USS John C. Butler (DE-339) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The USS John C. Butler (DE-339) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort laid down on October 5, 1943, and launched on November 12, the same year. It was commissioned on March 31, 1944, under Lt. Cmdr. John E. Pace’s command as DE-339, and served in the U.S. Navy for 9 years until it was decommissioned on December 18, 1957. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 186 people on board and had its main missions in Bermuda, Morotai, Panama Canal, Manus, Leyte, San Diego, Ie Shima, Kerama Retto, Pearl Harbor, Ulithi, and Okinawa. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on June 1, 1970, and used as a target ship during training exercises the following year. For the services brought to the country during World War II, the USS John C. Butler received 5 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation. Shipyards frequently used asbestos as an insulation material on ships. Workers who repaired or built boilers or worked on pipes or machinery on ships were likely exposed to toxic asbestos fibers. When the fibers were disturbed, they would become airborne and inhaled by the workers and service members in the close quarters of a ship. Inhaling asbestos fibers can lead to the development of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

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Shipmates on USS John C. Butler (DE-339)

Charles William Beetschen

Walter Dick Bennett

Charles M. Campbell

K. Duane Denney

Leonard A. Dluhy

Thomas Eli Joyner Jr.

Chester W. Skoczen