The USS Crane (DD-109) was used by the United States before and during the Second World War. She was named for William M. Crane (1776-1846), a Naval officer who enjoyed a distinguished career that included winning honors for gallantry during the bombardment of Tripoli in 1804.
Spearheaded by President Woodrow Wilson and authorized by Congress, the Naval Act of 1916 authorized the creation of a Navy that was “second to none,” and which gave the United States Navy the authority to build more than 150 vessels. This $500 million authorization allowed for the construction of many classes of vessel, including battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. Once completed, the Navy would have the ability to protect both coasts, a vital consideration.
One component of this unprecedented shipbuilding effort was a three-year program that authorized the construction of fifty Wickes-class destroyers. As part of this program, the Crane was launched at Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in San Diego, California, on July 4, 1918. Crane wasofficially commissioned in April of 1919 under the command of Commander W. F. Gresham.
Crane enjoyed an auspicious start to her career when, in June of 1919, she headed for Europe. While she visited ports in England and France, she was also had the privilege of joining the escort for President Woodrow Wilson’s conveyance to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.
Crane headed home in July of 1919, and she was subsequently assigned to the Pacific fleet. Her participation in the Naval Review of 1919 and hosting Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels were among the highlights of her Pacific career. Other duties included participating in operations off the coasts of Washington and California until she was decommissioned on June 7, 1922, in San Diego.
However, Crane’s career was not yet over. She was recommissioned in December of 1939, whereupon she joined the Neutrality Patrol in the Pacific. With war just around the corner, Crane engaged in patrols and also provided training grounds for Naval Reservists and members of the Navy Armed Guard.
Crane continued to serve on the west coast throughout the war. Her duties included anti-submarine patrol, escort duty, training exercises, and screening duty for amphibious exercises. In spring of 1944, Crane was transferred to the West Coast Sound Training School at San Diego and departed a year later. After arriving in Philadelphia in October of 1945, Crane was decommissioned for the last time on November 14, 1945. She was sold for scrap in November of 1946.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Crane (DD-109)
The installation of asbestos fireproofing in the construction of all vessels was mandated by law in the US in the 1930s, after a fire at sea aboard a luxury liner resulted in enormous loss of life. Navy ships like Crane deployed asbestos insulation in great quantities, particularly in ship's boilers and engineering spaces, and to insulate steam pipes throughout the ship.
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Crane. Dictionary of American Fighting Ships.
http://www.history.navy.mil/DANFS/c15/crane.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.