The USS Ramsay (DD-124) served in the U.S. Navy for over two and a half decades in the early 20th century, and earned three battle stars for her service during World War II. She was named for Rear Admiral Francis Munroe Ramsay who fought in the Civil War and later served as Chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Navigation. Ramsay was built as a Wickes-class ship.
Ramsay was laid down in Newport News, Virginia by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company in December 1917, launched in June 1918, and commissioned in February with Commander H.H. Norton in command. Carrying a crew of 101, Ramsay had a displacement of 1,213 tons, was 314 feet, five inches long, and was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, two three-inch anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Ramsay was assigned to Division 12, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet and operated off Cuba, New York, and in the Azores. Transferred to the Pacific in August 1919, Ramsay was overhauled in San Diego, California and operated with the Destroyer Force, Pacific, for two years. Ramsay remained in reserve from June 1922 until June 1930, reclassified as a light minelayer with the designation DM-16, and based in Pearl Harbor.
Ramsay operated with Minecraft, Battle Force in Hawaii until 1937 and was decommissioned in San Diego in December. In September 1939, Ramsay was reactivated and served with MinDiv 5, Minecraft, Battle Force and conducted patrols participating in gunnery drills and landing exercises, and trained reservists on the Pacific Coast. Ramsay returned to Pearl Harbor in December 1940 and operated with Mine Divisions 5 and 2.
Ramsay was anchored in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, and engaged in combat for the first time. She departed for offshore patrol and encountered and depth charged two Japanese submarines. During World War II, Ramsay served in the Fiji Islands, the Hawaiian Islands, and conducted escorts and patrols from Ualaska to Attu in 1943.
In 1945, Ramsay operated with the Submarine Training Force, and was overhauled at San Pedro as a miscellaneous auxiliary and reclassified as AG-98 in June. Ramsay operated as a plane guard in Pearl Harbor and was decommissioned in October 1945, struck from the Navy list in November 1946, and sold for scrap.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Ramsay (DD-124)
In ships constructed before the 1930s, asbestos was usually most plentiful in the boiler and engine rooms. Ramsay surely contained asbestos products in those and other areas. Her subsequent overhauls likely increased the amount of asbestos on board, as fire safety regulations mandated additional fireproofing in the 1930s. Sailors that served aboard Ramsay had a moderate risk for asbestos exposure.
Worn or frayed asbestos products can shed individual fibers into the air. Many of the Navy veterans that inhaled those fibers later developed mesothelioma. If you or a loved one was so afflicted, you may be able to seek compensation for your injury. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can review your exposure history on Ramsay and other Navy ships and explain your legal rights.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-124.
NavSource Naval History, USS Ramsay (DD-124).