The USS James K. Paulding (DD-238) served in the US Navy for two decades in the early 20th century. She was named for James Kirke Paulding, who served as Secretary of the Navy under President Martin Van Buren. James K. Paulding was laid down as a Clemson-class ship.
James K. Paulding was laid down in Camden, New Jersey by the New York Shipbuilding Company in July 1918, launched in April 1920, and commissioned in November with Lieutenant H.W. Jackson in command. Carrying a crew of 114, James K. Paulding was 314 feet, five inches long and armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
James K. Paulding was deployed with the Atlantic Fleet and conducted tactical exercises along the coast with destroyer squadrons. In May 1921, James K. Paulding was assigned to reserve training at Newport, Rhode Island, and then operated out of Charleston, South Carolina, for squadron exercises, until late winter 1922. Joining the scouting fleet in January 1923, James K. Paulding was assigned to war training and continued this duty until being transferred to the Pacific, where she participated in further training out of San Diego in February 1925.
James K. Paulding resumed duty in the Atlantic when she returned to Newport in August, and helped protect American interests in Nicaragua during political conflict there in November 1926. She also served to prevent smuggling of arms to rebel forces in the country until April 1927. James K. Paulding then returned to reserve training and tactical exercises throughout the Atlantic and Caribbean, and was noted for her efforts in reserve training and peacekeeping.
James K. Paulding was stationed at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in October 1930, and then decommissioned there in February 1931. In December 1936, she was dismantled in compliance with the London treaty for the limitation and reduction of naval armament. James K. Paulding was stricken from the Navy list in January 1937 and sold for scrap in March 1939.
Asbestos Risk on the USS James K. Paulding (DD-238)
The installation of asbestos insulation in the design of all ships was mandated by law in the United States in the early 1930s, after a deadly fire on the SS Morro Castle resulted in enormous loss of life. James K. Paulding, like most Navy ships at the time, used asbestos-containing materials frequently, especially in boilers and engine rooms, and for insulation in all sections of the ship.
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Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-238. (http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd238txt.htm) Retrieved 30 December 2010.
NavSource Naval History, USS James K. Paulding (DD-238)
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/238.htm) Retrieved 30 December 2010.