The USS Borie (DD-704) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy for nearly three decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Adolph Edward Borie who served as Secretary of the Navy under President U. S. Grant. Borie was laid down as an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer.
Borie was laid down at Kearny, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in February 1944, launched in July, and commissioned in September with Commander Noah Adair, Jr., in command. Carrying a crew of 336, Borie was 376 feet, six inches in length and armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns. She was driven by General Electric geared turbines supporting a cruising speed of 36.5 knots and had a range of 3,300 nautical miles at 20 knots.
Borie was deployed for duty with the Pacific Fleet and arrived at Pearl Harbor in January 1945. Later in the month, the destroyer participated in the bombardment of Iwo Jima, and then the invasion there in February. Borie took part in the raids on Tokyo before serving during the Okinawa raid in March, where she remained to support the occupation of the island until May. In July, Borie began serving with Task Force 38 while the assaults took place against the Japanese home islands. During this deployment, Borie was struck by a kamikaze plane which caused extensive damage and resulted in 48 casualties.
Borie underwent temporary repairs at Saipan and Pearl Harbor before sailing to Hunter’s Point, California for permanent repairs in dry dock. She remained there from September to November and joined the Atlantic Fleet in February 1946. Aside for a deployment to Korea from September 1950 to June 1951, Borie remained in the Atlantic. Subsequent deployments included five European and Mediterranean cruises up until the mid-1950s. From July to December 1956, Borie helped evacuate United Nations truce teams and American nationals from Israel and Egypt.
Awarded a total of seven battle stars for her wartime service, Borie was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list in July 1972. She was then transferred to Argentina, renamed Hipolito Bouchard, and broken up for scrap in 1984.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Borie (DD-704)
Asbestos-containing materials have been widely employed in factory and industrial workplaces ever since the 19th century and asbestos fireproofing was installed in the construction of naval craft like the USS Borie ever since the 1930s. The Navy used asbestos extensively as a heat and electrical insulator and to fireproof equipment on board its ships until the 1970’s when it became public knowledge that asbestos caused mesothelioma.
Most of the crew sailing or performing repair work on the Borie were likely exposed to asbestos. This is because the ship’s compartments were small and poorly ventilated and anyone cutting insulation, gaskets or other asbestos materials would release fibers into the air that could then be inhaled into the lungs. Drydock and shipyard workers were similarly at risk of being exposed to high levels of asbestos in their line of work.
Asbestos-containing material damaged in collision or battle (as when Borie was struck by a kamikaze plane) posed another danger to those serving on the ship for the same reason – airborne asbestos material being inhaled or ingested by those in the vicinity of the damage.
Because exposure to asbestos is the only known origin of mesothelioma and asbestos-related conditions, there are legal options available to servicemen who have contracted these diseases. We have compiled a helpful mesothelioma information kit that can be requested simply by filling in the form on this page.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-704.
NavSource Naval History. USS Borie (DD-704).