The USS Breese (DD-122) served in the US Navy for nearly three decades in the early 20th century, and received 10 battle stars for her service in World War II. She was named for Captain Kidder Randolph Breese who served during the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. Breese was built as a Wickes-class vessel.
Breese was laid down in Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in November 1917, launched in May 1918, and commissioned in October with Lieutenant J.G. B Smith in command. Carrying a crew of 101, Breese was 314 feet, five inches long and was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, two three-inch anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Breese was assigned to Commander, Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet in 1918 and served as a convoy escort at the end of World War I. In the spring of 1919, Breese was reassigned to Division 12, Destroyer Force Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, and then operated in Cuban waters. She was then deployed to the Pacific Fleet in July to serve with Squadron 4 and operated with the Rotating Reserve, and participated in fleet exercises with the Battle Force from October 1920 to June 1922, when she was placed out of commission.
Breese was re-designated DM-18 in January 1931, and operated as a light minelayer, and was re-commissioned in June. She was assigned to Division 1, Minecraft, Battle Force, US Fleet in Hawaiian waters and operated out of Pearl Harbor. From November 1837 to September 1939, Breese remained out of commission in reserve. Breese joined Mine Division 5 Battle Force and conducted patrols off the Oregon and Washington coasts beginning in November 1939.
In December 1940, Breese operated with Mine Division 2, Minecraft, Battle Force, Pacific Fleet, and participated in training exercises near Maui, Hawaii. Breese was anchored at Pearl Harbor during the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack. She was not damaged, and helped sink one submarine and succeeded in damaging several enemy planes.
Breese was assigned to the central Pacific from the Pearl Harbor attack on, until October 1944, and then operated as a mine layer and patrol ship in the Marianas Islands and the Philippines. She conducted minesweeping operations during the consolidation of the Solomon Islands, the New Georgia-Rendova Vangunu operation, the Iwo Jima operation, and Okinawa seizure. In December 1945, Breese arrived in New York, was decommissioned in January 1946, and sold for scrap in May.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Breese (DD-122)
The installation of asbestos insulation in the construction of oceangoing vessels was ordered by Congress in the early 1930s, after a fire at sea aboard a luxury liner killed 137 people. Vessels like Breese made use of asbestos in large quantities around boilers and engine compartments, as well as in fireproofing all through the ship. When asbestos-containing material becomes worn it becomes friable, which means that individual fibers can break off and escape into the surrounding air, where they can be inhaled or ingested by ship's crew and dockworkers, increasing the chances of contracting mesothelioma. The damage done by asbestos occurs when very small particles are inhaled or ingested; the fibers invade the lungs and sometimes the stomach, causing scar tissue in the case of asbestosis and damage at the cellular level in the case of lung cancer and mesothelioma.
The survival rate of mesothelioma victims is very low - but approaches including mesothelioma surgery can offer some hope and can increase life expectancy. Since mesothelioma is not a common disease, not all hospitals and health-care providers specialize in the treatment of mesothelioma. Victims who have contracted peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma may be in need of information about what legal recourse they may have and a qualified mesothelioma attorney can be a source for that information. General information about mesothelioma is also useful, so we've produced a mesothelioma information package with complete information on your legal options and treatment choices, as well as a list of clinical trials nationwide. Just fill out the form on this page and we will mail you your free package.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-122 (http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd122txt.htm) Retrieved 21 December 2010
NavSource Naval History, USS Breese (DD-122).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/122.htm) Retrieved 21 December 2010