The USS Madison (DD-425) served in the U.S. Navy for six years during the first half of the 20th century. She was named for James Jonas Madison, who served with the U.S. Navy during World War I. Madison was built as a Benson-class ship.
Madison was laid down in Boston, Massachusetts at the Boston Navy Yard in December 1938. She was launched in October 1939 and commissioned in August 1940, with Lieutenant Commander T.E. Boyce at the helm. Madison carried a crew of 208 and had a cruising speed of 35 knots. She was armed with four five-inch anti-aircraft guns, six half-inch machine guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Madison spent the beginning of her naval career as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Neutrality Patrol. She spent time running convoys and escorting diplomatic voyages in the Caribbean and North Atlantic. Following the entry of the United States into World War II in December 1941, Madison remained in the North Atlantic for some time, including a period as a unit of the British Home Fleet. In November 1942, she made a run to Casablanca, and in February 1943 she began escorting shipments of oil between Curaco, the United Kingdom, New York, and the West Indies.
Madison arrived in the Mediterranean in January 1944, where she was stationed off the coast at Anzio. There, she participated in anti-submarine patrols and offered supporting gunfire for various actions. In mid-April, she began convoy duty throughout the Mediterranean region. In August, she supported the invasion of southern France. It was during this action that she won acclaim as a champion anti-submarine warship, obtaining four (and possibly five) kills in a single day.
Madison returned to the U.S. in January 1945. She ran one last convoy to the Mediterranean before departing to join the fleet in the Pacific. She then spent time running convoys to and from Guam, Okinawa, and Ulithi. She was present at Tokyo Bay during the formal surrender of Japanese forces.
In December 1945, Madison returned to the United States for good. She was decommissioned in 1946 and placed in reserve, first at Charleston and later at Orange, Texas. She was eventually sunk as a target off the Florida coast in 1969.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Madison (DD-425)
Nearly every Navy veteran that served on ships during the 1940’s was exposed to asbestos materials. Ships like the Madison contained asbestos parts in almost every compartment, with the heaviest concentration in and around the engines, turbines, and boilers. Steam pipes running the length and breadth of the vessel were wrapped in the material, meaning no section of the ship was completely free from asbestos contamination. Inhaling asbestos fibers causes mesothelioma.
Dangerous exposure wasn’t limited to those serving aboard the ship. Workers that built and repaired Navy vessels were often in contact with asbestos products. Secondhand exposure for those workers’ families was also a real risk, as asbestos dust was easily carried home on clothing. If you or a loved one became ill with mesothelioma after serving aboard or servicing Madison, you may have legal options. The law limits the time you have to file a claim, so consult a mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-425.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd425txt.htm) Retrieved 15 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History, USS Madison (DD-425).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/425.htm) Retrieved 15 January 2011.