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USS Damato (DD-871)

The USS Damato (DD-871) was a Gearing-class destroyer in the U.S. Navy. She was named in honor of Corporal Anthony P. Damato who was killed in action during the battle of Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Construction

Damato was laid down at Staten Island, NY, by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in May 1945. She was launched in November 1945, and commissioned in April 1946.

Naval History

Damato trained in the Atlantic out of her home port at Newport, Rhode Island. Her exercises took her from Newfoundland to Cuba. In 1949, Damato sailed to France and England carrying midshipmen on a training cruise. In the fall, Damato steamed into Arctic waters as she took part in experimental cold-weather operations.

In the fall of 1950, Damato saw her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. The following year, Damato was deployed to the South Atlantic where she participated in hunter/killer operations before returning to the Mediterranean in 1951. She spent the summers of the following three years operating in the Mediterranean. During 1952 and 1953, Damato joined NATO forces for exercises in the North Atlantic. In 1955, she sailed to Norway and Sweden on another Midshipmen Training Cruise. In 1956, Damato continued with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. On 12 June 1957, Damato arrived at Hampton Roads for the International Naval Review. Damato cruised to Brazil carrying midshipmen on a training exercise before sailing to the Mediterranean in 1958. Damato joined the Middle East Force in the Persian Gulf before returning to Norfolk, VA, for maneuvers in that area.

During 1959, she joined Task Force Alfa and contributed towards the development of enhanced antisubmarine warfare practice. After she called on Quebec, Canada, Damato sailed north and passed through the recently dedicated St. Lawrence Seaway. She visited Montreal, Rochester, NY, and Toronto for the Canadian National Exposition. Damato joined in the review of NATO naval forces taken by a British Admiral, the Earl Mountbattan of Burma. Damato visited Ogdensburg, NY, before returning home and resuming operations along the east coast and the Caribbean where she remained through 1962.

Damato was decommissioned in September 1980, then was sold to Pakistan as Tippu Sultan. She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in October 1980 and scrapped in 1994.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Damato (DD-871)

Virtually every member of the crew on the USS Damato may have been exposed to harmful asbestos while serving on the ship. Sailors working with ship's machinery were more likely to be heavily exposed, as were sailors working in the boiler room or pump room because the machinery in these rooms required the heat and fire protection properties that asbestos offered.

Shipyard workers were also at risk of being exposed to asbestos in their occupation. When working on ships that had been constructed with asbestos products, asbestos dust could be released into the air. Once in the air it was easily inhaled. It could also stick to the clothing and hair of these workers putting their family members at risk for secondhand asbestos exposure which, along with direct asbestos exposure, has been determined to be the primary cause of mesothelioma, a type of asbestos cancer.

An exposed person's probability of developing mesothelioma goes up radically if he or she worked regularly with frayed or damaged asbestos insulation over a long period of time. Working with fire- or water-damaged asbestos insulation or damaged components exposed Damato's crew and civilian repair workers to riskier quantities of asbestos than those encountered routinely. A mesothelioma lawyer can help Navy veterans who have been diagnosed with the disease understand their options for receiving compensation for their injury.

Sources

Sources

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
(http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/d1/damato.htm) Retrieved 24 February 2011

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