The USS Bryant (DD-665) served in the U.S. Navy during the mid-1940s and remained on the Navy list until the late 1960s. She was named for Rear Admiral Samuel Woods Bryant who served in World War I and headed the War Plans Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Bryant was commissioned as a Fletcher-class destroyer.
Bryant was laid down by the Charleston Navy Yard in December 1942, launched in May 1943, and commissioned in December with Commander P. L. High in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Bryant was 376 feet five inches long and armed with four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1 inch anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Bryant reported for duty in the Pacific in late March 1944 and then served during the capture of both Saipan and Tinian from June through August. Bryant was then deployed for the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June, and served in the southern Palaus and Ulithi throughout September. Bryant was assigned to protect the minesweeping vessels and the amphibious assault on Dinagat and the Leyte Islands. This mission lasted from October until January 1944, and provided the first experience with a kamikaze attack for Bryant.
Bryant conducted a torpedo attack on the enemy, along with USS Robinson and USS Halford, at the Battle of Surigao Strait in October. She also operated during the troop landings at Linigayen Gulf in January 1945, and was on duty for both the Iwo Jima and Okinawa operations. In April, Bryant was operating as a radar picket station at Okinawa when a kamikaze plane with a bomb struck the bridge, causing severe damage and 28 casualties.
Bryant sailed back to the United States in June and was repaired by United Engineering Company, Ltd., at Alameda, California. She was placed in reserve commission in July 1946, and then designated as out of commission in reserve in January 1947. Awarded with seven battle stars and a Navy Unit Commendation during World War II, Bryant was struck from the Navy list in June 1968 and sunk as a training target off California in August 1969.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Bryant (DD-665)
Most personnel stationed or doing repairs on the USS Bryant most likely were exposed to asbestos-containing materials to some degree. Breathing or ingesting asbestos fibers eventually leads to the development of mesothelioma. Asbestos insulation damaged in combat posed particular risk because the material was released into the air upon impact making it easy for those in the vicinity to breathe it in.
Certain jobs aboard navy ships had a higher risk of exposure; crew members in the engine room, handling machinery, putting out fires, or conducting repairs were considerably more likely to be exposed to asbestos than administrative personnel. The engineering and power rooms of Bryant utilized asbestos widely to insulate conduits, to cover ship's boilers, and to cover parts of the ship's motors or steam turbines. Steam ducts covered in asbestos-based insulation were present in practically every compartment of the vessel. Those serving on the USS Bryant, as a result of their service on the ship, could be at risk for developing a life-threatening disease like mesothelioma.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-665.
NavSource Naval History. USS Bryant (DD-665).