The USS English (DD-696) served in the U.S. Navy for two and a half decades during the middle of the 20th century. She was named for Robert Henry English, a U.S. Navy officer killed in action early in World War II. English was built as an Allen M. Sumner-class ship.
English was laid down in Kearny, New Jersey by Federal Shipbuilding in October 1943. She was launched in February 1944 and commissioned in May 1944, with Commander J.T. Smith at the helm. English carried a crew of 336 and had a cruising speed of 36.5 knots. She was armed with six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
English began her service in the Pacific, sailing for Ulithi in December 1944. In the following weeks, she participated in actions at Formosa, Luzon, and Okinawa as part of the broader action at Lingayen Gulf. In early 1945, she supported the Iwo Jima operation. Shortly thereafter, she supported the Okinawa operation, in particular assisting the damaged American ship Bunker Hill.
Beginning in the summer of 1945, English joined the Allied forces attacking the Japanese mainland. She spent time in Tokyo Bay following the Japanese surrender, then returned to Boston in April 1946. Back in the US, she joined peacetime operations in the Mediterranean and Caribbean regions.
In 1950, English returned to the Pacific to support operations in Korea as part of the burgeoning conflict. There, she supported the withdrawal from Hungnam, shelled Choderi and Chonjin, and fired on Kanson, Kosong, and Kangnung. English returned to the US in May 1951. She then joined various exercises and patrols off Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Portugal. In October 1954, she was involved in an at-sea collision with another American ship, but there were no casualties.
Between 1955 and 1960, English completed various good-will cruises, evacuated American citizens during the Suez crisis, and participated in the development of new anti-submarine exercises.
After receiving four battle stars for service in World War II and another four for service in the Korean War, English was decommissioned in 1970. She was later transferred to Taiwan, and was eventually sunk by the Taiwanese Navy as a target in 2003.
Asbestos Risk on the USS English (DD-696)
Industrial sites began utilizing asbestos products late in the 19th century because it was extraordinarily effective for industrial applications involving high heat and fire. Beginning in the 1930s, asbestos material was also used in the engineering compartments and other areas of navy ships for similar reasons. Pumps and engines create intense heat, and in the past these pieces of equipment used asbestos insulation for protection from heat and fire. Asbestos was used as an insulating material for boiler plants, ship's generators as well.
Most personnel stationed or working on the USS English were potentially exposed to asbestos-containing materials to some extent. Crewmen assigned to equipment repair and maintenance duties in engine, pump or boiler rooms were likely to sustain a higher level of exposure than those who didn’t work in those areas. Because asbestos fiber is actually a mineral, if something damages it the tiny fibers can shed off and become friable. Asbestos material in the friable state is far more hazardous than undisturbed asbestos, because the fibers can enter the air where they can be taken into the body, damage the mesothelium and eventually cause mesothelioma.
Sailors who regularly worked with damaged asbestos fibers over a lengthy period of time have a greater risk of developing this asbestos cancer. If you served on board the USS English and have developed mesothelioma, there may be legal options for you to pursue. A mesothelioma lawyer can help you understand them. Simply fill out the form on this page and we will get information out to you right away.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-696.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd696txt.htm) Retrieved 5 February 2011.
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/696.htm) Retrieved 5 February 2011.