The USS Hobby (DD-610) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy during the Second World War and remained on the Navy list until the early 1970s. She was named for James H. Hobby, an engineer who served in the Civil War. Hobby was commissioned as a Benson-class naval vessel.
Hobby was laid down at San Francisco, California by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in June 1941, launched in June 1942, and commissioned in November with Lieutenant Commander Ernest Blake in command. Supporting a crew complement of 208, Hobby was armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, six one-half inch machine guns, and four five-inch anti-aircraft guns, and was 348 feet, four inches long. Hobby was driven by Bethlehem turbines and had a range of 6,500 nautical miles at 12 knots.
Hobby underwent training off the west coast, before sailing to New York in February 1943 and assigned to trans-Atlantic convoy escort duty. During this deployment, Hobby conducted five voyages to the Mediterranean as an escort from New York City to Casablanca. Hobby was re-assigned to the Pacific in January 1944, and operated at New Guinea until August. The destroyer performed fire support and screening duties at several Admiralty and Schouten Islands invasions. Hobby also served during the Peleliu and Ngesebus invasions, and remained on screening duty in the region until November.
In December, Hobby was deployed with aircraft carriers to the Philippines. The destroyer protected the carriers during strikes on Luzon and continued service in the area until February 1945 when she served with 5th Fleet carriers during air strikes on Tokyo. Hobby conducted screening duties at both the Iwo Jima and Okinawa raids, and was in dry dock at Seattle when hostilities with Japan ended.
Hobby hosted foreign naval units and congressmen for Navy Day ceremonies at New York in October, as a Presidential Review of the fleet was being held. The destroyer was decommissioned, and put on reserve, at Charleston, South Carolina in February 1946, and later moved to Orange, Texas. Honored with 10 battle stars for her service in World War II, Hobby was struck from the Navy list in July 1971 and sunk off Norfolk, Virginia in June 1972.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Hobby (DD-610)
Benson-class vessels deployed asbestos-containing material in most compartments, both in machinery and wrapped around steam pipes. Because of this, nearly every member of Hobby's crew was exposed to asbestos fibers, regardless of his assignment. Crewmembers stationed in the engine room, working with heavy machinery, or performing damage control had the greatest exposure risk.
Workers at dry dock were also exposed to asbestos from the Hobby. When worn or damaged asbestos parts are handled, they often release clouds of tiny fibers into the air. Inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers is linked to mesothelioma and other serious illnesses. Secondhand exposure from fibers brought home on uniforms or work clothes carried many of the same risks.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-610.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd610txt.htm) Retrieved 27 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Hobby (DD-610).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/610.htm) Retrieved 27 January 2011.