The USS Fox (DD-234) served in the US Navy for over two-and-a-half decades in the early 20th century. She was named for Gustavas Vasa Fox, who served in the Mexican-American War and the Civil War, and as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Lincoln. Fox was constructed as a Clemson-class destroyer.
Fox was laid down in Camden, New Jersey by the New York Shipbuilding Company in June 1918, launched in June 1919, and commissioned in May 1920, with Commander A.D. Turnbull in command. Carrying a crew of 114, Fox had a displacement of 1,215 tons and was armed with four five-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Fox was deployed to the Mediterranean in August 1920, and arrived at Constantinople, Turkey in September, where she provided aid to relief and Red Cross workers and transported mail and passengers to various ports in the region. In July 1922, Fox was overhauled at Philadelphia and then deployed once again to Turkey. During this deployment, Fox conducted communication and intelligence duty with the United States Naval Detachment in Turkish Waters, and then returned to the United States again in July 1923.
Assigned to the 3rd Naval District in November, Fox was involved in Naval Reservist training until being decommissioned at Philadelphia in February 1931. Fox was commissioned in rotating reserve in April 1932, fully commissioned in June, and operated on the west coast from 1932 to 1938. During this deployment, she participated in fleet exercises along the coast, in Hawaii, and the Panama Canal Zone. Fox was decommissioned again at Philadelphia in September 1938, but was reactivated a year later for escort and patrol duty in the Atlantic and Caribbean.
Fox patrolled off the Washington and Oregon coasts in 1941, and escorted merchant ships along the west coast from December 1941 until March 1944. Beginning in April, Fox conducted anti-submarine exercises as part of the Western Sea Frontier Forces, Southern California Sector. Fox was converted into miscellaneous auxiliary ship AG-85 in October 1944 at Puget Sound Navy Yard and in September 1945, served as a target vessel in aerial torpedo exercises. She was decommissioned in November and sold for scrap in November 1946 at the Norfolk Navy Yard.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Fox (DD-234)
Using asbestos fireproofing in the design of naval vessels was ordered by Congress in the 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard the SS Morro Castle resulted in enormous loss of life. Fox, like most Navy ships of the time, used asbestos-containing materials in great quantities, particularly in boilers and engineering spaces, and for fireproofing in other parts of the ship. If asbestos becomes worn it becomes "friable", which means that individual fibers can break off and escape into the air, where they can be breathed in by crewmen or shipfitters, increasing the odds of developing mesothelioma.
Currently there is no mesothelioma cure. There are, however, supportive approaches, such as radiation for mesothelioma, that may enhance the mesothelioma survival rate and make patients more comfortable. Since mesothelioma is a rare condition, not many hospitals and physicians know how to treat the disease. Our mesothelioma information package contains complete information about top mesothelioma experts, legal resources and a list of mesothelioma cancer centers in the United States. Just submit the form on this page and we will send you a free packet.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-234.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd234txt.htm Retrieved 29 December 2010.
NavSource Naval History, USS Gilmer (DD-234).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/234.htm Retrieved 29 December 2010.