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USS Frankford (DD-497)

The USS Frankford (DD-497) was a Gleaves class destroyer in the U.S. Navy during World War II. She was named in honor of John Frankford, who commanded the privateer Belvedere and fought in the Quasi-War.

Construction

Built in Seattle, WA, by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation, Frankford was launched in May 1942, and commissioned in March 1943, under command of Lieutenant Commander T. J. Thornhill.

Naval History

Initially dispatched for east coast escort duty, Frankford completed several voyages guarding convoys across the Atlantic, including Casablanca and Northern Ireland. In April 1944, after antisubmarine patrols and coastal escort service, Frankford departed New York and sailed for Plymouth, England, in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. Frankford escorted a variety of ships including troop transports to training facilities near Scotland and assembly points in England. On D-Day, 6 June 1944, Frankford reached Omaha Beach from Plymouth and provided gunfire support for landing troops pinned on the beachhead. Frankford also rescued survivors from ill-fated ships and downed planes.

After escorting duty, Frankford arrived at Naples anticipating the invasion of southern France, 15 August 1944. Throughout the invasion, Frankford watched over the invasion beaches. Several days after the initial assault, Frankford and another destroyer battled a unit of enemy torpedo boats and sank all four. After stops at Naples and several Mediterranean ports, she arrived at New York in October for an overhaul.

Following maneuvers along the coast, Frankford reached the Azores from Norfolk, in January 1945. There, she joined the screen for Quincy, on her way to Malta with President Franklin D. Roosevelt on board. During the President’s mission, Frankford performed duties on an air-sea rescue station in the Mediterranean. After the mission, Frankford returned to New York and patrolled for enemy submarines along the eastern seaboard and escorted aircraft carriers before returning, once again, to New York in May.

In August 1945, Frankford arrived at Pearl Harbor for exercises in the Hawaiian Islands. From there, Frankford sailed to the western Pacific for occupation duty at Japan. Frankford joined minesweepers off the coast of Japan and assisted with landings at >Honshū.

In March 1946, Frankford was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Charleston, SC. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in June 1971, Frankford was sunk as target off Puerto Rico in December 1973.

Frankford received two battle stars for her service in World War II.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Frankford (DD-497)

Major developments in factories and industry in the late 1800s resulted in the creation of heavy equipment such as boilers and steam engines which necessitated the utilization of asbestos-based insulation. Beginning in the 1930s, fireproof asbestos insulation was used in the engineering compartments of maritime vessels because of new laws regarding fire safety. Because asbestos can act as an excellent insulating material, it was used to insulate the parts on a naval vessel that generated heat like boilers and turbines.

Sailors performing repair work on Frankford were most likely exposed to asbestos-containing materials to some extent. Crewmen working with heavy machinery had a greater degree of exposure, as did sailors serving in damage control crews. Unlike most common cloth fibers, asbestos fiber becomes friable when damaged. Friable means that the tiny mineral fibers are released and can become airborne, where they can easily be breathed in or swallowed.

When inhaled or ingested, microscopic asbestos fibers can become lodged in the respiratory tract and can eventually cause peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma. If you served on the USS Frankford and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be able to receive financial compensation for your injury.

Sources

Sources

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
(http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/f4/frankford.htm) Retrieved 20 January 2011

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