The USS Jarvis (DD-799) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy for over a decade and a half in the mid-20th century. She was named for James C. Jarvis, a midshipman killed at age 13 during a battle between Constellation and the French frigate La Vengeance in 1800. Jarvis was designed to Fletcher-class destroyer specifications.
Jarvis was laid down at Seattle, Washington by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation in June 1943, launched in February 1944, and commissioned in June with Commander E. B. Ellsworth in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Jarvis was 376 feet, five inches long and armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Jarvis sailed from Seattle to Pearl Harbor while escorting South Dakota, and arrived there at the end of August. She then was assigned to the North Pacific Force and participated in operations in the Kurile Islands, while based at Adak and Attu, Alaska. Jarvis then operated during the occupation of Japan beginning in mid-August, first at Aomori, Honshu and then during troop landings there and at Hokkaido. Arriving at San Diego in December, Jarvis was assigned to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Charleston, South Carolina in April 1946.
Jarvis resumed service in February 1951 and operated in the Atlantic until May 1952, when she was deployed to Korea for blockade and interdiction patrols. The destroyer operated from Songjin to Chongjin along the Korean east coast, served in Japanese waters, and then was part of the Formosa Patrol in September and October. Jarvis arrived back at Norfolk, Virginia in mid-December, and served in the Atlantic until she was deployed to the Mediterranean in May to July 1954.
In January 1955, Jarvis arrived at Long Beach, California and was deployed to the Far East in April, during which she aided in refugee evacuations at Vietnam and patrolled the Formosa Strait. While serving in the region in 1958, Jarvis assisted Chinese Nationalists, and returned to California following her fifth deployment in March 1960. Jarvis then sailed for the east coast in September and was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennyslvania in October. Transferred to Spain in 1960 as Alcala Galiano, the destroyer was struck from the Navy list in 1972 and broken up for scrap in 1988.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Jarvis (DD-799)
Naval vessels have a number of pieces of equipment that produce high amounts of thermal energy, such as turbines and engines, and asbestos was widely viewed as a “miracle” material for these challenging applications. Sections of the vessel that produced the most heat, specifically the engineering compartments and boiler rooms, used asbestos fiber as an insulating material. The mineral was also mixed into paints and cements used throughout the ship. Most sailors aboard or doing repairs on Jarvis were exposed to asbestos during their service. Crewmembers stationed in the engineering compartment, working with heavy machinery, or handling fire suppression had the greatest overall exposure.
An individual's risk of developing mesothelioma rises significantly with regular asbestos exposure. The danger is increased further if the asbestos materials are damaged or worn, as was often the case in Navy applications. Because asbestos exposure is the only known cause of malignant mesothelioma, there are legal options for Navy veterans diagnosed with the disease.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-799.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd799txt.htm) Retrieved 17 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. Jarvis (DD-799).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/799.htm) Retrieved 17 February 2011.