USS Finch (DE-328) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The USS Finch (DE-328) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort laid down on June 29, 1943, and launched on August 28, the same year. It was commissioned on December 13, 1943, under Lt. Comdr. Albert H. Nienau’s command with the hull number DE-328 and served in the U.S. Navy for 3 years until it was decommissioned on October 4, 1946. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 186 people on board and had its main missions in Curacao, Casablanca, Algiers, Casco Bay, Naples, New York, Southern France, Boston, Pearl Harbor, Leyte, Guam, and Florida. After the decommissioning, the ship was transferred to USCG in 1951 and served for 3 years until 1954. It was finally struck from the Navy List on February 1, 1974, and sold for scrapping the same year. Navy ships built from the early 1940s through the late 1970s, were packed full of asbestos. The high heat resistant fibrous silicate mineral could be found in the insulation, the gaskets, some of the engine parts, and even in the paint. At the time, no one realized the terrible role asbestos would play in the lives of the gunner’s mates, damage controlmen, electricians, pipefitters, those working in boiler rooms, engine rooms, navigation rooms, weapons, and ammunition storage rooms.

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Shipmates on USS Finch (DE-328)

George Edward Arthur

Emmet Peter Forrestel

Charles L. Herr

Eugene McNulty

Alexander Joseph Mruczek

Clyde O. Soappman

Edward Baker Williams Sr.