Asbestos Exposure on the USS Beale (DD-471)
Hull Number: DD-471
Built: Staten Island, NY
This Fletcher-class Destroyer was constructed by the Bethlehem Steel Company at its Staten Island, NY facility in the early days of American involvement in World War II. It was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in December of 1942, and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet soon after. Measuring just over 376 feet from bow to stern, the USS Beale carried a complement of 329 officers and men. The ship earned six battle stars for its service in the Second World War, and an additional star for service in Vietnam years later. It remained in active duty for over twenty-five years, and was decommissioned on September 1st, 1968.
Navy veterans who served aboard the USS Beale likely faced regular asbestos exposure during the course of their normal duty. Much of the equipment used on ships built between the 1930’s and mid-1970’s were made with asbestos, including boilers, pumps, turbines, valves, and electrical components.
Materials such as packing and gaskets were also often entirely made from asbestos. A high concentration of these asbestos products were located in the boiler and engine spaces of the ships, putting Boiler Tenders, Machinist’s Mates, and others who worked in these areas at additional risk.
Many of the companies who provided the Navy with these asbestos products were aware of the dangers, but did nothing to warn those serving on the USS Beale or other ships from the era. As a result of this negligent attitude, instances of mesothelioma and other related diseases occur in Navy veterans at a rate far higher than that of the general population.
Victims of asbestos who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer caused by asbestos have a right to seek compensation from the companies responsible for their illnesses. Settlements can offset or cover the costs of battling these incurable diseases, and may provide additional sums for pain and suffering.
The law limits the time in which a lawsuit can be filed however, so it is important to seek legal counsel soon after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis.