U.S.S. Bunker Hill (CG-52)
Bunker Hill is a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser currently serving with the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Her current homeport is San Diego, CA.
Design and Construction
Bunker Hill was laid down on 11 January 1984 at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascalouga, Mississippi. She was the first Ticonderoga-class ship to use a Vertical Launch System (VLS) for her missiles. Previous ships used an older twin arm system, which limited missile stowage and extended intervals between launches. Bunker Hill’s system allows her to stow her missiles in multiple tubes, which also serve as their launch tubes, enabling much quicker response and launch times. Her VLS also enables her to use the Tomahawk cruise missile. She joined the Navy on September 20, 1985.
Immediately following her commissioning, the cruiser transferred to the Seventh Fleet. She made her first deployment in July 1987 to the Persian Gulf. After this, she transferred to Yokosuka, Japan, where she joined the Midway battle group and embarked on a 4-month deployment. During this cruise, she received a Meritorious Unit Award and her first Battle Efficiency Award.
Bunker Hill sailed to the Persian Gulf once again in November 1990, this time to support combat operations in Iraq. She took command of the coalition air forces in the area and was also one of the first ships to launch Tomahawk missiles at Iraqi targets. Following the end of hostilities in 1991, the cruiser assisted in setting up Operation Southern Watch, the no-fly zone over Iraq.
She was involved in the 1995-1996 crisis in the Taiwan Strait, as she patrolled off Taiwan to observe Chinese missile tests in March 1996. She returned to San Diego in July 1998 and deployed with the Abraham Lincoln battle group. She sailed with them in January 2000 and successfully fired her first Anti-Submarine Rocket-Assisted (ASROC) torpedo from her VLS system. The cruiser joined the Tarawa amphibious assault group on September 12 and headed to East Timor, where she gave humanitarian relief, including sending 20 of her sailors ashore. Five days later, on the 17th, the ship was ordered to rejoin the Lincoln battle group in the Persian Gulf for inspection duty. She inspected over 40 suspicious cargo vessels during this time. Bunker Hill sailed for Yemen on October 10, following the terrorist bombing of the destroyer Cole. She provided protection for ships in the harbor assisting Cole and sent a security detachment to guard FBI investigators looking into the bombing.
Bunker Hill was slated to be the first of 22 ships in her class to receive a massive upgrade from Lockheed Martin. The announcement was made in March 2006, and the upgrade is rumored to include the fitting of new 5-inch/62 caliber guns, Evolved Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile launchers, and an upgrade to her VLS. She was sent to Haiti in January 2010 to participate in relief efforts following devastating earthquakes on that island. While operating with the destroyer Momsen on 4 February 2011, Bunker Hill broke up a pirate attack on the merchant vessel Duqm off the coast of Somalia. The cruiser sank two pirate skiffs in the action. As of 2012, Bunker Hill is still in commission and is still operating from San Diego.
Risk of Asbestos Exposure
In the 1970s, the U.S. Navy began enforcing regulations that severely restricted the use of asbestos in the construction of new ships. As Bunker Hill was built in the 1980s, very little asbestos is likely to be aboard, though small amounts may be present.
Asbestos is used as an insulator on ships, primarily for the engines of steam-powered vessels. Any damage to asbestos-based insulation can cause the substance to degrade into tiny fibers that are easy for sailors and shipyard workers to inhale. Asbestos inhalation is a proven cause of mesothelioma, a malignant cancer of the lungs. There is no cure for mesothelioma, but treatments such as chemotherapy can be used to fight the disease.
If you or someone you know served aboard Bunker Hill or worked on her in a shipyard and has contracted mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. Please fill out the form at the bottom of this page to receive free information regarding your legal options.