Resources for Patients and their Families

USS Converse (DD-291)

USS Converse (DD-291)

USS Converse (DD-291) was one of more than 150 Clemson-class destroyers constructed for the US Navy after World War I. She was the first of two naval vessels named in honor of George A. Converse, a rear admiral in the US Navy. Converse, who served in the Spanish-American War, was best known for the contributions he made to naval engineering.


Converse was launched by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Squantum, Massachusetts on November 28, 1919. She was sponsored by Miss E.C. Colt. Lieutenant Commander E.G. Hass took command of Converse on April 28, 1920.

As was the case with all Clemson-class destroyers, Converse was capable of reaching up to 35 knots of speed. Unlike the Wickes-class before it, Clemson-class destroyers featured wing tanks on either side of the ship. These tanks made it possible for Clemson-class vessels to carry more fuel than the previous classes of destroyers. With the tanks being above the waterline, however, the Clemson-class of destroyers wasmore vulnerable to attack than previous classes of ships. Clemson-class destroyers also featured a larger rudder than their predecessors, which decreased their turning radius. Another difference between Clemson-class destroyers and their predecessors was the addition of another set of 3-inch 23 caliber anti-aircraft guns.

Naval History

Following commissioning, Converse reported to the Atlantic Fleet. She was placed on reserve status on June 11, 1920, after which she operated in New England waters. During this time, Converse operated on 50 percent of her complement while conducting training cruises for Naval Reserve members.

After conducting testing on her Arma gyro compass, Converse began operating with the Scouting Fleet on November 15, 1921. She returned to full commission on July 1, 1922, after which time she cruised in Caribbean waters as well as on the east coast. On June 18, 1924, Converse sailed from Newport, Rhode Island to join US Naval Forces in European Waters. While serving in this capacity, Converse visited Antwerp, Cherbourg, Amsterdam and Southampton before she returned to New York on July 16, 1925.

In 1927 and 1927, Converse began serving as a training ship with the Naval Reserve. During this two-year period, she conducted two cruises per summer to the Caribbean and Newport.

In February 1927, Converse assisted with the testing of the Flettner rudder. The following year, she was designated as Experimental Ship, Scouting Fleet. In this capacity, Converse made test runs in Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River for the Bureau of Engineering. While conducting this testing, Converse fired experimental torpedoes at Charleston and Newport, South Carolina.

Following testing, Converse rejoined her squadron in Norfolk, Virginia. She them participated in regular operations until May 1, 1930, at which time she was decommissioned in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Converse was sold on January 17, 1931 before she was scrapped in accordance with the London Naval Treaty.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Converse (DD-291)

The installation of asbestos in the construction of marine vessels was ordered by the US Congress in the 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard a luxury liner killed 137 passengers and crew. Navy ships like Childs made use of asbestos-containing materials in great quantities in ship's boilers and engine spaces, and to insulate compartments throughout the vessel.

Tragically, the prognosis for mesothelioma cases is almost never favorable and many mesothelioma disease patients only survive for less than two years once they've been diagnosed. Those who have developed mesothelioma may desire information about the legal issues surrounding the disease and a well-established mesothelioma lawyer can be a helpful resource for that information. In addition, we've published a mesothelioma information packet with information about legal options and treatment choices, as well as a list of mesothelioma clinics in the United States. All you have to do is fill in the form on this page and we'll get you a package at no charge.



Converse. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center. Retrieved 31 December 2010.

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