USS Charles Lawrence (DE-53/APD-37) - Facts and Asbestos Exposure

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The USS Charles Lawrence (DE-53) was a Buckley Class Destroyer Escort built by the Bethlehem Shipyard Inc. (Hingham, Massachusetts, USA). The ship was later converted to Charles Lawrence Class High-speed Transport and redesignated as APD-37. The vessel was named in the honor of Ordnanceman Charles Lawrence, who lost his life during the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and was sponsored by Mrs. S. Lawrence, mother of Charles Lawrence.

The USS Charles Lawrence (APD-37) received one battle star for the service in World War II. The ship carried a complement of 213 men on board and it completed major missions in the West Indian oil ports, the Northern Ireland, Pearl Harbor, Ulithi, Okinawa, Hagushi, the Philippines, Manus or the Inland Sea.

Technical Features of the USS Charles Lawrence (DE-53/APD-37)

Class and type: Buckley-class destroyer escort
Launch date: 16 February 1943
Commissioning date: 31 May 1943
Decommissioning date
: 21 June 1946
Displacement: 1400 tons (light), 1740 tons (full)
Length: 306 ft
Draft: 13 ft 6 inches
Beam: 37 ft
Speed: 23.6 knots (43 km/h)
Complement: 15 officers and 186 enlisted
Propulsion: 2 "D" Express boilers, G.E. turbines with electric drive, 12000 shp, 2 screws
Armament: one single 5"/38 caliber dual purpose gun mount, three twin 40mm AA gun mounts, eight single 20mm AA gun mounts, one depth charge projector, and two depth charge tracks

History of the USS Charles Lawrence (DE-53/APD-37)

The USS Charles Lawrence (DE-53) was laid down on August 1, 1942, at the Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard as a Buckley Class Destroyer Escort. After the ship was launched on February 16, 1943, it was commissioned under the command of Lcdr. Leon S. Kintberger on May 31, 1943. The ship was then converted to a Charles Lawrence Class high-speed transport at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and redesignated as the USS Charles Lawrence (APD-37) on October 23, 1944.

As a Destroyer Escort (DE-53), the USS Charles Lawrence was first assigned to the Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater during World War II. Later on, like High-Speed Transport (APD-37), the ship was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during which it participated in the Okinawa Gunto operation between April 1 and June 30, 1945.

After World War II, the USS Charles Lawrence (APD-37) was assigned occupation service in the Far East between September 25 and October 12, 1945. With a service of about 3 years and 21 days, on June 21, 1946, the ship was decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Florida and laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Florida Group. The ship was taken off from the Naval Register on September 1, 1964. As part of the final disposition, the ship was sold for scrapping to Southern Scrap Material Corp. New Orleans, LA on January 31, 1965.

Asbestos Risks on the USS Charles Lawrence (DE-53/APD-37)

In the year 1939, over 450 Destroyer Escorts were built in the United States with an intention to support the United States Merchant Marines during World War II. The Destroyer Escorts accompanied the Merchant Marine ships to protect them from aircraft attacks and were also used in anti-submarine warfare. Generally, the Destroyer Escorts like any other ships were built with asbestos-containing materials in order to avoid or mitigate the risks of fires and explosions. This subjected thousands of people at risk of asbestos exposure during their service as Destroyer Escorts typically carried about 150-200 servicemen.

The veterans who were stationed on Destroyer Escorts, particularly those who worked in confined high-heat areas such as boiler and engine rooms were at a constant threat of asbestos exposure. As a result, the veterans who have served on the USS Charles Lawrence (DE-53/APD-37) are at a greater risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related health issues.

Have You Been Exposed to Asbestos on the USS Charles Lawrence (DE-53/APD-37)

We help veterans to become aware of how they have been exposed to asbestos while serving on the USS Charles Lawrence. We also get them in contact with their former shipmates. Call us at 760.621.6147 for assistance.

Questions about asbestos exposure? We can help!

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