The USS Kearny (DD-432) served in the U.S. Navy for over half a decade in the early 20th century, and remained on the Navy list for two and a half decades more. She was named for Commodore Lawrence Kearny who served as Commandant at the Norfolk and New York Naval Shipyards. Kearny was a Gleaves-class destroyer.
Kearny was laid down at Kearny, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in March 1939, launched in March 1940, and commissioned in September with Lieutenant Commander A.L. Danis in command. Carrying a crew of 208, Kearny was 348 feet, four inches long and armed with four five-inch anti-aircraft guns, six one-half inch machine guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Kearny departed New York in February 1941 and was assigned to the Neutrality Patrol off Martinique, and then patrolled off Puerto Rico and escorted ships into Norfolk, Virginia until August. She then escorted North Atlantic convoys out of Newfoundland. During this deployment, Kearny was struck by a torpedo but was able to sail to Iceland for temporary repairs. Permanent repairs were begun at Boston in late December 1941.
In September 1942, Kearny escorted convoys to the United Kingdom, the Panama Canal, and Galveston, Texas. Kearny operated as a fire support unit for the North African invasion in late September, and sailed for New York on a convoy mission in December. She then escorted ships from Brazil to Casablanca until November 1943 and participated in anti-submarine duty until January 1944.
Kearny also served with the 8th Fleet in French Algeria, conducted operations off Anzio, and served as the inner fire support vessel for Red Beach, Cavalaire Bay, France during the August 1944 invasion. Following the invasion, Kearny screened troop transports between Naples and southern France.
Following several trans-Atlantic voyages from New York to Algeria, Kearny arrived at Pearl Harbor in August 1945 and was then assigned to escort troop transports to Japan from Saipan. Kearny was decommissioned at Charleston, South Carolina in March 1946 and put into reserve. She was then moved to Orange, Texas, was stricken from the Navy list in June 1971, and sold for scrap to Luria Brothers in October 1972.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Kearny (DD-432)
Naval craft like the USS Kearny used asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) as an insulation material for boilers and other heavy equipment on the ship. Asbestos possessed many desirable characteristics that made it well suited for use on naval vessels. Because it was fireproof and resistant to corrosion, it was used in a variety of applications both in the construction of the ships and the equipment that was installed in them.
Sailors who worked in the engineering sections of the ship repairing boilers, turbines, and pumps had a potentially higher risk of asbestos exposure. In addition, those responsible for repairing battle damage, such as that which occurred when Kearny was hit by a torpedo, were also at risk of asbestos exposure as they worked to repair sections of badly damaged insulation. Nearly every sailor aboard the ship would have had some level of asbestos exposure risk, however.
Scientific researchers have established a credible association between inhalation of asbestos fibers and the development of mesothelioma. Those who have been diagnosed with this serious asbestos disease have legal rights. To learn more, please fill out the form on this page.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-432.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd432txt.htm) Retrieved 13 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History, USS Kearny (DD-432).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/432.htm) Retrieved 13 January 2011.