USS Lewis (DE-535) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The USS Lewis (DE-535) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort laid down on November 3, 1943 and launched on December 7, the same year. It was commissioned on September 5, 1944 under Lt. Cmdr. Robert H. Stevens’ command as DE-535 and served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years until it was decommissioned on May 27, 1960. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 215 people on board and had its main missions in Bermuda, Manus, Boston, Casco Maine, Hong Kong, Midway, Yokosuka, Sasebo and San Pedro. After decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on January 1, 1966 and used as a target ship during training exercises the same year. Although the Navy officially stopped using asbestos in the mid-1970s, the utilization of asbestos materials throughout every aspect of naval operations was so pervasive that its application continued for the rest of the decade and beyond, all the way into the 1990s in some cases. Even when the Navy issued directives to its manufacturers to substitute asbestos gaskets, rope packing, and other asbestos-containing materials, they showed resistance, not wanting to incur the higher costs of the more expensive substitutes.

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Shipmates on USS Lewis (DE-535)

Daniel Lewis Banks Jr.

Jerald Dale Brandt

Henry R.'Dutch' Dressel Sr.

Ronald Dean Grizzle

Keith C. King

Joseph A. Mamica

Richard M. Noel

Neil F. Restani

Salvatore Charles Rizzo

Elmer Albert Sailer