USS Chester T. O’Brien (DE-421) - Facts and Asbestos Exposure


The USS Chester T. O'Brien was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort that was acquired by the US Navy during World War II.

This ship was named after Platoon Sergeant Chester Thomas O'Brien, known for his heroic service at Guadalcanal, and was sponsored by his sister, Mrs. J. Edington.

The ship carried 215 people on board and had major missions in Manus, Palau, Norfolk, San Diego, San Pedro, and Newport.

Technical Features of the USS Chester T. O'Brien (DE-421)

Class and type: John C. Butler-class destroyer escort
Launch date: 29 February 1944
Commissioning date: 3 July 1944
Decommissioning date: 2 July 1946
Displacement: 1,350 tons (light), 1,745 tons (full)
Length: 306 ft (93 m)
Draft: 13 ft 4 in
Beam: 36 ft 10 in
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h)
Complement: 14 officers and 201 enlisted
Propulsion: 2 "D" Express boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp, 2 screws
Armament: 2 - 5"/38 cal. DP guns (2x1), 4 - 40 mm AA (2x2), 10 - 20 mm AA, 3 - 21" TT, 1 Mk10 Hedgehog, 8 Mk6 Depth Charge Projectors, 2 Mk9 Depth Charge Stern Racks

History of the USS Chester T. O'Brien (DE-421)

The USS Chester T. O'Brien (DE-421) was laid down on January 21, 1944, by the Brown Shipbuilding Co.; in Houston, Texas. The ship was launched on February 29, 1944, and later commissioned under the command of Lt. Cmdr. R.D. White on July 3, 1944. The ship initially reported to the Atlantic fleet and served for 2 years in the US Navy before it was decommissioned at San Diego on July 2, 1946.

Later, on March 28, 1951, the ship was recommissioned at San Diego, and the homeport assignment was changed to Newport on June 22, 1951. Between the years 1954 and 1958, the USS Chester T. O'Brien served as a school ship with the Escort Vessel Gunnery School of Destroyer Force, Atlantic, and the Fleet Sonar School and performed local operations at the Key West and Newport. The ship was assigned to the 3rd Naval District in New York City on September 05, 1958. After the final decommissioning on February 21, 1959, the ship was struck from the Navy List on July 1, 1972, and sold for scrapping on April 04, 1974. The ship served a total of 11 years and 2 months.

Asbestos Risks on the USS Chester T. O'Brien (DE-421)

The USS Chester T. O'Brien (DE-421) was a destroyer escort mainly designed for anti-submarine and anti-aircraft battles during World War II. This ship was built during a time when the use of asbestos in shipbuilding was rampant, and as a result, most of the equipment on this ship contained asbestos. Boilers, pumps, pipes, valves, turbines, electrical fixtures, hull construction, and other propulsion equipment often had asbestos insulation, thereby exposing several sailors serving on the USS Chester T. O'Brien (DE-421) and people involved in the building, renovation, repair, and demolition of the ship. Asbestos was also used as a fire retardant in most places within the ship, for instance, the non-skid flooring on the decks and bulkhead walls. Consequently, Navy veterans, as well as personnel such as boiler tenders, machinist mates, electrician's mates, pipefitters, shipbuilders, and shipyard workers, are at an increased risk of developing asbestos-related diseases, including malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.

Have You Been Exposed to Asbestos on the USS Chester T. O'Brien (DE-421)?

We assist veterans who served in the US Navy aboard the USS Chester T. O'Brien (DE-421) to find information about their rights and help them find legal aid if they have an asbestos-related cancer diagnosis. We can facilitate their taking legal steps to receive compensation by contacting them with legal experts. We can also get contacts from their former shipmates.

If you have a cancer diagnosis please contact us

Related News & Updates