The USS Humphreys (DD-236) served in the U.S. Navy for over two and a half decades in the early part of the 20th century. She was named for Joshua Humphreys, a shipbuilder during the American Revolutionary War. Humphreys was built as a Clemson-class ship.
Humphreys was laid down in Camden, New Jersey by the New York Shipbuilding Company in July 1918, launched in July 1919, and commissioned in July 1920, with Commander W. Baggaley in command. Carrying a crew of 114, Humphreys was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Humphreys deployed to the Mediterranean in August 1920. During this deployment, Humphreys protected American and Turkish interests following the Russian revolution. In August 1921, she arrived at Newport, Rhode Island and conducted ship and fleet training in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Humphreys participated in fleet maneuvers off California in 1925, returned to the Caribbean in June, and was decommissioned at Philadelphia in January 1930.
Humphreys was assigned to fleet operations on the west coast when re-commissioned in 1932, returned to the east coast and Caribbean in 1934, and then participated in carrier training in the Pacific. She was decommissioned again at San Diego in September 1939, but was soon reactivated and assigned to Neutrality Patrol in the Caribbean. In December, Humphreys sailed to California for patrol duty, and when the United States entered World War II, escorted ships along the west coast. Humphreys was converted to high-speed transport APD-12 in December 1942, and then was deployed to the western Pacific.
Humphreys operated in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in 1943. She helped land troops at Finschhafen in September, in Cape Gloucester in December, and also at Humboldt Bay in April 1944. In May, Humphreys returned to the United States and underwent conversion to carry Underwater Demolition Teams in the Philippines for the Leyte Gulf invasion and the invasion of Luzon. Humphreys acted as a screen for refueling operations during the Iwo Jima assault, and operated as a screen and escort for operations at Okinawa in March and April 1945.
Humphreys returned to Pearl Harbor in June, and then San Diego in July. She was decommissioned in October and sold for scrap to the National Metal & Steel Corporation in August 1946.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Humphreys (DD-236)
The asbestos risk on Humphreys was greatest for sailors working in the engine room and those trained as electricians, welders, and steamfitters. This is because the bulk of asbestos in pre-1930s vessels was found in engineering areas and in products used by those occupations. Because asbestos dust could easily spread through other compartments as well, most sailors aboard Humphreys likely suffered some exposure. If your loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma after serving aboard this ship, Humphreys is a likely source of asbestos exposure.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-236.
NavSource Naval History, USS Humphreys (DD-236).