USS Marsh (DE-699) - Facts and Asbestos Exposure

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Laid down in 1943 by the Defoe Shipbuilding Company in Bay City, Michigan, the USS Marsh was sponsored by Mrs. Ben R. Marsh, mother of Ensign Marsh, and commissioned one year later with Lieutenant Commander P. M. Fenton in command.

It is a Buckley-class destroyer escort whose name comes from Ensign Benjamin R. Marsh, Jr., who lost his life on board the battleship Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Technical Features of the USS Marsh (DE-699)

Class and type: Buckley-class destroyer escort
Launch date: 25 September 1943
Commissioning date: 12 January 1944
Decommissioning date: 1 August 1962
Displacement: 1,400 long tons (1,422 t) light and 1,673 long tons (1,700 t) standard
Length: 306 ft
Draft: 13 ft 6 in
Beam: 37 ft
Speed: 24 knots
Complement: 186
Propulsion: turbo-electric drive, 12,000 shp (8.9 MW), 2 shafts
Armament: 3 x 3"/50 caliber guns, 1 x quad 1.1"/75 caliber gun, 8 x single 20 mm guns, 1 x triple 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes, 8 x K-gun depth charge projectors, 2 x depth charge tracks

History of the USS Marsh (DE-699)

The ship conducted training exercises and escorted convoys along the northeast coast. On 25 March, it sailed from New York to Plymouth, England, to complete its first trans-Atlantic convoy. After entering the Mediterranean through the Strait of Gibraltar on 9 July, the USS Marsh escorted convoys between North Africa, Malta, and southern Italy until the middle of August. Subsequently, it went to Naples with the assault forces for "Operation Dragoon", the invasion of Southern France. For the following month, the ship stayed in the Mediterranean to provide gunfire support and convoying supplies in the area. In 1945, the ship joined in the active pacification of bypassed islands in the Marianas. It began broadcasting propaganda messages in Japanese and Okinawan, sailing among the various islands of that group, including Asuncion, Sarigan, Maug, and Agrihan, and taking on prisoners as they surrendered.

In early 1946, the USS Marsh came back to the United States for shipyard overhaul at San Pedro, California. It sailed for the South Pacific once more on 16 May, as the ship had to provide power to the island Kwajalein until September. On 31 March 1947, the ship returned to Pearl Harbor and operated in the Hawaiian Islands and off the coast of California for the next 3 years. In June 1950, after the invasion of South Korea by the Communists, it was deployed to the Pacific and subsequently arrived in Pusan, where the ship supplied power to the city for 2 weeks. On 26 March, the USS Marsh returned to the West Coast and was stationed in San Francisco for 3 months before reporting to the Fleet Sonar School at San Diego. From then until 1952, it conducted training exercises for the school and with other units of the fleet off the southern coast of California. Between 1952 and 1961, the ship operated out of San Diego, preponderantly with the Fleet Sonar School for six months, and served in the western Pacific for the remainder of each year.

On 10 September 1957, the USS Marsh went to San Francisco Naval Shipyard for overhaul and then in reserve. However, before being decommissioned, it completed 2 cruises: one to Mexico and one to Hawaii. After decommission, the ship remained in service as an anti-submarine training ship of the Selected Reserve Forces. It was recommissioned on 15 December and one month later, it went to Pearl Harbor. Another month later, it cruised to the western Pacific. There, it conducted training exercises for and patrolled with units of the South Vietnamese Navy. On 1 August 1961, the USS Marsh was once again placed in service, in reserve. It was subsequently reassigned as a Naval Reserve training ship and continued this activity until 1969. The USS Marsh was struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 1973 and later sold for scrap.

By virtue of the remarkable career it had, the USS Marsh received numerous awards, including:

  • the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
  • the World War II Victory Medal
  • the National Defense Service Medal
  • the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
  • the Korean Service Medal

Asbestos Risks on the USS Marsh (DE-699)

Since asbestos was heavily employed by U.S. shipyards during the middle of the last century, it was also lurking on the USS Marsh in tremendous amounts and in numerous places, such as boilers, gaskets, wall insulation and valves. People who served on this ship should pay close attention to their health and make sure their lungs have not been affected by awful diseases such as lung cancer or mesothelioma by undergoing yearly medical examinations. The risk of developing a disease following military asbestos exposure is substantial for veterans and they also represent 30% of mesothelioma victims.

Have You Been Exposed to Asbestos on the USS Marsh (DE-699)?

"We spent lots of weeks on the ship dockside and at-sea training. Most of the work was scraping paint in showers and heads engine room in all surfaces of the ship. Of course, in those days there were no mask or gloves. I am 65 now, had trouble labor working my whole life with any strenuous work and experience shortness of breath. I worked on the USS Mullaney, too, which had serious asbestos problems." - Curtis L.

If you are a veteran who served on the USS Marsh and have been diagnosed with a disease as a consequence of Navy asbestos exposure, we strongly encourage you to claim the financial compensation you deserve. Please give us a call at 760.621.6147 and we will gladly assist you in recovering the money you deserve, as well as put you in contact with former shipmates.

Questions about asbestos exposure? We can help!

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