The USS Downes (DD-45) was a Cassin-class destroyer laid down on June 27, 1912, and launched on November 8, 1913. It was commissioned on February 11, 1915, under Lt. Comdr. A. W. Johnson’s command with the hull number DD-45 and served in the US Navy for 7 years until it was decommissioned on June 6, 1922. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 101 people on board and had its main missions in New York, Philadelphia, Devonport, Queenstown, Brest, Norfolk, Cuba, and Newport. The ship was repaired in Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard after the Japanese attack. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on July 5, 1934, and sold for scrapping the same year.
Navy veterans have regularly been exposed to asbestos, and this means that they are at increased risk of developing mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related illnesses. In fact, veterans make up around 30% of all diagnosed mesothelioma cases in the U.S. Mainly required due to its durability and fireproofing, the use of asbestos in the shipbuilding industry from the 1940s to the 1980s was unusually high.