The USS Arnold J. Isbell (DD-869) was a Gearing-class destroyer that joined the U.S. Navy just after World War II. She was named in honor of Arnold J. Isbell (1899-1945).
Built at Staten Island, NY, by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in 1945, Arnold J. Isbell was launched in August 1945 and commissioned in January 1946, under the command of Commander Carlton B. Jones.
After a shakedown cruise to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Arnold J. Isbell joined the Atlantic Fleet until the end of the year when she was deployed to San Diego, California. She visited various ports throughout China, Japan and Guam before serving as a training ship for hunter/killer exercises in 1948.
Shortly after the Korean War began, Arnold J. Isbell sailed to Korean waters with Destroyer Division 52 where she escorted Task Force 77 and troop transports to Japan. She bombarded enemy positions at Songjin, Chongjin, and Wonsan before returning to San Diego. After hunter/killer operations with Task Force 95 and more bombardment at Songjin, she returned to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for an overhaul. In 1954, Arnold J. Isbell escorted released Nationalist Chinese prisoners of war to Taiwan.
After the war, and an overhaul at Mare Island, CA, Arnold J. Isbell participated in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands, conducted rescue operations for a downed plane, and sailed to numerous ports in the South Pacific including New Zealand, the Admiralty Islands, Guam, and the Philippines before returning to San Diego in March 1957. Later, she operated with the Navy’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the Nautilus.
In June 1961, she underwent a fleet rehabilitation and modernization (FRAM) overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. One year later, she reported to her new home port at Long Beach. Arnold J. Isbell operated in the Pacific in various exercises until her next overhaul at Long Beach Naval Shipyard during August 1964. During the Vietnam War, Arnold J. Isbell bombarded enemy positions and participated in search and rescue missions. She earned six battle stars for Korean service and two for Vietnam duties.
Arnold J. Isbell was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 1974 and transferred to the Greek Navy as “Sachtouris”. She was scrapped in Turkey in 2002.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Arnold J. Isbell (DD-869)
Many of those sailing or working on Arnold J. Isbell were likely exposed to asbestos fibers to some extent. Some sailors risked a greater chance of asbestos exposure. Crewmen serving in the engineering sections, working on heavy machinery, putting out fires, or repairing damage were considerably more likely to be exposed to asbestos-containing materials. Breathing or ingesting of individual asbestos fibers can lead to the development of mesothelioma.
Repair yard servicemen were also exposed extensively to asbestos fibers at dangerous levels. Family members of dockyard and shipbuilding workers ran the risk of being exposed to asbestos contamination, through contamination of the fatigues and dungarees worn at the job site by repair and maintenance personnel, and then brought back to their homes.
The development of peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma is associated strongly with the overall quantity of exposure to asbestos fibers as well as the duration of exposure. Handling of friable asbestos fibers or damaged ship components exposed Arnold J. Isbell's crewmen and civilian workers to potentially high levels of asbestos. Since exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma and asbestosis, there are legal options available for patients who have developed these diseases.Sources
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.