The USS Laub (DD-613) served in the U.S. Navy for less than half a decade in the mid-20th century. She was named for midshipman Henry Laub who was mortally wounded during the Battle of Lake Erie. Laub was laid down as a Benson-class destroyer.
Laub was laid down at San Pedro, California by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in May 1941, launched in April 1942, and commissioned in October with Lieutenant Commander J.F. Gallaher in command. Featuring a displacement of 2,395 tons, Laub was 348 feet, four inches long and armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, six one-half inch machine guns, and four five-inch anti-aircraft guns. Laub was driven by Bethlehem turbines and had a range of 6,500 nautical miles at 12 knots.
Laub was deployed for duty out of Norfolk, Virginia in February 1943, and commenced escort duty to North Africa. The destroyer returned from her first escort mission in March, and conducted the second one in late May, during which she chased off a German U-boat on the return trip. Laub sailed for North Africa in June for the invasion of Sicily in July and succeeding in destroying enemy aircraft and tanks during the operation.
Laub sailed to the United States with a convoy in late July, before returning to the Mediterranean for escort service to North African and the United Kingdom. She then operated off Algeria to support Allied campaigns. In November, Laub assisted the torpedoed Beatty, Maraix, and Ruys and rescued 341 survivors from those vessels. Laub resumed escort duty in the Mediterranean following these operations, as well as several trans-Atlantic missions between New York and Great Britain.
In May, Laub delivered fire support at Anzio, Italy, and collided with Philadelphia during the bombardment operations. The destroyer underwent temporary repairs at Naples, Italy and was then repaired further at Boston, Massachusetts. Laub returned to duty off Algeria in December, and after serving escort and fire support duties along the French and Italian coasts, returned to Boston in May 1945. Training in the Caribbean helped Laub prepared for service in the Pacific, but when the Japanese surrendered, she sailed for Casco Bay, Maine. Laub was decommissioned at Charleston, South Carolina in February 1946 and sold for scrap in January 1975.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Laub (DD-613)
Because asbestos-containing material was used in the majority of areas of the USS Laub, many of the men and women serving on board her may have been a victim of asbestos exposure. Those working with the engines and boilers, however, were susceptible to breathing in higher levels of the substance than some of the others on board, because the rooms that the equipment was housed in were small and poorly ventilated. When inhaled in sufficient quantity over a sustained period of time, asbestos dust can damage the mesothelial tissues and cause mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-613.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd613txt.htm) Retrieved 27 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Laub (DD-613).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/613.htm) Retrieved 27 January 2011.