The USS Brush (DD-745) served in the U.S. Navy for two and a half decades in the mid-20th century before being transferred to Taiwan. She was named for Charles Francis Brush, inventor of the electric arc light and founder of the Brush Electric Company. Brush was a member of the Allen M. Sumner class of destroyers.
Brush was laid down at Staten Island, New York by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in July 1943, launched in December, and commissioned in April 1944 with Commander J. E. Edwards in command. Supporting a crew complement of 336, Brush was armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.
Brush reported for duty at Pearl Harbor in August 1944. The destroyer was then deployed to the Marshall Islands, from where she served as an escort for convoys to Ulithi and the Palau Islands. Brush participated in the Leyte operation in November and December, the invasion of Iwo Jima in February and March, as well as the assault on Okinawa in March and April. She also participated in raids on Kyushu and Hokkaido Islands in Japan, and remained off Tokyo Bay from July until late-September, where she conducted anti-shipping sweeps and then air-sea rescue services.
Brush sailed to Seattle, Washington, arriving there in October 1945, and was deployed to Guam in early-1946, from where she traveled to Tsingtao, China and the Philippines. In March 1947, Brush returned to San Diego, and remained on the west coast until May 1950. Brush was then deployed to the Far East and participated in operations during the Korean War. In September 1950, Brush was damaged by a mine explosion, which killed 13 crew members, and was repaired at Japan and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
Brush remained in port for a year, and then served two more tours of Korea. She returned to the United States after her last tour in August 1953, and then resumed operations along the west coast, but also periodically departed on missions to the Far East. In October 1969, Brush was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list, and then was transferred to Taiwan as Hsiang Yang, struck in 1984, and then broken up for scrap by the Naval Weapons School.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Brush (DD-745)
Asbestos has been used extensively in factory and industrial settings since the late 1800s. Asbestos fireproofing and insulation has been used in the design of military and civilian vessels like the USS Brush since the 1930s. Asbestos was deployed nearly everywhere on board ships and in naval facilities by the U.S. Navy until in the late 1970s when the substance was banned for use in the United States.
Many of the crew members along with repair and shipyard workers serving or performing repair work on the Brush, were at risk of being exposed to asbestos.
Additionally, Asbestos insulation damaged in combat or by incidents such as mine explosions was particularly dangerous because it caused asbestos fibers to become airborne.
Mesothelioma is an asbestos cancer caused by the inhalation and ingestion of asbestos fibers and those who put time in on the USS Brush could be at risk of developing this disease.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-745.
NavSource Naval History. USS Brush (DD-745).