USS Mervine (DD-489) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The USS Mervine (DD-489/DMS-31), a Gleaves-class destroyer, was laid down on 3 November 1941 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company of Kearny, New Jersey, and launched on 3 May 1942, sponsored by Miss Mildred Mervine great-granddaughter of the admiral. The ship was commissioned on 17 June 1942, with Lieutenant Commander S. D. Willingham in command. Assigned to escort work, the USS Mervine (DD-489/DMS-31) accompanied merchantmen as they plied the Gulf and West Indian shipping lanes, which during the preceding months had gained the dubious distinction of suffering the heaviest losses to U-boat activity in the eastern Atlantic. The ship was struck on 31 July 1968 from the Navy list and sold for scrap in 1969. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that’s been prized for thousands of years for its heat-resistant and flame-resistant properties. Asbestos fibers do not have a taste or smell, so someone can inhale or consume asbestos dust without realizing it. Illnesses caused by asbestos usually take 20 to 50 years to develop, so it is highly possible that the victim will be unaware of his/her exposure until decades after it happened.

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Shipmates on USS Mervine (DD-489)