USS Mayrant (DD-402) was a Benham-class destroyer constructed by the U.S. Navy. She was the second of two naval vessels to be named in the honor of John Mayrant, who was an officer in the Continental Navy as well as the U.S. Navy.
Mayrant was laid down by the Boston Navy Yard in Boston, Massachusetts on April 15, 1937. Launched on May 14, 1938, she was sponsored by Mrs. E. Sheely, who was a descendent of the namesake. Lieutenant Commander E.A. Taylor took command of Mayrant on September 19, 1939.
Following commissioning, Mayrant escorted President Franklin D. Roosevelt on a tour of east coast defense. Later that same year, she escorted him to visit the island bases that had been obtained through the destroyer for bases agreement with Great Britain. She was then assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, after which she began operating off Newfoundland.
On the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Mayrant was two days out of part from Cape Town. After receiving news of the attack, she joined the Royal Navy in protecting the convoys that were transporting Canadian and British troops to South America. After returning to the U.S., Mayrant spent the next five months on North Atlantic convoy duty. In July, she sailed to the east coast, where she conducted antisubmarine warfare training exercises before resuming convoy duty in October.
In November, Mayrant escorted troops to North Africa before serving as a screen for the Naval Battle of Casablanca. Mayrant continued to perform support duties through the rest of the year and the first half of 1943. While performing anti-air patrol on July 26, Mayrant was attacked by Lutfwaffe dive bombers in an area off Palermo. The attack resulted in extensive damage while leaving five dead and 18 wounded. Despite the loss of crew and the fact that the engineering space of the ship had been flooded, the crew managed to keep Mayrant afloat as she was towed into Palermo.
Following repairs, Mayrant headed to Casco Bay, Maine. She spent the rest of 1944 and a significant portion of 1945 operating along the east coast. On April 5, 1945, she rescued the cargo ship Atlantic States, which had been torpedoed off Cape Cod. As the war came to an end, Mayrant was transferred to the Pacific Fleet. She then engaged in intensive training before escorting convoys to Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Saipan.
In 1946, Mayrant was designated as a test ship for the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb testing. Although she survived the tests, she was highly contaminated. Mayrant was decommissioned on August 28, 1946 at Bikini and was sunk off Kwajalein on April 4, 1948. She was struck from the Navy list on April 30. Mayrant received three battle stars for her service during World War II.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Mayrant (DD-402)
Since asbestos-based insulation was used so commonly on board Mayrant, essentially all her crewmen were exposed during their service. Some positions endured higher levels of asbestos contamination: crewmen laboring in the engine room, as machinists, dealing with fire suppression, or repairing damage were considerably more likely to come into contact with asbestos. Repair and shipyard workers were also exposed to asbestos fibers in large quantities. Breathing and swallowing of individual asbestos fibers is strongly linked to a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma.
The extensive battle damage to Mayrant exposed her crew and dockworkers to even more perilous levels of asbestos than was normal. Worn and damaged asbestos products are friable, meaning that they easily release individual asbestos fibers into the air. Such fibers pose the greatest health risk. Sailors and shipbuilders from the Mayrant that suffered asbestos related injuries have legal rights. A qualified mesothelioma lawyer can explain those rights and what they mean to you and your family in terms of possible compensation.Sources
Mayrant. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy â€“ Naval Historical Center.