The USS Fechteler (DD-870) was a Gearing-class destroyer in the U.S. Navy named in honor of Rear Admiral Augustus Francis Fechteler (1857-1921).
Built at Staten Island, NY, by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Fechteler was launched in September 1945, and commissioned in March 1946.
Initially, Fechteler operated out of her homeport at Norfolk, Virginia, escorting carriers in the Virginia Capes. After a cruise to Newfoundland, she sailed to her first tour in the Far East, via San Diego, California. Fechteler visited ports in China, Okinawa, Hong Kong, Yokosuka, and Guam before returning to San Diego where she resumed training exercises in January 1948.
During the Korean War, Fechteler embarked on her second tour to the Far East. She joined the 7th Fleet and supported United Nations Forces. Fechteler was refitted to a radar picket destroyer and divided her duties between exercises off the west coast and Hawaii with assignments in the western Pacific. On her second deployment to the conflict, February 1952 to September 1952, Fechteler continued escort duties for Task Force 77, patrolled the waters, and provided gunfire and bombardment support for the troops ashore.
In April 1953, Fechteler was decommissioned, placed in reserve and underwent conversion to a radar picket destroyer. Recommissioned in December, Fechteler operated in Hawaiian waters with deployments to the western Pacific with the Seventh Fleet, carried out search and rescue missions and provided gunfire support during the Vietnam War. She sailed to the Far East where she remained until September 1954, when she returned to the east coast and joined the Atlantic Fleet at Newport, RI. She performed her duties along the eastern seaboard and in the Caribbean. It was during this period Fechteler joined a midshipman cruise which took her to ports at Malaga, Spain; Plymouth, England; and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Deployed for another assignment in the Far East, Fechteler sailed from Newport to Long Beach, CA, before continuing to Taiwan for service with the 7th Fleet. She served as a radar warning ship for the carrier forces providing air support and fulfilled her duty patrolling Taiwan waters. Fechteler operated in the Far East from 1956 through 1960.
Fechteler was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 11 September 1970 and sold for scrap in June 1972. Fechteler earned five battle stars for Korean War service.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Fechteler (DD-870)
Most personnel sailing or doing repairs on the USS Fechteler were likely exposed to asbestos to a certain degree. Although nearly everybody on Fechteler would have been exposed to asbestos to some degree or other, engineers and mechanics had the highest potential to be exposed while on the job. On warships, asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were found in practically every compartment. Many sailors have recalled continually seeing asbestos dust falling from pipe insulation in these compartments.
It has been determined that there is a direct causal relationship between inhaling asbestos dust and the development of mesothelioma, a life-threatening asbestos cancer. Personnel working regularly with damaged asbestos-containing material over an extended period of time are at much greater risk of developing this disease. There are legal remedies, however, that can be pursued by veterans who served in the navy and who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Request more information by submitting the form on this page.Sources
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
(http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/f2/fechteler-ii.htm) Retrieved 24 February 2011