The USS Caldwell (DD-605) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in the early to mid 1940s, and remained on the Navy list until 1965. Caldwell was named for midshipman James R. Caldwell and was laid down as a Benson-class destroyer.
Caldwell was laid down at San Francisco, California by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in March 1941, launched in January 1942, and commissioned in June with Lieutenant Commander J.F. Newman, Jr., in command. Supporting a crew complement of 208, Caldwell was 348 feet, four inches long and armed with six one-half inch machine guns, four five-inch anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Caldwell sailed from San Francisco on a convoy mission to the Aleutian Islands in September 1942, where she remained for nine months. During this deployment, Caldwell used her firepower to support the assault on Attu in May 1943, and then returned to escort duty, including the transport of reinforcements to Kiska in August. Caldwell sailed south in September and served off Tarawa during air strikes that crippled enemy aerial defenses there. She also participated in the bombardment of Wake Island and screened aircraft carriers during that operation.
Caldwell conducted anti-submarine and air defense patrols at the Gilbert Islands in November, and after a convoy mission to San Francisco, returned for the invasion of Kwajalein and Majuro in January 1944. The destroyer collided with USS White Plains, and although she remained with the task force for a week after the incident, Caldwell returned to Pearl Harbor for repairs until the raids on Palau, Yap, and Ulithi in March and April and then the invasion of New Guinea.
Caldwell was assigned to patrol the Marshall Islands from May until mid-August, and then protected convoys bringing supplies to forces in the Philippines. She was struck by a kamikaze plane and bomb fragments simultaneously while on duty at Ormoc Bay, resulting in 33 casualties. Caldwell continued to battle the enemy despite the damage, and returned for the invasion of Tarakan, Borneo following repairs at San Francisco. During minesweeping operations off Brunei Bay in June, Caldwell was damaged by a mine explosion, and was under repair in the Philippines when the war ended. Caldwell was decommissioned in the United States in April 1946 and sold for scrap in November 1966.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Caldwell (DD-605)
Factories and builders began using asbestos products late in the 19th century because it was convenient for construction and manufacturing applications. Asbestos insulation has been employed in the design of ships like Caldwell ever since the 1930s. The U.S. Navy installed asbestos containing products widely up until the late 1970s as an insulator and to fireproof equipment on board all its vessels.
Most of the crew assigned to or working on Caldwell (including repair and shipyard workers) were potentially exposed to asbestos and at risk of developing an asbestos related disease. Exposure to asbestos is currently the only origin of malignant mesothelioma.
There are many legal options for those who have contracted asbestos-related medical problems. Our experts have written a helpful mesothelioma information kit to aid you in managing these options. Please take a moment and complete the request form above and we'll mail you your packet, free of charge.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-605.
NavSource Naval History. USS Caldwell (DD-605).