USS Trathen (DD-530)
The USS Trathen (DD-530) served in the U.S. Navy for three decades in the middle part of the 20th century. She was named for Lieutenant Commander James Trathen who served in the Civil War. Trathen was laid down as a Fletcher-class vessel.
Trathen was laid down at San Francisco, California by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in March 1942, launched in October, and commissioned in May 1943 with Commander Alvoord J. Greenacre in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Trathen was armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Trathen underwent training operations off Hawaii, and was assigned to Task Force 11 during efforts to reoccupy Baker Island. When this was completed, Trathen sailed from Pearl Harbor to Wake Island as a screening ship with Task Group 14.5 in September 1943. Trathen underwent turbine repairs at Pearl Harbor and then at Puget Sound Navy Yard; upon completion of repairs, she was deployed for service at Hawaii in November.
Trathen sailed for the Marshall Islands in January 1944 and served as a fire-support ship off Kwajalein Island, and then returned there for anti-submarine patrols in February. Later in February, Trathen participated in operations at Eniwetok and sailed for New Guinea in May, operating in the Sehoeten Islands for patrol duty. She fought off Japanese bombers at Biak and helped in the unsuccessful pursuit of Japanese destroyers there, before participating in the invasion of Noemfoor Island in July.
Trathen screened aircraft carriers during the Palau invasion in September, and provided anti-aircraft and gunfire support during the operations at Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. In November, Trathen arrived at Ulithi and operated as a plane guard and screening ship with Task Group 38.2. She then participated in pre-invasion strikes of Luzon, and then endured high winds at sea, during which inclinations of 67 degrees were measured.
Trathen continued operating off Japan until July and was overhauled at Seattle, Washington, berthed with the Reserve Fleet at San Diego in January 1946, and re-commissioned in August 1951. She was deployed to Japan during the Korean War in February 1953. In August 1966, Trathen served as a station ship off Hong Kong and also supported naval operations off Vietnam. Trathen was decommissioned in May 1965 and struck from the Navy list in November 1972.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Trathen (DD-530)
Trathen used asbestos products in almost every compartment on board. The mineral was highly resistant to heat and fire, and was used to insulate and fireproof many vital ship’s systems. The power plant, turbines, boilers and engines all relied on asbestos insulation to protect the ship and her sailors from the intense heat they generated. Asbestos fibers were also easily mixed into paints, sealants, and even ropes to make those products more resistant to fire.
Most sailors that served aboard Trathen were exposed to asbestos during the course of their normal duty. Such exposure can lead to serious illness later in life, sometimes even decades after the exposure occurred. Mesothelioma cancer is only known to be caused by asbestos. There are legal solutions for Navy veterans suffering from asbestos-related diseases.
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-530.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd530txt.htm) Retrieved 18 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History, USS Trathen (DD-530).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/530.htm) Retrieved 18 January 2011.