The USS Blandy (DD-943) served in the U.S. Navy for two and a half decades in the mid-to-late-20th century. She was named for Admiral William Henry Purnell Blandy who served in the First and Second World Wars and as Commander-in-Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet during World War II. Blandy was a Forrest Sherman-class vessel.
Blandy was laid down at Quincy, Massachusetts by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in December 1955, launched in December 1956, and commissioned in November 1957 with Commander William F. Cafferata in command. Featuring a crew capacity of 324, Blandy was 418 feet, six inches long and armed with four three-inch rapid fire guns, two anti-submarine mortars, four 21-inch torpedo tubes, and six 12.75-inch anti-submarine torpedo tubes.
Blandy underwent training exercises off Cuba, Northern Europe, and the Mediterranean Sea. In June 1958, Blandy sailed for the Boston Naval Shipyard and then reported to her home port of Newport, Rhode Island.
Blandy conducted a midshipman training cruise in the summer of 1959. She was deployed to the Mediterranean in 1960 and returned to Boston before operating with the Fleet Sonar School at Key West, Florida. In January 1961, Blandy responded to a distress call from Texas Oil Patform #4 but found no survivors. The destroyer operated with the Mercury Capsule Recovery Group, and in the Cuban Quarantine, in 1962.
Blandy served in the Mediterranean in 1963 and 1964 and during this time also operated in the Red Sea. This deployment was followed by anti-submarine exercises in the Caribbean. Blandy underwent modifications and repairs at Norfolk in 1966, and resumed Mediterranean duty in 1967. The destroyer was then deployed to Vietnam in 1968.
Blandy was out of service from January 1969 to May 1970 and, from then until she was decommissioned in 1982, operated with the 6th Fleet and NATO forces in the Mediterranean, off Cuba, and off Vietnam in 1972 and 1973. She also served in the Middle East and the Caribbean and, after being decommissioned, was struck from the Navy list in 1990. Blandy was sold for scrap to N.R. Acquisition in 1994.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Blandy (DD-943)
On the USS Blandy asbestos was installed in almost every area of the ship, both in equipment, on steam pipes and in various compartments. Asbestos was deployed with greater frequency in certain sections of Blandy, however. The engine and power areas used asbestos widely as insulation for pipes, to protect steam boilers, and to fireproof elements of the ship's engines and steam turbines. The non-engineering areas of Blandy also contained asbestos, in particular the mess halls and kitchens, sleeping areas, fuel storage areas, ammunition lockers, and any area which contained heavy equipment.
Asbestos that becomes old with age or disrupted often becomes friable. "Friable" means that individual mineral fibers in the material can become dislodged and released into the air. Those working in the vicinity are at risk of breathing it in or ingesting it. Crewmen working daily with frayed or damaged asbestos-based insulation over many months or years are at much greater risk of developing asbestos diseases, like mesothelioma, than crewmen who received mild levels of inhalation over a similar amount of time.
Since being exposed to asbestos is currently the primary known source of mesothelioma and asbestosis, there are legal options that may be available for naval personnel and civilian workers who have contracted these diseases. Our team has created an extensive mesothelioma information packet to help you understand your rights and your options. Please take a minute to fill in the form on this page and we will mail you a kit, at no cost to you.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-943.
NavSource Naval History. USS Blandy (DD-943).
USS Blandy DD 943 Association Home Page. A History of USS Blandy (DD-943)