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USS Harry E. Hubbard (DD-748)

The USS Harry E. Hubbard (DD-748) served in the U.S. Navy for two and a half decades in the middle part of the 20th century. She was named for Commander Harry Ensor Hubbard who commanded the destroyer Meredith in World War II. Harry E. Hubbard was built as an Allen M. Sumner-class naval destroyer.

Construction

Harry E. Hubbard was laid down at Staten Island, New York by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in October 1943, launched in March 1944, and commissioned in July with Commander Leonard W. Bailey in command. Supporting a crew complement of 336, Harry E. Hubbard was 376 feet, six inches long and armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.

Naval History

Harry E. Hubbard was designated flagship of Destroyer Squadron 64 where she trained crews for service on new warships before sailing to Hawaii in January 1945. Operating as a training vessel at Pearl Harbor until April, Harry E. Hubbard was deployed to Okinawa in May for picket duty, and battled Japanese kamikaze planes there for two months. Harry E. Hubbard provided fire fighting and medical services following the attacks on Hugh W. Hadley and Barry.

Harry E. Hubbard escorted occupation troops to Jinsen, Korea beginning in July and served with the North China Occupation Force until March 1946. Decommissioned at San Diego in January 1947, Harry E. Hubbard was in reserve until being re-commissioned for service in October 1950. The destroyer trained in Hawaii for two months in 1951 and then was deployed to the war zone at Korea, and aided destroyer Walke following an underwater explosion in June. After a total of three deployments during the Korean War, Harry E. Hubbard returned to San Diego for overhaul in January 1954.

During her nine additional deployments to the Far East, Harry E. Hubbard helped evacuate Chinese Nationalists from the Tachen Islands in 1956, as also served during the Vietnam War on several tours in the 1960s. Harry E. Hubbard was shown on the ABC Television Network in March 1966 while conducting shore bombardments on the South Vietnamese coast. She was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list in October 1969 and then sold for scrap to Zidell Explorations in June 1970.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Harry E. Hubbard (DD-748)

New fire safety laws were put into effect in the decade of the 1930s; the laws required that fireproofing be installed on maritime vessels, and this caused an expansion of the use of asbestos materials aboard ships like the USS Harry E. Hubbard. The U.S. Navy used asbestos extensively as a heat and electrical insulator and to fireproof equipment on board all vessels. This exposed crewmen to the risk of developing mesothelioma years later. On board Harry E. Hubbard asbestos insulation was installed in almost all sections, both inside heavy equipment and wrapped around steam pipes.

Large quantities of asbestos-containing materials could be found in specific sections of the ship, such as the boiler room and engine room. In those parts of the vessel where fire hazards existed, such as the engineering sections, asbestos material was used to fireproof pipes and equipment. Since asbestos was used in so many places, nearly everyone on board had the potential to be exposed at some point during their service. When inhaled into the lungs, asbestos can become stuck in the respiratory tract and may, over time, cause malignant mesothelioma.

Sources

Sources

Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-748.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd748txt.htm) Retrieved 14 February 2011.

NavSource Naval History. USS Harry E. Hubbard (DD-748).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/748.htm) Retrieved 14 February 2011.

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