The USS Aaron Ward (DD-132) served in the US Navy for more than two decades in the early 20th century, and then with the British Royal Navy. She was named for Rear Admiral Aaron Ward who served in the Spanish-American War. Aaron Ward was built as a Wickes-class destroyer.
Aaron Ward was laid down in Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works, Ltd., in August 1918, and launched and commissioned in April 1919, with Commander R.A. Spruance in command. Carrying a crew of 103, Aaron Ward was 314 feet, five inches long and was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, two anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes. She was driven by geared turbines and had a cruising speed of 35 knots.
Aaron Ward was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, Division 13, Squadron 2 upon commissioning. During this deployment, Aaron Ward served at Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland, where she operated as a station ship for three trans-Atlantic flights in May 1919. Aaron Ward conducted the salvaging of a sunken Army airplane in Angeles Bay, Mexico, in October, and participated in the search for seaplane NC-6 near the Panama Canal Zone from January to March 1921. In February 1921, she rescued the survivors of the wrecked Woolsey which sunk following a collision at sea.
Aaron Ward was decommissioned in San Diego, California from June 1922 to May 1930, and once again from April 1937 to September 1939. During this time, Aaron Ward was assigned to Rotating Destroyer Squadrons 21 and 20 from June 1932 to December 1934, and also served with Destroyer Divisions 5 and 4. Aaron Ward as re-commissioned in September 1939, and served as the flagship for Destroyer Division 85, Pacific Fleet, and was assigned to Neutrality Patrol in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean in December.
Aaron Ward was decommissioned by the US Navy in September 1940 at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, transferred to the British Royal Navy, and given the name HMS Castleton. During World War II, the former Aaron Ward operated as a convoy escort in North America, and rescued the survivors of the torpedoed Daydawn and Victoria in November. She was then damaged by an explosion and underwent repairs until April 1942.
The former Aaron Ward, along with HMS Newark, captured survivors of the German submarine U-464 in August 1942. In 1947, she was broken up for scrap.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Aaron Ward (DD-132)
Using asbestos in the design of all vessels was mandated by law in the US in the early 1930s, after a fire at sea aboard a luxury liner killed more than 100 people. Aaron Ward, like most Navy ships of the time, used asbestos-containing materials in great quantities, especially in boilers and engineering spaces, as well as to insulate pipes in all parts of the vessel. When asbestos is inhaled or ingested, the fibers become lodged in the mesothelial layer, a thin layer of cells that surrounds and buffers the body's lungs, stomach, and heart, and in time this infiltration can cause mesothelioma.
At present the mesothelioma survival rate is quite low - but approaches such as radiation for mesothelioma offer hope and may lengthen life expectancy. Because malignant mesothelioma is a rare disease, not many hospitals and clinicians can deliver high-quality mesothelioma treatment. If you or someone you know has developed this asbestos cancer, a mesothelioma lawyer can explain the legal options may be available to you. Information about mesothelioma is something that all victims seek out. To address that need, we've compiled a mesothelioma information kit with complete information about your legal and medical options, as well as a list of clinical trials currently underway in the United States. Just fill out the form on this page and we'll send you a packet at no charge.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-132 (http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd132txt.htm) Retrieved 22 December 2010
NavSource Naval History, USS Aaron Ward (DD-132).