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Air Force

The Air Force is the youngest service branch of the United States armed forces. Though it started in 1907 as a division of the Army, in 1947 it was given the distinction of acting as its own unit by a federal law known as the National Security Act. It is known for its aerial capabilities, and as such has been used for both military and humanitarian purposes. The majority of the planes that were used by Air Force pilots were built during its earliest years, and at that time asbestos was highly prized for both its strength and its ability to withstand high heat and flame. It was not until years later that the nation learned that the material was highly carcinogen, and that it was linked to the rare form of cancer known as mesothelioma. It can take several decades following exposure before mesothelioma’s symptoms begin to appear, and since the time that the Air Force was founded, thousands of men and women who served prior to the 1970s have been diagnosed with it and other asbestos-related diseases. Tragically, it is anticipated that many more will be identified in the future.

If you or someone you love served in the Air Force and has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease, you may be entitled to compensation from the asbestos companies. No matter what your mesothelioma stage, this compensation can come from filing a mesothelioma lawsuit or from filing a claim with the $30 billion asbestos trust funds. For more information on your rights and the reimbursement you may be able to receive, contact us today. We will send you a free Financial Compensation Packet, or put you in touch with one of our compassionate and experienced mesothelioma attorneys.

Asbestos Exposure in the Air Force

The entire U.S. military was exposed to asbestos in their environment in a variety of ways, and that included the Army Signal Crops’ Aeronautical Division, which was the predecessor to the Air Force. The group was started in 1907, and its members were provided with living and work spaces in barracks and buildings that were made with asbestos-containing materials. Though this sounds extraordinarily dangerous today, during the early 20th century asbestos was highly prized for its strength and resistance to heat and flame – those who were using the materials thought that they were providing the military with a protective environment.

The use of asbestos for military housing, vehicles and equipment was so extensive that the government was one of the nation’s leading buyers of materials containing the toxic material, and this means that personnel from all branches and at all levels were put at risk. Asbestos was mixed into the cement from which buildings were fabricated, in hangars and maintenance facilities, in fuel storage tanks and in insulation. The extensive use of the material continued right up until 1980 when asbestos’ dangers was made public: at that point the military discontinued ordering asbestos containing materials, and began taking steps to remove it from their environment. This required an extraordinary amount of effort: as the military grew in the years before, during and after World War II, its infrastructure had expanded dramatically, and asbestos was involved in nearly every step and facet.

World War II and the Use of Asbestos in the Air Force

Though asbestos was widely used in military installations and equipment through most of the 20th century, it was at its highest levels during World War II. By the time that the United States got involved in the War, there were almost 80,000 aircraft in use and 2.4 million service members in the Army Air Forces. These troops were housed on military bases domestically and abroad, and as more joined the service, more of these bases were built. No matter what job an Air Force service member had or what environment they served in, they were likely to be exposed to asbestos from their barracks, their transportation, or even their flight suits.  Today there are roughly 3,000 Americans that are diagnosed with mesothelioma, and a large percentage of them are people who served in the Air Force.

Asbestos Use in the Post-World War II Air Force

The end of World War II may have stopped combat, but it did not change the environment that Air Force members were exposed to. They continued living in buildings that had already been constructed using asbestos, and more buildings continued being built as new bases were built and existing bases were either renovated or extended. The inclusion of asbestos in Air Force infrastructure was a purposeful act motivated by the goal of protecting the Air Force members from heat and flame.  It was not until the mid-1970s that it was revealed that exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and other illnesses. Once this was established, the Defense Department took strong action, revising their purchase and construction guidelines to eliminate asbestos and protecting service men and women from asbestos that was already in place.

Asbestos on Specific Air Force Bases

Air Force bases were and continue to be located throughout the United States. The list below represents those bases that are known to have used asbestos in their construction, facilities, and equipment.

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

Hawaii:

  • Hickam AFB, Oahu

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

Legal Help

People who served in the Air Force and who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma are not able to file lawsuits against the government, but they may be eligible to receive VA disability benefits and medical care. Additionally, you may be able to hold the companies that provided the asbestos-contaminated materials to the shipyards responsible for the harm that they have suffered. For information about the steps needed to get compensation from the $30 billion asbestos trust funds, or to file a mesothelioma lawsuit against the asbestos companies that negligently exposed them to asbestos, you need the assistance of a law firm that specializes in asbestos lawsuits. If you or someone you love has an asbestos-related condition like mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos lung cancer, contact our office today at 1-800-706-5606. We will put you in touch with one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys or send you a free Financial Compensation Packet that will provide you with helpful information about the compensation that you may be eligible to receive.