The USS Chester T. O’Brien (DE-421) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort laid down on January 21, 1944, and launched on February 29, the same year. It was commissioned on July 3, 1944, under Lt. Cmdr. R. D. White’s command as DE-421 and served in the U.S. Navy for 3 years until it was decommissioned on February 21, 1959. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 215 people on board and had its main missions in San Diego, Norfolk, Manus, Palau, San Pedro, Newport, and Zamboanga. After decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on July 1, 1972, and sold for scrapping in 1974.
The most extensive use of asbestos occurred between 1930 and the early 1970s, which coincided with the U.S. Navy’s expansion during World War II. Prolonged exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of colon/rectal cancer, throat/esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other nonmalignant lung and pleural disorders. Most veterans do not start showing asbestos related symptoms until 10-40 years after their initial exposure.