USS John L. Williamson (DE-370) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The USS John L. Williamson (DE-370) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort laid down on May 22, 1944 and launched on August 29, the same year. It was commissioned on October 31, 1944, under Lt. Cmdr. J. E. Allen’s command as DE-370 and served in the U.S. Navy for 2 years until it was decommissioned on June 14, 1946. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 215 people on board and had its main missions in Pearl Harbor, Texas, Bermuda, Boston, Majuro, Okinawa, Panama Canal, Wakayama, and Ulithi. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on September 15, 1970, and sold for scrapping in 1973. Before the dangers of asbestos became publicly known, in the late 1970s, asbestos was widely used for insulation purposes on a number of navy ships including aircraft carriers, destroyers, and transport vessels. This high demand for asbestos was caused by the fact that it was a very reliable fire-retardant and it was relatively inexpensive, meaning that the military could construct sturdy ships, at a fraction of the cost of other materials.

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Shipmates on USS John L. Williamson (DE-370)