USS Rhodes (DE-384) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The USS Rhodes (DE-384) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort laid down on April 19, 1943, and launched on June 29, the same year. It was commissioned on October 25, 1943, under Lt. Comdr. E. A. Coffin’s command with the hull number DE-384 and served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years until it was decommissioned on July 10, 1963. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 209 people on board and had its main missions in Bermuda, New York, Norfolk, Kuriles, Oran, Bizerte, Newport, France, Argentia, the Panama Canal, Adak, Okinawa, and Boston. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on August 1, 1974, and sold for scrapping to Union Minerals and Alloys Corporation in New York the following year. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring fibrous mineral that was once used in a variety of products because of its strength, resistance to heat, and ability to insulate. Navy veterans were responsible for making sure the asbestos-based components such as gaskets, valves, pipes, and many others had to be regularly inspected and repaired. Overexposure to asbestos occurred due to the lack of awareness about the dangers of breathing in asbestos fibers and because Navy personnel did not wear proper protective clothing and face mask.

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Shipmates on USS Rhodes (DE-384)