The USS Forrest (DD-461) served in the U.S. Navy for a few years in the WWII era. She was named for Lieutenant Dulany Forrest who served in the War of 1812. Forrest was built as a Gleaves-class destroyer.
Forrest was laid down by the Boston Navy Yard in January 1941, launched in June, and commissioned in January 1942 with Lieutenant Commander M. Van Metre in command. Carrying a crew of 208, Forrest was 348 feet, four inches long and armed with four five-inch anti-aircraft guns, six one-half inch machine guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Forrest sailed to Newfoundland from Boston in June 1942 during an escort mission for Ranger, and returned with the force to Newport, Rhode Island in June. In July, Forrest left with the same group to West Africa and then conducted training operations, escort duty, and submarine searches out of Norfolk, Virginia beginning in August. In November, Forrest participated in screening duty for troop landings at Casablanca and then continued with escort duty in the Atlantic.
Forrest patrolled against German naval forces with the Ranger group as part of the British Home Fleet from July to October 1943, and then patrolled the northwest coast of Norway while a convoy passed through the area to Russia. Following overhaul at Boston in December, Forrest trained pre-commissioning crews for new destroyers in January and February 1944, and then was assigned to escort duty in the British Isles prior to the Normandy invasion. She screened troop transports and bombarded shore targets during the invasion.
Forrest operated off St. Tropez during the invasion of southern France in August, and then spent the next couple of months escorting convoys from Italy and Algeria to France. In November, Forrest returned to the United States to be converted into high-speed minesweeper DMS-24 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
In January 1945, Forrest was deployed for Pacific duty and conducted minesweeping operations prior to the Okinawa assault in April. During this deployment, Forrest also conducted patrol, minesweeper screening, and escort duties. Forrest assisted several ships that were struck by kamikaze planes and was struck herself in May 1945, and lost five crew members. She underwent repairs at Kerama Retto and returned to the east coast of the United States in August, was decommissioned in November, and then sold for scrap in November 1946.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Forrest (DD-461)
Asbestos was plentiful on Forrest, and most of her crew was exposed to the mineral. Insulation made with asbestos was installed in the majority of compartments on board. Her boilers, engines, power plant and pumps all contained asbestos. The asbestos risk on Forrest was increased when she endured a kamikaze impact. Such a collision almost certainly dislodged significant quantities of asbestos dust. Breathing air contaminated with asbestos fibers is known to cause mesothelioma. Sailors diagnosed with conditions caused by asbestos often have legal recourse.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-461.
NavSource Naval History, USS Forrest (DD-461).