USS Rhind (DD-404)

USS Rhind (DD-404) was a Benham-class destroyer constructed for the U.S. Navy. She was named in the honor of Alexander Colden Rhind, who was a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy during the Mexican-American and American Civil wars.

Construction

Rhind was laid down at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on September 22, 1937. Launched on July 28, 1938, she was sponsored by Mrs. Frederick S. Camp. Commander G.R. Cooper was commissioned on November 10, 1939.

Naval History

Following shakedown, Rhind conducted exercises in the Caribbean before conducting escort duties during the first part of 1941. In August of that year, she escorted August (CA-31) as she carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Newfoundland. She later escorted HMS Prince of Wales as she transported Prime Minister Winston Churchill to Iceland.

Following the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Rhind patrolled the waters off Bermuda before performing escort duties in Iceland and in the Panama Canal Zone. In July 1942, Rhind returned to the U.S., where she performed additional escort duties. On November 8, Rhind participated in the Naval Battle of Casablanca before providing support to troops in the area.

At the invasion of Sicily on July 14, Rhind served as a screen while also providing antiaircraft defense and fire-support. On the 26th, she stood by Mayrant (DD-402) after she had been heavily damaged. Rhind took on her wounded while also assisting in the salvaging of Mayrant. She then patrolled the Palermo area before making offensive sweeps near Messina.

Rhind continued to conduct escort duties and provide reinforcements over the next several months before resuming transatlantic convoy duty with the UK in late July 1944. She spent much of 1945 conducting escort duty before sailing to Pearl Harbor for exercises, after which she continued to conduct escort duty in areas such as Leyte and Okinawa.

Following the war, Rhind escorted landing craft to Marcus Island before heading to Iwo Jima. Following operations in the Marianas Island, Rhind returned to Pearl Harbor for experimental testing. On May 15, Rhind joined Joint Task Force 1 as part of the Operation Crossroads atomic test series.

Although Rhind survived the atomic testing on Bikini Atoll, she was highly contaminated. Therefore, she was decommissioned on August 26, 1946. Rhind was then moved to Kwajalein, where she obtained radiological clearance. She was sunk on March 22, 1948 and her name was struck from the Navy list on April 5, 1948. Rhind earned four battle stars for her services during World War II.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Rhind (DD-404)

Essentially every compartment on board Rhind was contaminated with material containing asbestos. Asbestos was used as insulation for boiler plants, electrical generators, and engines. It also covered steam pipes throughout the vessel. Asbestos was added to cements and sealants used on board, and was even found in some ropes. Most crewmen sailing or doing repairs on Rhind were probably exposed to asbestos.

Breathing and swallowing of asbestos fibers can eventually lead to a diagnosis of mesothelioma. Since asbestos exposure is currently the only known cause of this condition, Navy veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma can often receive monetary compensation for their illness. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can explain your legal rights.

Sources

Rhind. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center.
http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/r5/rhind.htm

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