The USS Kidd (DD-661) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy for more than two decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd who served in World War I and was killed aboard Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack. Kidd was a member of the Fletcher class of destroyers.
Kidd was laid down at Kearny, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Corporation in October 1942, launched in February 1943, and commissioned in April with Commander Allan Roby in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Kidd featured an armament of four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, and four 1.1 inch anti-aircraft guns.
Kidd operated as an escort for large vessels and was deployed to the Pacific in August 1943. The destroyer arrived at Pearl Harbor in September and served as an escort for aircraft carriers during the Wake Island attacks in October. Kidd also supported air strikes and battled enemy aircraft at Rabaul, for which she was awarded a Silver Star for gallantry. In November, Kidd participated in the Gilbert Islands invasion and remained there through early December.
Kidd operated off Roi and Wotje Atolls during the invasion of the Marshall Islands in January and February 1944, supported the Aitape and Hollandia, New Guinea occupations, and served in the Mariana Islands in June and July. Under repair at Pearl Harbor from August to October, Kidd was on duty at Leyte Gulf, Philippines in October and November to protect ground troops with gunfire. Kidd was overhauled at Mare Island Navy Yard and then participated in the invasion of Okinawa in February 1945. While on picket duty, a kamikaze strike resulted in 38 casualties. Kidd was joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet from December 1946 until March 1951.
Kidd was deployed off Korea in 1951 and 1952, and after an overhaul at Long Beach, California, was rammed by Swedish freighter Hainan. In May 1953, Kidd began alternating west coast duty with cruises to the western Pacific until 1959. The destroyer was used for naval reservist training in 1960, and by April 1962, was assigned to the Naval Destroyer School at Newport, Rhode Island. Kidd was decommissioned in June 1964, struck from the Navy list in December 1974, and preserved as a memorial at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Kidd (DD-661)
Ever since the late 1800s, asbestos was used extensively in factory environments. In the 1930s, asbestos started to be used in the building of navy ships as a result of new fire safety laws. Boilers and engines create large amounts of heat, and asbestos was used to insulate these pieces of equipment. The engineering and boiler areas on Kidd saw asbestos-containing materials used extensively for a number of purposes; to insulate steam pipes, to cover steam boilers, and to protect and insulate elements of the ship's motors and power plant.
Most of the crew serving or working on Kidd most likely were exposed to asbestos-containing materials to some extent. Of the job classifications on Kidd, engineers, mechanics, boilermen, and damage control workers had the highest level of regular exposure. Personnel whose jobs exposed them regularly to broken asbestos products had a much greater risk of developing mesothelioma over time.
When it is ingested or inhaled, asbestos has the ability to trigger the formation of mesothelioma because it can become lodged in a thin membrane called the mesothelium. Because asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma there are legal options available to patients who have contracted these conditions.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-661.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd661txt.htm) Retrieved 2 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Kidd (DD-661).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/661.htm) Retrieved 2 February 2011.