The USS Hopkins (DD-249) served in the US Navy for more than two decades in the early 20th century, and received ten battle stars for her service in World War II. She was named for Commodore Esek Hopkins who served with the Continental Navy in the American Revolutionary War. Hopkins was constructed as a Clemson-class vessel.
Hopkins was laid down in Camden, New Jersey by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in July 1919, launched in June 1920, and commissioned in March 1921 with Lieutenant Commander C.A. Bailey in command. Carrying a crew of 114, Hopkins was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Hopkins operated with the Atlantic Fleet on the east coast before deploying to the Mediterranean to aid relief missions in Constantinople, Beirut, Jaffa, and Smyrna. Arriving back in the United States in May 1923, Hopkins operated out of New England in the summer and Charleston, South Carolina in the winter until the spring of 1930. In February 1932, Hopkins provided medical aid to earthquake victims in Cuba, and escorted President Roosevelt’s convoy in July 1936.
Hopkins was converted to high-speed minesweeper DMS-13 at Pearl Harbor in 1939, patrolled off Hawaii following the Japanese attack, and operated in the Solomon Islands during key invasions. During this deployment, Hopkins escorted transports, swept mines, and delivered supplies to Guadalcanal. She also served in the invasion of the Russell Islands in February 1943, Saipan in June 1944, Guam, and the Marianas islands.
Hopkins conducted minesweeping operations prior to the Lingayen Gulf landings, where she rescued survivors from the sunken Palmer, and off Iwo Jima, where she continued to patrol following the invasion. En route to Okinawa, Hopkins fought off repeated raids by the enemy, shot down several Japanese planes, and suffered a glancing blow from a kamikaze plane in May 1945.
In June, Hopkins was overhauled at Leyte in the Philippines, and sailed to Tokyo Bay to sweep mines after the war ended. Hopkins weathered two typhoons there in October and then returned to the east coast of the United States. She was decommissioned at Norfolk, Virginia in December, and sold for scrap to Heglo Sales Corporation in November 1946.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Hopkins (DD-249)
The use of asbestos-containing materials in the design of all ships was mandated by Congress in the 1930s, after a fire at sea on the SS Morro Castle resulted in great loss of life. Hopkins, like most Navy ships of the time, deployed asbestos-containing materials in large amounts, particularly in boilers and engine rooms, and in fireproofing in all sections of the ship. When asbestos is damaged it can become friable, meaning that the fibers can break off and enter the surrounding air, where they are breathed in by crewmen and dockworkers, increasing the chances of contracting mesothelioma. After asbestos gets into the body, tiny fibers lodge in the mesothelium, a paper-thin layer of cells that surrounds and protects the lungs, heart, and stomach, and eventually this foreign material can lead to mesothelioma cancer.
Because malignant mesothelioma often advances quickly and is often diagnosed late, the prognosis is most often pessimistic. If you or a loved one has developed peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma you have legal rights that you should be aware of. A professional mesothelioma attorney can explain them to you and help you determine a further course of action should you want to pursue one.
For more information about mesothelioma we offer a mesothelioma information packet. It is a comprehensive resource for legal options and medical resources including a list of clinical trials across the U.S. All you have to do is fill in the form on this page and we'll mail your kit at no charge.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-249. (http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd249txt.htm) Retrieved 31 December 2010.
NavSource Naval History, USS Hopkins (DD-249).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/249.htm) Retrieved 31 December 2010.