Asbestos Exposure on the USS Bullard
Hull Number: DD-660
Built: Kearny, NJ
The Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company built this Fletcher-class Destoryer at their Kearny, NJ facility during height of World War II. At a length of just over 376 feet, the Bullard held a complement of 329 officers and enlisted men. It was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in April of 1943, and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet after spending a short time patrolling the east coast and the Caribbean.
The ship participated in a number of important operations, including the Wake Island raid, the invasion of Tarawa, and the Okinawa operation, amongst others. By the end of the war, the Bullard had earned nine battle stars for its service. It was decommissioned shortly after the war’s end, in December of 1946.
Many Navy veterans who served on the USS Bullard were exposed to asbestos during the course of their regular duty. Asbestos was a common material used on ships built prior to the 1970’s, and was found in equipment such as pumps, valves, boilers, turbines, and electrical components.
Materials such as gaskets and packing were also made from asbestos. Because these items were found in an especially high concentration in the boiler and engine spaces, Machinist’s Mates, Boiler Tenders, Firemen, and others who worked in these areas were put at an elevated risk.
The companies who sold these asbestos products to the Navy were often aware of the risks they posed, but did nothing to warn the veterans who would be at risk. As a result of this negligence, many veterans fell victim to mesothelioma; a deadly cancer caused only by exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos victims diagnosed with mesothelioma have the right to seek compensation for their condition. Settlements can offset or cover medical fees, as well as provide additional sums for pain and anguish experienced by victims and their families. The law places limits on the time in which a lawsuit may be filed however, so it is important to seek legal counsel soon after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis.