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USS Case (DD-370)

The USS Case (DD-370) served in the U.S. Navy for approximately one decade during the first half of the 20th century. She was named for Augustus Ludlow Case, who served with the U.S. Navy during the Mexican and Civil Wars. Case was built as a Mahan-class ship.

Construction

Case was laid down in Boston, Massachusetts by the Boston Navy Yard in September of 1934. She was launched in September of 1935 and commissioned in September of 1936, with Commander J.S. Roberts at the helm. Case carried a crew of 158 and had a cruising speed of 36.5 knots. She was armed with five five-inch anti-aircraft guns, four half-inch machine guns, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.

Naval History

Case began her career in the Pacific, spending several years in Hawaii, Alaska, Samoa, Tahiti, and New Zealand. On December 7, 1941, Case was in a nest of destroyers at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. The nest fired at the Japanese, bringing down several planes.

After a stint escorting convoys, Case began a patrol of Alaskan waters in May of 1942, where she was involved in the bombardment of Kiska. Later, Case again escorted convoys in the South Pacific. By 1944, she was screening for various air strikes advancing across the Pacific. In June of 1944, Case screened carriers during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, which is considered to have been a major turning point of the war.

Mid-1944 brought a brief break for repairs at Eniwetok. Case was then involved in landings at Guam and the attacks on the Bonins. Later that year, she rendezvoused with submarines carrying a number of wounded allied POWs. While rough seas made it impossible to transfer the POWs to Case, she did provide medical officers to the submarines.

In late 1944, Case participated in bombardments or strikes at Marcus Island, Luzon, and Iwo Jima. She also sank a Japanese midget submarine near the Mugai Channel before joining the second bombardment of Iwo Jima in late December (which included an exciting naval chase).

Case rounded out her service in September of 1945, when she supervised the surrender of the Bonins Islands at Chichi Jima. Case was decommissioned in December of 1945 and was later broken up and sold for scrap.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Case (DD-370)

The destroyers of World War II were insulated and fireproofed with asbestos materials. Nearly every compartment aboard Case contained asbestos insulation of some sort. The concentration of asbestos products was highest in engineering spaces and areas with a high fire risk like galleys. Many pumps on board featured asbestos packing. Wear and tear could cause much of the asbestos on board to shed tiny fibers, spreading the contamination ship-wide. Inhaling that asbestos dust can lead to mesothelioma. Veterans of Case that were made ill by maritime asbestos exposure can seek compensation through legal action.

Sources

Sources

Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-370.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd370txt.htm

NavSource Naval History, USS Case (DD-370).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/370.htm

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