The USS Champlin (DD-104) served the United States in the interim period between World War I and World War II. Champlin was named for Commodore Stephen Champlin, a 19th century officer in the US Navy.
Shepherded by President Woodrow Wilson and authorized by Congress, the Naval Act of 1916 authorized the creation of a Navy that was “second to none,” with instructions to build 156 vessels under a $500 appropriation, including battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. Once completed, the Navy would have the ability to protect both coasts, a vital consideration given the world war and the uncertain future.
One component of this unprecedented shipbuilding effort was a three-year program that authorized the construction of fifty Wickes-class destroyers. Champlin was launched at Union Iron Works in San Francisco, California, on April 7, 1918. Champlin received her official commission in November of 1918 under the command of Lieutenant Commander F.M. Knox.
After her construction on the west coast, Champlin began life in earnest on December 12, 1918, reporting for duty with the Atlantic fleet of the US Navy. After arriving in Newport, Rhode Island, in December of 1918, Champlin made her way to the Caribbean, where she conducted training operations.
Champlin served in the Atlantic fleet until November of 1919, when she headed west and on December 24, 1919, entered into reserve status with the Pacific fleet. After arriving at San Diego, she engaged in training assignments until June of 1922, when she was decommissioned. The decommissioned vessel was used in a variety of experiments at San Diego in May of 1933. On August 12, 1936, Champlin was sunk as part of testing exercises.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Champlin (DD-104)
Using asbestos fireproofing in the design of all vessels was ordered by law in the US in the early 1930s, after a fire at sea on a luxury liner resulted in great loss of life. Champlin, like most Navy ships of the time, deployed asbestos insulation in large quantities, particularly in engines and engine rooms, and to insulate steam pipes all through the ship. If an asbestos-based product becomes worn it can become "friable", meaning that fibers can break off and escape into the surrounding air, allowing them to be inhaled or ingested by crewmen or dockworkers, increasing the chances of contracting mesothelioma.
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Champlin. Dictionary of American Fighting Ships.
http://www.history.navy.mil/DANFS/c5/champlin-i.htm Retrieved 31 December 2010.
Ship Building 1913-21 - Wilson, Woodrow. GlobalSecurity.org.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/scn-1913-wilson.htm Retrieved 31 December 31, 2010.