North Carolina who endured pleural mesothelioma
  • $2.4 million awarded to a U.S. Navy veteran and electrician from Florida who was affected by pleural mesothelioma
  • $1.4 million in mesothelioma settlements awarded to a U.S. Navy veteran from California
  • $3.4 million in settlements to a U.S. Navy veteran from Illinois who served on the USS General Hershey and passed away from mesothelioma
  • $1.7 million for a U.S. Navy veteran in Georgia who served on USS Iowa
  • $2.35 million secured for a U.S. Navy veteran and truck driver from Texas who was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma
  • $2 million for a U.S. Navy veteran in Louisiana who served on the USS Bradford
  • $1.29 million secured for a Florida man who worked as a mechanic in the U.S. Navy and suffered with mesothelioma
  • $2.6 million for a U.S. Navy veteran in Ohio who served on the USS Blue Ridge, USS Perkins and USS Turner
  • $1.7 million to an 82-year-old U.S. Navy veteran and chemical manufacturer in New York

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Mesothelioma Lawyers for U.S. Navy Veterans

Whether they operated mainly above deck or below deck, U.S. Navy service members were at risk of asbestos exposure every day. While asbestos has not been used heavily in the new construction of military ships since the mid-1970s, many older ships made with asbestos continued to operate for decades.

Simmons Hanly Conroy is a national mesothelioma law firm with over 20 years of experience helping U.S. Navy veterans and their families hold negligent asbestos companies accountable for harming those who have served our country.

Firm Founder and Chairman John Simmons is a U.S. Army veteran, and many of the mesothelioma lawyers and staff have also served in the Armed Forces. We are familiar with the laws specific to military veterans — and use our experience to fight for their rights every day.

If you are a U.S. Navy veteran with mesothelioma or lost a loved one to mesothelioma, you may be able to pursue VA benefits and financial compensation.

Call (800) 326-8900 or fill out our online contact form today for a free legal consultation.

Meet a few of our clients who served in the U.S. Navy:

Walter: Mesothelioma Warrior and Simmons Hanly Conroy Client


Walter spent 20 years as a boilerman in the U.S. Navy. He took great pride in his work, and eventually retired in 1973 to build a homestead. Unfortunately, Walter’s retirement was soured by a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis, and it was confirmed that his asbestos exposure took place during his time in the U.S. Navy.

Following his diagnosis, Walter decided to take action against the asbestos companies responsible for his exposure. A friend connected Walter to an attorney at Simmons Hanly Conroy, and his legal team was able to secure a $40.1 million mesothelioma verdict on his behalf.

Read Walter’s Story


From 1973 to 1993, Jim worked as a U.S. Navy boiler technician on the USS Independence, USS Truckee and USS Vulcan. Spending time near the ships’ boilers, valves, pumps, and gaskets exposed Jim to asbestos. Years after his service, Jim was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

As medical bills started to pile up and create a financial burden, Jim and his wife decided to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. His legal team at the firm created a tailored plan to guide Jim and his family through the mesothelioma lawsuit process.

Read Jim’s Story

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Mesothelioma & U.S. Navy Veterans FAQs

Is mesothelioma a VA disability?

Yes. If you were exposed to asbestos during your time in the military, you may be eligible to file a VA claim for health care and financial compensation.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, mesothelioma has a 100% disability rating. As of December 2023, this means that you may be eligible for over $3,700 a month from the VA.

Why do veterans get mesothelioma?

Asbestos was used across all U.S. military branches before the dangers of this toxic mineral were known to the public. Asbestos was present in the equipment, vehicles and buildings utilized by the U.S. military.

If the asbestos was disturbed and became airborne, veterans may have accidentally inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers. These fibers lodge themselves in the body and may eventually lead to veterans developing mesothelioma decades later.

Is asbestos still used in U.S. Navy ships?

The U.S. Navy stopped using asbestos in the construction of new ships once the dangers of this mineral became well known in the mid-1970s. However, asbestos remained in certain ships for years to come.

Throughout this time, thousands of service members were exposed to asbestos. Since mesothelioma can take 10-50 years to develop, many veterans that came in contact with asbestos during their service remain at risk today.

Can you sue the U.S. Navy for mesothelioma?

No. A mesothelioma claim is filed against the company or companies that produced and distributed products containing asbestos, not against the U.S. Navy or the government.

How much is a mesothelioma case worth?

Every mesothelioma case is different and can never guarantee compensation. That said, some of our past clients with mesothelioma have received millions of dollars in compensation.

Some of the results we’ve secured nationwide include:

  • $20 million for a mechanic in Missouri
  • $15 million for the family of a construction worker in New Jersey
  • $5.1 million for an HVAC worker in California
  • $4.6 million for a former welder in New York
  • $4 million for an electrician in Illinois
  • $3.8 million for the family of a laborer in Pennsylvania

Our asbestos attorneys will fight for as much compensation as possible in any mesothelioma cancer case. The amount you may receive depends on the facts of your unique situation.

Simmons Support Team
Reviewed by:John Simmons

Chairman of Simmons Hanly Conroy

  • Fact-Checked
  • Legal Reviewer

John Simmons is a founder and Chairman of Simmons Hanly Conroy. After serving in the U.S. Army, he went on to earn his Doctor of Law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law. He has helped recover some of the biggest verdicts and settlements in asbestos litigation history and is rated as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.

View Sources
  1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “2023 Veterans disability compensation rates.” Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/compensation-rates/veteran-rates/. Accessed on February 15, 2024.