The USS Chevalier (DD-805) remained on the Navy list for three decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Lieutenant Commander Godfrey DeCourcelles Chevalier who served in World War I. Chevalier was laid down as a Gearing-class destroyer.
Chevalier was laid down at Bath, Maine by the Bath Iron Works Corporation in June 1944, launched in October, and commissioned in January 1945 with Commander Frederick Wolsieffer in command. Carrying a crew of 336, Chevalier featured an armament of six 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes. She measured 390 feet, six inches in length, with a displacement of 3,460 tons.
Chevalier sailed from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in June 1945 and arrived at her base at Pearl Harbor in July. She served during the Wake Island bombardment in early August, and then was assigned to patrol and escort duties in support of the occupation from locations in the Mariana Islands and the Philippines. In April, Chevalier arrived at San Diego, California and returned to the western Pacific on two occasions before being reclassified as radar picket destroyer DDR-805 in March 1949.
Chevalier was based in the Hawaiian Islands in the fall and summer of 1949, and was deployed for duty during the Korean War from July 1950 to March 1951. She was also called to the battle zone from October 1951 to May 1952 as well as from January to August 1953. Much of the time, Chevalier operated in the protective screen for Task Force 77. Patrol duties in the Taiwan Straits also occupied Chevalier during the Korean War.
Chevalier was then deployed with the 7th Fleet on a regular schedule, which alternated with routine exercises on the west coast. In the 1950s, Chevalier visited Far Eastern and Australian ports, conducted fleet exercises off Japan and Okinawa, and also conducted additional patrols of the Taiwan Straits. She underwent an FRAM upgrade in August 1962 and was decommissioned in July 1972. Struck from the Navy list in June 1975, Chevalier was previously transferred to South Korea in July 1972, renamed Chung Buk, and then was sold for scrap in December 2000.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Chevalier (DD-805)
Ever since the 1800s, asbestos has been used in factory and industrial environments. The Navy, beginning in the 1930s, installed asbestos-containing material on board warships like the USS Chevalier as well. Navy ships contain large quantities of heavy duty equipment that generate high levels of heat, such as turbines and engines. Asbestos on the Chevalier was used to insulate conduits, to fireproof the ship's boilers, and to fireproof elements of the ship's motors and turbines.
Most crewmen stationed or carrying out repairs on Chevalier were most likely were exposed to asbestos in some way. Some jobs suffered from a greater chance of asbestos exposure, such as crew members working in the engine room, on heavy machinery, or as firefighters. Asbestos insulation that is damaged or disrupted (for example, during a refit) may become airborne and those in the vicinity are at risk of breathing it in and developing a cancer known as mesothelioma.
Sailors working regularly with frayed or damaged asbestos-containing material over many months or years have a much greater risk of developing this often life-threatening disease. Many veterans today have been or will be diagnosed with mesothelioma. There is help for veterans who have been injured while serving their country. Please request more information by filling out the form on this page.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-805.
NavSource Naval History. Chevalier (DD-805).