The USS Agerholm (DD-826) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy and served for more than three decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Harold C. Agerholm, a Marine who served in the Second World War. Agerholm was laid down as a Gearing-class destroyer.
Agerholm was laid down at Bath, Maine by the Bath Iron Works Corporation in September 1945, launched in March 1946, and commissioned in June with Commander Frank D. Schwartz in command. Carrying a crew of 336, Agerholm was 390 feet, six inches long, with a displacement of 3,460 tons, and armed with six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Agerholm began her naval service by conducting training operations off Southern California, then sailed to the western Pacific in March 1947, where she visited Chinese and Japanese ports. Overhauled at Mare Island, California in 1950, Agerholm was deployed to the combat zone off Korea, arriving there in February 1951. During this deployment, Agerholm took on protective screening and plane guard duties and performed shore bombardment at Wonsan in April and May.
Agerholm returned to San Diego in September and served a second tour of Korea from May 1952 until December 1952, and was deployed again to support the Formosa Patrol in 1953. From November 1954 to April 1955, Agerholm served with Task Force 77 during the evacuation of Chinese Nationalists from the Tachen Islands, and then served on four more deployments to the western Pacific before 1960. She then underwent an FRAM overhaul and then tested her new equipment in 1961.
In May 1962, Agerholm became the first vessel to fire an anti-submarine nuclear weapon and then alternated between western Pacific deployments and west coast overhauls, until being deployed during the Vietnam War. Agerholm served tours of Vietnam in 1966 and 1967, participated in tests with the Naval Weapons Center in California in 1968, and then returned to Vietnam in 1969. Operations there continued into the early 1970s, and Agerholm then alternated regular deployments to the western Pacific with local training operations off California. Agerholm was decommissioned in December 1978 and sunk during a training exercise off California in 1982.’
Asbestos Risk on the USS Agerholm (DD-826)
Naval personnel who sailed or worked on Agerholm were probably exposed to asbestos while performing their duties. Asbestos fibers cause a number of diseases, including malignant mesothelioma, when they are swallowed or inhaled. Because Agerholm did not suffer significant damage during the course of her career, the main asbestos risk to her crew came to those working in parts of the ship which contained high concentrations of asbestos as part of their normal working routine.
Engineering crew who worked with the ship’s turbines and engines were exposed to high levels of asbestos fibers on an ongoing and regular basis. Repair and maintenance crewmen who had to cut and install asbestos-containing insulation or replace gaskets and pipe liners made from asbestos would also have been exposed to these fibers. Cutting and fitting asbestos-based materials poses a high risk because the material can become “friable”, meaning that individual fibers are released into the air.
If you or a loved one served aboard Agerholm and have developed mesothelioma, there is help available. Fill out the form on this page and we will send you a free comprehensive packet with information on asbestos exposure, why it is dangerous, and what your legal options may be.
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-826.
NavSource Naval History. Agerholm (DD-826).