The USS Chew (DD-106) served the United States before and during World War II. She was named in honor of Samuel Chew, a Virginian who was killed in maritime service during the American War of Independence.
As part of a three-year program that authorized the construction of fifty “Wickes-class destroyers,” Chew waslaunched in May of 1918 by Union Iron Works in San Francisco, California. Her construction was accomplished quickly, and she received her commission on December 12, 1918, under the command of Commander J. H. Klein, Jr.
Chew’s first port of call was Newport, Rhode Island, where she arrived on January 10, 1919. Following repair work and light training in both New York and Guantanamo Bay, she embarked on her first mission. Starting on May 8, 1919, the Navy attempted and successfully completed the first transatlantic flight in history with its Navy-Curtiss NC-4 “flying boat,” or seaplane. Chew was one 21 destroyers supporting the flight; they were stationed at “50-mile intervals between Cape Race, Newfoundland, and Corvo, the westernmost island of the Azores.” The flying boat reached Portugal safely, Chew and her fellow destroyers having played their part by providing navigational aid and communication assistance.
After the flight, Chew visited the Azores and several places in the Mediterranean, including Gibraltar, Malta, and Constantinople. She returned home in June and was subsequently decommissioned. Her career was not over, though, as she was called back into duty in October of 1940 and assigned to Defense Force, 14th Naval District, arriving at Pearl Harbor in December. She conducted patrols and training exercises until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. During the attack, she fired at the Japanese planes, hitting two and helping to splash one. Immediately following these successes, she started patrolling and engaging in depth charge attacks; two of her crewmembers were killed while assisting in rescue operations on the USS Pennsylvania (BB38).
Chew remained in Pearl Harbor for the remainder of the war, engaging in patrol, escort, and submarine training duties. She made infrequent visits to San Francisco and Seattle, acting as convoy escort or screening vessel. For her service in the war, Chew received one battle star, and when the conflict was over, she left the Pacific for good. Chew departed Pearl Harbor in August of 1945 and arrived in Philadelphia a few weeks later. In October, she was decommissioned and sold there.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Chew (DD-106)
The use of asbestos insulation in the construction of naval vessels was required by law in the US in the 1930s, after a fire at sea on a luxury liner caused the deaths of more than 100 passengers and crew. Chew used asbestos frequently, especially in ship's boilers and engine spaces, and in fireproofing in other parts of the vessel. The damage caused by asbestos occurs when tiny particles are inhaled or ingested; they can infiltrate the lungs and sometimes the stomach, causing scarring in the case of pleural plaques and cellular damage in the case of lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Sadly, a mesothelioma prognosis is generally not positive as some mesothelioma patients only live for short time once a diagnosis is made. Helpful information about mesothelioma can be found in our mesothelioma information package. It contains information about legal options and treatment choices, along with a list of mesothelioma clinics nationwide. Just fill out the form on this page and we will send you the package, at no charge.Sources
Chew. Dictionary of American Fighting Ships.
http://www.history.navy.mil/DANFS/c7/chew.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.
“Navy Curtis NC-4 Flying Boat.” The Aviation History Online Museum.
http://www.aviation-history.com/navy/nc4.html. Retrieved 31 December 31, 2010.