The USS Jonas Ingram (DD-938) served with the U.S. Navy for over two and a half decades in the mid-to-late-20th century. She was named for Admiral Jonas Howard Ingram who served in World War I and as Commander-in-Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet in World War II. Jonas Ingram was built as a Forrest Sherman-class naval ship.
Jonas Ingram was laid down at Quincy, Massachusetts by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in June 1955, launched in August 1956, and commissioned in July 1957 with Commander Grover L. Rawlings in command. Carrying a crew of 324, Jonas Ingram was armed with four three-inch rapid fire guns, two anti-submarine mortars, four 21-inch torpedo tubes, and six 12.75-inch anti-submarine torpedo tubes.
Jonas Ingram conducted shakedown exercises in the Caribbean and in the Gulf of Mexico, and then sailed from Boston to the West Indies in February 1958 for patrol duty. In September, Jonas Ingram was deployed out of Newport, Rhode Island for the Mediterranean, where she served with the 6th Fleet and with NATO forces. The destroyer arrived back at Newport in March 1959 and changed home ports to Mayport, Florida in June. Jonas Ingram operated as a recovery vessel during Project Mercury experiments later in the month.
Jonas Ingram was designated flagship for Rear Admiral E. C. Stephen, Commander, South Atlantic Forces in August and then served with French and South African navies. She returned to Mayport in mid-November and operated out of that port for 16 months. Jonas Ingram participated in air-sea rescue services for Presidential flights to Paris as well as an additional Project Mercury test.
From March to September 1961, Jonas Ingram served off the African coast. During this deployment, the destroyer took part in United Nations peace-keeping operations in the Congo. After returning to the United States in September, Jonas Ingram joined NATO forces in Northern European waters until December, and then alternated duties out of her home port and deployments to the Mediterranean.
In 1964, Jonas Ingram served off Malta for the island’s independence ceremony, and then participated in recovery efforts during Gemini missions in both the Mediterranean and, in 1966, off Florida. Following two more Mediterranean deployments in the 1960s, Jonas Ingram remained in commission until March 1983. Jonas Ingram was struck from the Navy list in June and then sunk as a training target in July 1988.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Jonas Ingram (DD-938)
Whether a member of the crew of Jonas Ingram worked in the engineering sections of the ship or in areas where high equipment was not found, chances are he/she may have been exposed to some level of asbestos along the way. Those crewmen assigned to the ship's engineering section, working as machinists, or managing ship damage from enemy attack would have likely been exposed to asbestos to a greater degree on a more regular basis. However, as asbestos was found in so many products, it could be found almost everywhere on a ship.
When asbestos is disturbed in any way or becomes worn with age it can create a fine dust comprised of tiny fibers. This dust can hang in the air and those in the vicinity can easily breathe it in if they are not wearing protective gear. Most sailors serving at the time that the Jonas Ingram was in operation were not warned about the dangers of asbestos and as a result did not wear any protective equipment. As a result, they were at high risk for breathing in asbestos dust while on the Jonas Ingram and today, they are at risk for developing the asbestos disease known as mesothelioma.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-938.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd938txt.htm) Retrieved 25 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Jonas Ingram (DD-938).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/938.htm) Retrieved 25 February 2011.