The USS Preble (DD-345) served in the U.S. Navy for two and a half decades in the early 20th century. She was named for Lieutenant Edward Preble who served in the American Revolutionary War, the Tripolitan War, and in the War of 1812. Preble was built as a Clemson-class destroyer.
Preble was laid down at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works in April 1919, and was launched and commissioned in March 1920 with Commander H.A. Baldridge in command. Carrying a crew of 114, Preble was 314 feet, five inches long and armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Preble was assigned to duty off Mexico in June 1920, and brought medical supplies from Galveston, Texas to help fight an outbreak of bubonic plague. In August, Preble joined the Atlantic Fleet for routine exercises, and was deployed with the Asiatic Station in June 1921. During this deployment, Preble operated in Japanese and Philippine waters and in the East Indies and Mariana Islands. She aided earthquake victims in Japan in September 1923, and took on refugees during the Chinese Civil War in 1927.
In August 1929, Preble returned to San Diego and operated on the west coast and in the Caribbean. She participated in fleet problems off the Panama Canal, Cuba, and Hawaii, and then was converted into light minelayer DM-20 in June 1937. Preble was undergoing overhaul at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941 and was unable to fight back, but her crew aided wounded victims aboard Pennsylvania. As a minelayer, Preble operated northwest of Oahu, near Kodiak, Alaska, and in the Solomon Islands.
Preble rescued 85 survivors of SS Stanvae Manila in May 1943, and then operated as a convoy escort to Pearl Harbor before conducting mine laying duty at the Marshall Islands in February 1944. She also rescued survivors of the mined Perry in September and conducted minesweeping operations at Leyte Gulf in October. In May 1945, Preble was designated as miscellaneous auxiliary vessel AG-99 at Pearl Harbor and escorted aircraft carriers, conducted anti-submarine patrols, and served as a plane guard. She was decommissioned in December 1945 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard and sold for scrap in October 1946.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Preble (DD-345)
The incidence of malignant mesothelioma is strongly correlated to the overall level and duration of asbestos exposure a person has endured. Navy veterans are particularly prone to the disease, because asbestos was nearly ubiquitous on vessels like Preble. The mineral was used anywhere that heat or fire was a concern, which on wartime ships was almost everywhere. Asbestos fibers were even mixed into paint to increase its fire resistance. Because Preble was know to contain asbestos, if you once served on this ship and later became ill with an asbestos-related disease, you can probably take legal action against the companies that made the harmful products on board. A mesothelioma lawyer can review your diagnosis and service history and explain your legal options.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-345.
NavSource Naval History, USS Preble (DD-345).