The USS Alden (DD-211) served in the US Navy for more than two decades in the early 20th century. She was named for Rear Admiral James Alden who served as Commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard in Northern California. Alden was built as a Clemson-class destroyer.
Alden was laid down in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by the William Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Company in October 1918, launched in June 1919, and commissioned in November with Commander William Ancrum in command. Carrying a crew of 114, Alden was 314 feet, five inches long and was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Alden sailed for duty in European waters in December 1919, and served in Constantinople, Turkey, and various Adriatic ports to protect American interests. During this deployment, Alden carried mail and passengers, and participated in relief efforts during the Russian Civil War, before being deployed to the Asiatic Fleet in China in June 1921. She operated in the Philippines in 1921 and 1922 and then China and Japan, and was decommissioned at San Diego, California in January 1923.
Reactivated in May 1930, with Lieutenant Commander Lloyd R. Gray in command, Alden was assigned to training duty. Alden was chosen to replace Smith Thomson in April 1936, which was damaged in a collision. She sailed for Pearl Harbor in July, and then to China to aid Americans who were affected during the Sino-Japanese War. In December 1941, Alden was deployed with Destroyer Division 58 to Indonesia and assisted other destroyers in patrols and attacks against submarines and Japanese battleships.
Alden was overhauled at Mare Island Navy Yard in June 1942 and assigned to convoy duty between Hawaii and San Francisco starting in August. In April 1943, Alden operated as a convoy in the Caribbean between Trinidad and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and alternated between duty in the Caribbean and upkeep in the New York Navy Yard in June 1943, and at Charleston Navy Yard in August. In January 1944, Alden was assigned to anti-submarine patrols in North African waters, fought against German submarines and aircraft, and resume escort duty off the United States east coast and the Gulf of Mexico.
Alden was damaged in a collision with Hayter in January 1945, was repaired at the Norfolk Navy Yard, and continued convoy escort duty until June, when she was assigned to plane guard duty at Pensacola, Florida. She was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in July 1945, stricken from the Navy list in August, and sold for scrap to the Boston Metals Corporation in November.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Alden (DD-211)
The installation of asbestos-containing materials in the design of naval vessels was mandated by law in the US in the 1930s, after a fire at sea on a cruise ship resulted in enormous loss of life. Navy ships like Alden utilized asbestos in large quantities, especially in boilers and engine spaces, as well as to insulate steam pipes in the other sections of the vessel. If asbestos becomes worn it can become friable, meaning that the fibers can break off and enter the surrounding air, where they can be breathed in by crewmen or repair workers, increasing the chances of contracting mesothelioma. Asbestos has long been known for its fireproofing properties, but it has also been shown to be the primary factor in the development of such life-threatening conditions including asbestosis and peritoneal mesothelioma.
As of this writing, there is no cure for mesothelioma. There are, however, a number of supportive approaches which enhance the mesothelioma survival rate and make patients more comfortable, such as mesothelioma surgery. Victims who have been affected by peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma may have a need for information about the legal implications associated with the disease and a qualified mesothelioma lawyer can be a resource for that information. In addition, we've produced a mesothelioma information kit that provides legal resources and choices for medical treatment, along with a list of mesothelioma clinical trials nationwide. Simply complete the form on this page and we'll send your packet at no cost to you.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-211.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd211txt.htm Retrieved 27 December 2010.
NavSource Naval History, USS Alden (DD-211).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/211.htm Retrieved 27 December 2010.