USS Lardner (DD-286) was one of more than 150 Clemson-class destroyers constructed for the US Navy after World War I. She was named for Rear Admiral James L. Lardner, an officer in the US Navy during the Civil War.
Lardner was launched by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Squantum, Massachusetts on September 29, 1919. She was sponsored by Miss Margaret Large, who was the granddaughter of James L. Lardner. Lieutenant Commander M.B. DeMott took command of Lardner on December 10, 1919.
Following commissioning, Lardner was assigned to Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. She then headed for Cuba, where she participated in battle practice, tactical exercises and fleet maneuvers. Upon completion of these duties, Lardner returned to Boston and began patrolling off the Florida coast along with other destroyer squadrons.
On August 28, 1920, Lardner joined the reserve fleet at Charleston, South Carolina. Here, she trained Naval Reservists until April 1921, at which time she departed for Jacksonville, Florida. Lardner continued operations along the Atlantic coast through 1922 before departing for Boston in January of the following year. At this time, Lardner joined the Scouting Fleet off Cuba before joining the Pacific Fleet off Panama the following month.
In April 1923, Lardner arrived in Norfolk, Virginia to undergo a refit. She then rejoined the Scouting Fleet near the New England coast. Lardner remained with the Fleet until that winter, at which time she sailed to the Caribbean. After returning to the United States in the spring of 1924, Lardner patrolled the Atlantic coast. She continued to serve in this capacity until September of the following year, at which time she sailed to Guantanamo and Haiti before returning to Charleston in April 1926.
In June of 1926, Lardner joined Destroyer Division 27. Over the next few months, she visited numerous ports throughout northern Europe before heading to Gibraltar and the Mediterranean in September. She once again visited numerous ports before towing Scorpion to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in July 1927. The following month, Lardner resumed operations along the Atlantic coast, though she did embark on an winter cruise each year to the Caribbean. She continued to operate in this capacity until September 1929.
Lardner was decommissioned on May 1, 1930 in Philadelphia as part of the London Naval Treaty, which called for the reduction of naval armaments. Lardner was struck from the Navy list on October 22, 1930 and was sold for scrap on January 17, 1931.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Lardner (DD-286)
Using asbestos in the design of marine vessels was mandated by law in the US in the early 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard a luxury liner caused the deaths of more than 100 passengers and crew. Ships like Lardner made use of asbestos insulation in large amounts in engines and engine spaces, and in fireproofing in all sections of the ship. If asbestos becomes worn it becomes "friable", meaning that the fibers can break off and escape into the air, and then are inhaled or ingested by naval personnel or dockworkers, increasing the chances of contracting mesothelioma.
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Lardner. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center. (http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/l4/lardner-i.htm) Retrieved 27 December 2010.