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USS Preston (DD-379)

USS Preston (DD-379)

USS Preston (DD-379) was a Mohan-class destroyer constructed by the US Navy during World War II. She was the fifth of six ships to be named in honor of Lieutenant Samuel W. Preston, an officer in the US Navy during the Civil War.

Construction

Preston was laid down at the Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, California on October 27, 1934. Launched on April 22, 1936, she was sponsored by Mrs. Edward H. Campbell. Commander C.D. Swain took command of Preston on October 27, 1936.

Naval History

Following shakedown, Preston joined Battle Force, US Fleet with Destroyer Squadron 5. Until the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Preston conducted peacetime training exercises in the Pacific. Following the bombing, she engaged in coastal escort and patrol duties along the west coast until June 1, 1942.

On June 6th, Preston rendezvoused with Task Force 17 in order to deliver pilots, planes and materials to Hornet and Enterprise before returning to Pearl Harbor on the 13th. She then conducted exercises for the next four months before joining Task Force 16 on October 4. On the 26th, she took out two planes in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands while serving as a carrier screen.

Following rearming, Preston set sail along the western end of Guadalcanal. After battleship Washington picked up a pip on her radar, the Third Battle of Savo Island was launched. Following a heated battle, Preston was struck while preparing torpedoes. One salvo launched from cruiser Nagara took out both fire rooms and the after stack. With Preston on fire, she became an easier target for enemy ships.

Due to the spreading fire, the Preston crew was ordered to abandon ship. Shortly after, she rolled onto her side and sank after floating for about ten minutes with her bow in the air. 116 of her crewmembers failed to escape prior to her sinking. The battle waged on, with Walke being sunk shortly after Preston. The remaining destroyers were ordered to retire as the battleships took over. Although the Japanese inflicted major damage during the battle, the enemy forces lost a destroyer and a battleship as they were forced to abandon their mission to bombard Henderson Field.

Preston earned two battle stars for her service during World War II.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Preston (DD-379)

The installation of asbestos in the construction of oceangoing ships was mandated by Congress in the 1930s, after a fire at sea on the SS Morro Castle caused the deaths of 137 passengers and crew. Vessels like Preston deployed asbestos heavily, especially in boilers and engineering spaces, and to insulate steam pipes all over the ship. If an asbestos-based product is damaged it becomes "friable", meaning that individual asbestos fibers can break off and escape into the surrounding air, and then are inhaled or ingested by sailors and dockworkers, possibly causing mesothelioma.

Unfortunately, the prognosis for mesothelioma cases is not optimistic - mesothelioma sufferers usually live for less than two years once they are diagnosed. Since mesothelioma is an uncommon disease, not all hospitals and doctors can provide mesothelioma treatment.

Comprehensive information about mesothelioma cancer can be found in our mesothelioma information kit. It is filled with information about legal options and treatment options for patients as well as a list of cancer centers in the United States. Just fill in the form on this page and we'll send you the free packet.

Sources

Sources

Preston. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center.
http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/p11/preston-v.htm Retrieved 1 January 2011.

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