The USS Gregory (DD-802) served in the U.S. Navy for two decades in the mid-20th century, and served as a training ship for several more years. She was named for Rear Admiral Francis H. Gregory who served in the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. Gregory was laid down as a Fletcher-class destroyer.
Gregory was laid down at Seattle, Washington by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation in August 1943, launched in May 1944, and commissioned in July with Commander Bruce McCandless in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Gregory was 376 feet, five inches long and armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Gregory departed the west coast and arrived at Pearl Harbor in October 1944, where she operated locally for two months. The destroyer was deployed to Iwo Jima in January 1945, stopped at Saipan and Eniwetok, and arrived at the island on D-day, February 19, 1945. Gregory conducted screening operations and fire support for a month, and then prepared for service at Okinawa. Gregory performed diversionary operations on the southeast coast of Okinawa, and remained on duty as a patrol and radar picket vessel.
In April, Gregory engaged in combat with Japanese kamikaze planes, during which one struck, but the destroyer continued to fight. Gregory underwent temporary repairs at Kerama Retto and arrived at San Diego in May for overhaul, which continued as the Japanese surrendered. She was decommissioned in January 1947.
When hostilities escalated in Korea, Gregory was re-commissioned in April 1951 and then deployed to the Korean coast for patrol duties. Gregory also protected aircraft carriers, joined coastal blockades, and bombarded coastal targets. Additional assignments included service on the Formosa patrol and a search-and-rescue mission in January 1953 for a downed P2V.
Gregory returned to local operations out of San Diego following the Korean Armistice in 1953. These local duties were alternated with six-month deployments to the Far East for fleet maneuvers. Gregory was decommissioned in February 1964 following a collision with USS McDermott, and was struck from the Navy list in May 1966. From then until January 1971, Gregory was used as a training hulk, and then grounded during training exercises on San Clemente Island, California in March 1971.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Gregory (DD-802)
No matter where on the ship a sailor worked, serving on Gregory meant exposure to asbestos to some degree. Some positions suffered from a higher level of exposure, such as machinists, boiler tenders, crewmen serving in the engine room, and damage control crewmen. Abundant quantities of asbestos-containing material could also be found in repair facilities and crewmen and dock workers were exposed to it there. Asbestos, when it is breathed in or swallowed, can damage mesothelial tissues and cause mesothelioma cancer.
As she was later used for training, many sailors likely encountered asbestos aboard this ship. If you or a loved one served or trained aboard Gregory and later suffered from an asbestos-related disease, you may be entitled to compensation for that injury. A mesothelioma lawyer can review your case and explain your legal options.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-802.
( http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd802txt.htm) Retrieved 17 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. Gregory (DD-802)
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/802.htm) Retrieved 17 February 2011.