USS Blue (DD-387)
USS Blue (DD-387) was a Bagley-class destroyer constructed for the US Navy. She was named in honor of Rear Admiral Victor Blue, who served during the Spanish-American War and World War II.
Bagley was launched by Norfolk Naval Shipyard on May 27, 1937. She was sponsored by Miss Katie Lilly Blue, who was the namesake’s sister. Lieutenant Commander J. Wright took command of Blue on August 14, 1937.
Following her shakedown cruise, Blue provided training courses in the Caribbean and along the east coast. In August 1938, she sailed for the Pacific, where she served as the flagship for Destroyer Division 7, Battle Force. Blue then remained in west coast waters until April 1940, at which time she sailed to Pearl Harbor with her division.
Blue spent most of the remaining year and the following one operating out of Pearl Harbor, with the only exceptions being an overhaul at Puget Sound Navy Yard in the early part of 1941 and exercises out of San Diego in April of that year.
Although Blue was at port at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, she was able to make her way out to sea with just four ensigns on board. She then performed offshore patrol as the flagship of Destroyer Division Seven of Destroyer Squadron Four from December 1941 through January 1942.
On February 1, 1942, Blue joined Enterprise as they engaged in air attacks on Maloelap, Wotje, Marshall Islands and Kwajalein Atolls. On February 24, the ships engaged in air attacks on Wake Island as well. The following month, Blue provided escort to convoys traveling between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco. She continued to serve in this capacity until June, at which time she sailed to Wellington, New Zealand.
After arriving in New Zealand on July 18, Blue joined Task Group 62.2 for the Battle of Guadalcanal. Although she was present at the battle, Blue did not play an active role in the Battle of Savo Island, which took place on August 9. She did, however, assist with the evacuation of survivors from HMAS Canberra, which had been severely damaged in the battle.
From August 13th through the 17th, Blue patrolled off Noumea, New Caledonia. Four days later, she returned to Guadalcanal. On August 22, Blue was torpedoed by Kawakaze while she was patrolling in Ironbottom Sound. The resulting explosion damaged Blue’s main engine, steering gear and shafts while also killing nine men and wounding 21 others. Over the next two days, attempts were made to tow Blue to Tulagi. After those attempts failed, she was scuttled on August 23.
Blue received 5 battle stars for her service during World War II.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Blue (DD-387)
The use of asbestos fireproofing in the design of naval ships was mandated by law in the US in the 1930s, after a fire at sea on the SS Morro Castle caused the deaths of more than 100 passengers and crew. Vessels like Blue made use of asbestos heavily, especially in ship's boilers and engineering rooms, and for insulation all through the ship. Asbestos was known even in ancient times for its resistance to fire and heat, but it was also demonstrated to be the primary cause of life-threatening diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.
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Bagley. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center.
http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/b7/blue-i.htm Retrieved 1 January 2011.