USS Jacob Jones (DD-61) was a Tucker-class destroyer that was built for the US Navy prior to the United States’ entry into World War I. She was the first US Navy vessel to be named in the honor of Commodore Jacob Jones, who joined the Navy at the age of 31 in 1799 and served until his death in 1850.
Jacob Jones was laid down in August 1914 in Camden, New Jersey by New York Shipbuilding. She was launched in May 1915. She had a standard displacement of 1,090 long tons and measured a little more than 315 feet in length, while measuring just over 30 feet abeam. She was armed with eight 21-inch torpedo tubes as well as four 4-inch guns. Jacob Jones was sponsored by Mrs. Jerome Parker Crittendon, who was the great-granddaughter of Commodore Jones, and was launched on May 29, 1915. Lieutenant Commander William S. Pye took command of Jacob Jones on February 10, 1916.
As her first duty, Jacob Jones conducted training exercises off of the coast of New England, after which she was sent to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for repairs. After the United States entered World War I, Jacob Jones was sent to patrol off the coast of Virginia. She later sailed from Boston to Europe with a group of destroyers, arriving in Queenstown, Ireland on May 17, 1917. Here, her duties primarily involved patrolling and escorting convoys through the Irish Sea.
As part of her patrol duties, Jacob Jones was occasionally called upon to rescue the survivors from sunken ships. On July 8, 1917, she rescued 44 survivors from the British steamship Valetta after she was torpedoed by German submarine U-87. Two weeks later, Jacob Jones rescued 26 of the 28-member crew aboard British steamship Dafila after she was sunk by German submarine U-45. On October 19 of that same year, Jacob Jones and nine other destroyers embarked on a mission to escort twenty steamers with the help of the British armed merchant cruiser Orama. When German submarine U-62 surfaced and torpedoed Orama, Jacob Jones rescued 309 of her survivors.
In early December 1917, Jacob Jones assisted with the escort of a convoy to Brest, France. Upon her solo return trip to Ireland, she was torpedoed by German submarine U-53, making her the first US destroyer to be lost to enemy action. Commander David W. Bagley ordered the life rafts and boats to be launched, but the ship’s cargo of depth charges detonated before all of the men were able to reach a safe distance. Two officers and sixty-four men were killed while the rest were left at sea awaiting rescue. The majority of the men were rescued by the British sloop HMS Camelia, while another small group was rescued by the American steamer Catalina and others were rescued by a British patrol vessel. Several men aboard Jacob Jones were recognized for their actions.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Jacob Jones (DD-61)
Asbestos-containing materials were commonly used in the construction of marine vessels of this era. The mineral was inexpensive, an excellent insulator, and highly fire resistant. The Jacob Jones employed asbestos to protect sailors from heat and fire in the engine rooms and around her boilers. It was also used as a pipe covering throughout much of the rest of the ship. When such materials become worn, they can release tiny fibers into the surrounding air. Sailors that inhaled these particles face an increased chance of developing a number of serious illnesses, including mesothelioma cancer.
Navy veterans and ship builders that worked on the USS Jacob Jones and later suffered an asbestos injury may be entitled to compensation. To find out more, please complete the form on this page. We'll send you a comprehensive mesothelioma information packet that discusses the disease and your legal rights, free of charge.Sources
USS Jacob Jones (DD-61).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/061.htm Retrieved 14 December 2010
Department of the Navy – Navy Historical Center.
http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-j/dd61.htm Retrieved 14 December 2010