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USS Rizal (DD-174)

USS Rizal (DD-174)

USS Rizal (DD-174) was one of 111 Wickes-class destroyers to be built for the US Navy after World War I. She was donated to the United States by the Philippine Islands and was named in honor of Jose Rizal, who was a Philippine patriot.


Rizal was laid down by Union Iron Works of San Francisco, California on June 26, 1918. Sponsored by Mrs. Sofia R. de Veyra, she was launched on September 21, 1918. Edmund S. Root took command of Rizal on May 28, 1919.

As was customary with all Wickes-class destroyers, Rizal was equipped with a flush deck and four stacks. The flush deck design was used to provide Wickes-class destroyers with the extra hull strength that was necessary to reach the top speeds of 35 knots required of the class. Rizal also featured four 4-inch/50 caliber naval guns and twelve 12-inch torpedo tubes.

Naval History

Following her commissioning, Rizal joined the Pacific Fleet. She engaged in exercises and training duty along the west coast of the United States until 1920, at which time she was modified to serve as a light minelayer. After undergoing her modifications, Rizal was reclassified as DM-14 on July 17, 1920. She then departed from San Diego to the Far East, calling at Midway, Honolulu and Guan along the way. Rizal arrived at Cavite in the Philippine Islands on May 1, 1920. Here, she assumed duties as the flagship of the Asiatic Fleet’s Mine Detachment Division.

Rizal spent the next ten years on the Asiatic Station, with Filipinos comprising the majority of her crew. During the spring, summer and autumn, Rizal spent several months anchored in Chinese ports, with her most frequent ports of call being Chefoo, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Chinwangtao. She then cruised to Apra Harbor in Guam before visiting Yokohama in Japan in April 1929. Each winter, Rizal was anchored in Manila Bay at Olongapo.

Rizal was ordered home in late 1930, at which time she departed Manila Bay. She stopped in Guam and Honolulu before reaching San Diego, which is where she was decommissioned on August 20, 1931. Rizal was then towed to Mare Island by the minesweeper Term (AM-31). After being placed on reserve, Rizal was struck from the Navy list on November 11, 1931. On February 25, 1932, she was dismantled and her materials were sold for scrap in accordance with the London Navy Treaty, which called for the reduction and limitation of naval armaments.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Rizal (DD-174)

The installation of asbestos fireproofing in the construction of oceangoing ships was required by law in the United States in the 1930s, after a deadly fire on a luxury liner killed 137 passengers and crew. Navy ships like Rizal deployed asbestos in large quantities, especially in engines and engineering compartments, and for insulation in other parts of the ship. When asbestos is damaged it becomes "friable", which means that the fibers can be broken off and escape into the surrounding air, where they can be breathed in by naval personnel and dockworkers, increasing the odds of developing mesothelioma. The damage caused by asbestos happens when tiny particles are breathed in or swallowed; they can invade the lungs and sometimes the stomach, leading to development of scar tissue in the case of pleural plaques and cellular damage in the case of malignant mesothelioma.

Since mesothelioma disease usually develops aggressively and sometimes goes undiagnosed until it has advanced to later stages, the prognosis for mesothelioma cases is usually poor. If someone you know has been affected by pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma there may be legal options available to them that a qualified mesothelioma attorney can explain. We've also published a mesothelioma information kit with up-to-date information about legal options and treatment choices, as well as a list of open clinical trials nationwide. Simply submit the form on this page and we will send you the packet at no cost to you.



Rizal. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center. ( Retrieved 20 December 2010

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