The USS Benner (DD-807) served in the US Navy for two-and-a-half decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Lieutenant Stanley Graves Benner who served in World War II. Benner was commissioned as a member of the Gearing class of naval destroyers.
Benner was laid down at Bath, Maine by the Bath Iron Works Corporation in June 1944, launched in November, and commissioned in January 1945 with Commander John Munholland in command. Supporting a crew complement of 336, Benner was 390 feet six inches in length, with a displacement of 3,460 tons, and armed with six 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40 mm anti-aircraft guns, eleven 20 mm anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes. She was driven by General Electric geared turbines supporting a cruising speed of 36.8 knots, as well as a range of 4,500 nautical miles at a speed of 20 knots.
Benner reported to the Pacific Fleet after being commissioned and joined the 3rd Fleet off Japan in July 1945. During this deployment, Benner served as a protective screen for aircraft carriers as they launched assaults on the Japanese home islands at the end of World War II. Benner remained in the region for occupation duty and returned to the United States in January 1946.
Benner spent the late 1940s operating off the west coast of the United States and in the Far East, where she served from January to September 1947 and from October to December 1948. In March 1949, Benner was re-classified as DDR-807 and then was reassigned to the Atlantic Fleet in May. Benner was based at Newport, Rhode Island and conducted four Mediterranean voyages during her peacetime operations.
Benner once again returned to the Pacific in June 1956 and was based at Long Beach, California. The destroyer underwent an FRAM upgrade in February 1963 and remained in service until she was decommissioned in November 1970. Struck from the Navy list in February 1974, Benner was sold for scrap to General Metals, based in Tacoma, Washington, in March 1975.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Benner (DD-807)
Most veterans stationed aboard or doing repairs on the USS Benner were at risk for suffering from asbestos exposure. Certain occupations on board the ship had a higher degree of risk including those working in the engine room, handling machinery, dealing with fire suppression, or repairing damage. Shipyard workers, whether constructing a new ship or modifying or repairing an existing craft, were also at risk of being extensively exposed to asbestos in large amounts.
Asbestos exposure, especially in large quantities over an extended period of time, can result in the development of a serious cancer called mesothelioma. Those serving in the U.S. Navy or on the USS Benner may be at risk for developing an asbestos disease. If you would like to learn more about mesothelioma and asbestos exposure, please fill out the form on this page to request more information.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-807.
NavSource Naval History. Higbee (DD-807).