The USS Rathburne (DD-113) served in the US Navy for over two-and-a-half decades of the early 20th century. She was named for John Peck Rathbun, who served in the Continental Navy during the American Revolution. Rathburne was built as a Wickes-class ship.
The Wickes-class destroyer was laid down in July 1917 by William Cramp & Sons’ Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, launched in December, and commissioned in June 1918 with Commander Ward R. Wortman in command. Rathburne was 314 feet 4½ inches long and armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, a three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch triple torpedo tubes. She was propelled by four boilers and two Parsons turbines with 24,610 horsepower, and cruised at 35 knots.
Rathburne was assigned to escorting coastal convoys along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States and oceanic convoys to the Azores from July to November 1918. In 1919, Rathburne conducted winter maneuvers in Cuba and then operated in France in May and June, before being transferred to the Pacific Fleet in August. Rathburne then joined the Asiatic Fleet and operated out of the Philippines and China until July 1922, and was decommissioned at San Diego, California in February 1923.
Rathburne was recommissioned in February 1930 and conducted fleet exercises, and in 1934 participated in Fleet Problem XV, a simulated attack and defense of the Panama Canal. She arrived in San Diego the next fall, was transferred to the West Coast Sound Training Squadron in 1935, and was used as a training ship until 1944. In April 1944, Rathburne was deployed to Puget Sound and was converted to a high-speed transport and re-designated APD-25. Rathburne deployed to Hawaii in July where she trained with underwater demolition teams.
In September 1944, Rathburne conducted combat operations off Palaus in the Pacific Ocean and participated in the pre-invasion bombardment and minesweeping operations of Peleliu and Anguar. Rathburne joined the October invasion of Leyte in the Philippines and then conducted messenger and passenger runs in the area.
In April, Rathburne suffered damaged from a kamikaze airplane, resulting in flooding and fires but no casualties. Rathburne was repaired in Okinawa and in June, returned to San Diego and regained destroyer status. She was decommissioned in Philadelphia in November 1945, struck from the Navy list, and sold for scrap to the Northern Metals Company in November 1946.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Rathburne (DD-113)
Ships from this era made heavy use of asbestos insulation, particularly in the engine and boiler rooms. Asbestos products are most dangerous when they are damaged or worn down. Such products easily loose nearly invisible asbetos fibers into the air, where they can easily be inhaled. These fibers can cause severe scarring and tissue damage, and eventually illnesses such as mesothelioma.
Even though all of the armed services deployed asbestos in their buildings, bases and installations, asbestos exposure was much more frequent on ships and in drydock. Cramped quarters, extended deployments, and the quantity of asbestos used aboard Wickes-class ships increase the risk. Doctors find a larger number of navy mesothelioma cases than any other service.
We have compiled a mesothelioma information packet with comprehensive information concerning mesothelioma clinics, experimental trials, and alternative treatments. We also discuss the legal consequences of naval asbestos exposure and what your rights may be if you or a loved one was exposed while serving. Please fill out the form on this page to receive this valuable information at no cost to you.
NavSource Naval History, USS Rathburne (DD-113).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/113.htm Retrieved 20 December 2010
Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center.
http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/r3/rathburne-i.htm Retrieved 20 December 2010
Tin Can Sailors, USS Rathburne (DD-113), Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
http://www.destroyers.org/DANFS/h-DD-34.htm Updated 1981. Retrieved 20 December 2010