Asbestos Exposure on the USS Ammen (DD-527)
Hull Number: DD-527
Built: San Francisco, CA
This Fletcher-class Destroyer was built by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation at its construction site in San Francisco, CA during World War II. It was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in March of 1943, and joined the Allied fleet in the Pacific soon after.
Over the course of the Second World War, the USS Ammen waged battle in waters around New Guinea, the Philippines, and Okinawa amongst others, earning eight battle stars for its service. After the war’s end, the ship returned to the United States and joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until the outbreak of the Korean War.
The ship was returned to active duty, but a collision with the USS Collett in 1960 resulted in damage and casualties that led the USS Ammen to be decommissioned in September of that year.
Veterans who served on the USS Ammen were likely exposed to asbestos over the course of their regular duty. Prior to the mid-1970s, asbestos was a common material used in shipbuilding, and could be found in equipment such as boilers, turbines, pumps, valves, and electrical components.
Additionally, materials including gaskets and packing were often made entirely from asbestos. The engine and boiler spaces held an especially high concentration of asbestos, putting Machinist’s Mates, Boiler Tenders, and others who spent their work days in these areas at heightened danger.
The companies that provided the Navy with these asbestos products were generally aware how hazardous asbestos could be, but did nothing to warn those serving aboard the USS Ammen or its contemporaries. As a result, few if any sailors took proper precautions while working with asbestos, and many contracted mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses.
Navy veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma were likely exposed to asbestos during their time at sea, and have a right to seek compensation. Settlements can often cover the costs of medical care, and may provide additional sums for pain and suffering.
There is a limited window of time in which a lawsuit may be filed however, so it is important to seek legal counsel soon after a mesothelioma diagnosis is received.