Originally established on October 13, 1775, the birthday of the United States Navy is dedicated to commemorating the men and women who make up the most powerful navy in the world. This October, the U.S. Navy turns 247.
Official U.S. Navy birthday celebrations began emerging in 1972. Since then, every Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) has encouraged active forces, veterans, and their friends and family members to “enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service.” The current CNO, Admiral Michael Gilday, began his service as the 32nd person in this role on August 22, 2019.
While you or your loved ones might be joining in the festivities this year, remember: The fight isn’t over yet for some veterans, and for others, it has only just begun.
Thousands of veterans across America are battling deadly health conditions that stem from military service, including the aggressive cancer mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases like lung cancer.
In celebrating the U.S. Navy’s birthday, we applaud the courageous service of our U.S. Navy veterans and recognize the health concerns that they experience.
U.S. Navy Veterans and Asbestos Exposure
U.S. Navy veterans are at a high risk of mesothelioma because the U.S. Navy relied on asbestos for decades without knowing the health risks.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring material used for its fireproof properties. It was previously considered harmless and widely used in U.S. Navy ships. However, unknowingly inhaling or swallowing microscopic asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other illnesses.
Every year, around 1,000 veterans are diagnosed with mesothelioma — a staggering portion of this number are U.S. Navy veterans.
Historically, the U.S. Navy used asbestos to reduce the risk of fires aboard its ships. Virtually every naval ship constructed between the 1930s and 1980s utilized asbestos for insulation and fireproofing.
The military and U.S. government had no idea of the dangers, as the asbestos industry ignored warnings of asbestos toxicity and hid the awful truth for decades.
Modern-Day Mesothelioma Risk Among Veterans
Today, the risks of asbestos exposure are well-known, with many countries having banned its usage in new products. Prior to the 1980s, however, many of those in and around U.S. Navy ships, shipyards, and bases worked in asbestos-filled areas. Even those who never boarded a U.S. Navy ship may have been exposed.
The initial symptoms of mesothelioma — including shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue — can take 20 to 50 years to appear. This long latency period means U.S. Navy veterans who served as early as the 1960s or 1970s are only now being diagnosed with the disease.
Resources for U.S. Navy Veterans With Mesothelioma
The U.S. Navy’s birthday — along with other celebrations that raise awareness about the difficulties service members have endured — helps generate more sufficient care for veterans. Fortunately, veterans with mesothelioma can receive high-quality medical treatments and financial aid from several sources.
To start, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made strides to provide VA benefits to veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Through the VA, veterans can access:
- Medical Care: The VA Health Care System has three medical centers that are equipped to treat mesothelioma at low or no cost. Located in Los Angeles, Boston, and Houston, some of the world’s best mesothelioma doctors work at these facilities. Veterans can also access care from non-VA specialists closer to home in some cases.
- Financial Benefits: Veterans with mesothelioma may qualify for monthly payments, such as aid and attendance (A&A), VA pension, or disability compensation. This money can help former service members cover basic living expenses after a diagnosis.
Many veterans may also be able to file mesothelioma lawsuits and asbestos trust fund claims to get the support and compensation they deserve.
Taking legal action can hold manufacturers of asbestos-based products accountable for hiding the truth about their products. The U.S. Navy and other military branches are not sued.
Call Sokolove Law today at (800) 995-1212 to see if you qualify for compensation. There's no cost to contact us.
Making the U.S. Navy Birthday 2022 a Day to Remember
Considering the trials they have faced in battle and in illness, U.S. Navy veterans’ success continues to be a great source of inspiration and pride for many Americans.
This year, you can participate in the U.S. Navy’s birthday celebration by:
- Connecting with veterans through phone calls, Facetime, Skype, or Zoom
- Sending a card or care package
- Visiting gravesites of those who have passed away
The lawyers and staff of Sokolove Law thank all U.S. Navy veterans for their service. Our team remains committed to helping veterans with mesothelioma receive equal access to the legal system.