The USS Mars was a United States Navy supply ship. Her keel was laid down by National Steel and Shipbuilding Company of San Diego, California in May of 1962 and she launched in June of 1953. Mars was commissioned at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard in December of 1963. Sponsored by the widow of California congressman Clyde Doyle, her maiden commander was Captain Russel C. Medley.
Mars was to be a unique vessel in that it was among the first of a class of ships (AFS) designed to replace three earlier supply ship models including the AF (store ship), AKS (Stores issue ship), and AVS (Aviation Supply Ship). To speed supply processing, the Mars would be the first Pacific Fleet vessel equipped with the 1004 Univac Computer system.
Mars was assigned to Service Squadron One and left San Diego in March of 1964 for shakedown and training in Acapulco, Mexico. In September she sailed the Pacific, arriving in Yokosuka, Japan, which would serve as her homeport for the remainder of the 1960’s. In the early 1970’s, Mars underwent total overhaul in Richmond, California until being deployed in the South China Sea in support of the operations with the Seventh Fleet. In 1979, Marsh collided with the USS Cook off Point Loma, California, an accident in which seven were injured. Mars was decommissioned from the naval register in February of 1993 at Naval Station Treasure Island in San Francisco.
Those who served aboard the Mars were an important part of the supply chain in Southeast Asia at a volatile time in the region’s history. Unfortunately, many of these were exposed to toxins like asbestos while serving aboard naval vessels. Asbestos was commonly used as an industrial insulation material, particularly aboard ships like the Mars. Those who encountered asbestos likely inhaled loose asbestos fibers which were present in the air. Many of these people are now suffering from asbestos-related health complications as a result of their exposure aboard naval vessels. If you believe you have been harmfully exposed to asbestos, you are urged to speak with a health professional about possible adverse symptoms indicative of exposure.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.