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Asbestos Exposure on the USS Arnold J. Isbell


Hull Number: DD-869
Type: Destroyer
Class: Gearing
Built: Staten Island, NY

The USS Arnold J. Isbell was a Gearing-class Destroyer built by the Bethlehem Steel Company at its Staten Island, NY facility following the end of World War II. It was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in January of 1946, and sent to join the Atlantic Fleet after its shakedown cruise.

Measuring just over 390 feet in length, the ship carried a complement of 356 officers and enlisted men aboard. Following its brief stay in the Atlantic, the vessel was switched to Pacific duty the next year, and in 1950 became an active participant in the Korean War, earning six battle stars over the course of the conflict.

Following its duty in Korea, the Arnold J. Isbell moved onto the conflict in Vietnam, where it earned two additional battle stars. In 1972, the ship was removed from active duty and placed in the Reserve Training Fleet before being decommissioned and sold to Greece in 1974.

Many Navy veterans who served on the USS Arnold J. Isbell were likely exposed to asbestos over the course of their regular duty. Between the 1930’s and 1970’s, ships built for the U.S. Navy regularly used asbestos in much of the important equipment carried on board, including boilers, pumps, valves, turbines, and electrical components. Materials such as gaskets and packing were also often made entirely from asbestos.

An especially high concentration of these asbestos products were concentrated in the boiler and engine spaces below deck, placing Machinists’ Mates, Firemen, Boiler Tenders, and others who worked in these areas at a heightened level of danger. The companies who produced this asbestos equipment for the Navy typically knew their products could cause a great deal of harm, but did nothing to warn those who served on the USS Arnold J. Isbell or its contemporaries.

Veterans who have fallen victim to mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illnesses have a right to seek compensation. Settlements can offset or cover the costs of medical care, and may provide additional sums for pain and suffering.

The law limits time in which legal action can be undertaken however, so it is important to seek counsel soon after receiving a diagnosis.

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