The USS Kilty (DD-137) served in the U.S. Navy for nearly three decades in the early 20th century, and received 10 battle stars for her service in World War II. She was named for Rear Admiral Augustus H. Kilty who served in the Pacific, Adriatic, Mediterranean, and African waters as well as in the Civil War. Kilty was built as a Wickes-class ship.
Kilty was laid down in Vallejo, California at Mare Island Navy Yard in December 1917, launched in April 1918, and commissioned in December with Lieutenant Commander Timothy Jerome Keleher in command. Carrying a crew of 103, Kilty was 314 feet, five inches long and was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, two anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Kilty was placed in and out of service from the summer of 1919 to December 1930. In April 1940, she was assigned to Neutrality Patrol out of San Diego, California, and conducted reserve training and patrols until the United States entered World War II. Kilty continued with patrols and armed-guard training, as well as escorted coastal convoys in 1942.
Kilty was reclassified APD-15 in January 1943 and joined the Marine Raider battalion at Noumea in April, and was assigned to patrol and escort duty in the Solomon Islands in June. During this deployment, Kilty landed troops of the 37th Division on New Georgia Island and transported troops to Vella Lavella in August. Kilty also delivered troops from New Zealand to Stirling Island in October, and then landed units of the 7th Marine Regiment during the attack on Cape Gloucester, New Britain in December.
Kilty brought troops to Green Island, Emirau Island, Cape Sansopor, and Morotai, and landed reinforcements by the entrance to Leyte Gulf in October 1944, although she returned to Hollandia in October during the battle for Leyte Gulf. During this deployment, Kilty also provided troop support for the invasion of Mindoro in January 1945, as well as for the Luzon landings.
In April, Kilty performed escort duty to Okinawa, and then rescued survivors from Luce, following a kamikaze attack, during an escort assignment from Saipan to Okinawa. Kilty was overhauled in San Diego in June while World War II ended, was re-designated as DD-137 in July, and decommissioned in November. She was sold for scrap to the National Metal & Steel Corporation in August 1946.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Kilty (DD-137)
Kilty employed asbestos insulation and fireproofing in her engineering spaces. It is likely that materials containing asbestos were also used in other parts of the ship. Combat operations stressed asbestos materials, often causing them to shed a fine, dangerous cloud of fibers. Airborne asbestos dust was easily spread to most areas on board. As a result, most of the sailors that served on Kilty were exposed to asbestos while serving. When inhaled, asbestos can lodge in the lungs and surrounding tissues, sometimes leading to mesothelioma.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-137
NavSource Naval History, USS Kilty (DD-137).