The USS Stormes (DD-780) served in the U.S. Navy for two and a half decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Commander Max Clifford Stormes who was killed in action during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in the Second World War. Stormes was commissioned as an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer.
Stormes was laid down at Seattle, Washington by the Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation in February 1944, launched in November, and commissioned in January 1945 with Commander William N. Wylie in command. Carrying a crew of 336, Stormes was 376 feet, six inches long and armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.
Stormes operated on the west coast, sailed for Hawaii in April 1945, and then served as an anti-aircraft screen at Okinawa, where she encountered enemy aircraft the night after arriving. A kamikaze struck Stormes, resulting in 21 casualties, and the fires were extinguished by the next afternoon. Stormes was in dry dock at Buckner Bay and returned to the United States in September. Overhauled at Hunters Point, California, Stormes sailed for the east coast and arrived at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in January 1946.
Stormes conducted plane guard duty for aircraft carriers out of Norfolk and then participated in Operation Frostbite in March. The destroyer took part in fleet operations off the east coast until arriving at Charleston, South Carolina in August 1950 for inactivation, but was back in service once the Korean War began. In May 1951, Stormes departed the west coast to join the 7th Fleet off Korea, and battled enemy forces, rescued pilots, and conducted anti-submarine operations before returning to Norfolk in January 1952.
Stormes was then assigned to cruises to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic. In 1955, she took part in Operation Springboard 55, and underwent an FRAM II conversion in 1960. Stormes was assigned to recover a spacecraft, carrying a chimpanzee, in November 1961, and operated during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. In 1966, Stormes was assigned to the western Pacific as a plane guard for Constellation in the Tonkin Gulf, and returned to United States in December 1966. Following deployments to South America and then the Mediterranean, Stormes operated along the east coast from May 1969 until she was decommissioned in December 1970. Stormes was struck from the Navy list in 1972 and transferred to Iran, where she remained operational until 1994.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Stormes (DD-780)
Nearly every member of Stormes’ crew would have been regularly exposed to ACMs (asbestos-containing materials) no matter what their assigned duties were. Abundant quantities of asbestos dust could be found in repair facilities where crewmen and dock workers were routinely stationed. Materials damaged in combat or worn through service posed an even more dangerous risk of asbestos contamination because these airborne fibers could easily be inhaled.
Sailors who were stationed in the engine room, worked on heavy machinery, or worked with fire suppression were also likely exposed to asbestos on a regular basis. The engineering and power rooms of Stormes deployed asbestos in large amounts to insulate conduits, to protect steam boilers, and to insulate parts of the ship's motors and power plant. Asbestos packing was found in pumps and valves all over the ship, and steam conduits covered in asbestos-based insulation were part of essentially every compartment of the vessel.
When inhaled, asbestos can become lodged in the lungs and eventually result in malignant mesothelioma. Besides malignant mesothelioma, asbestos can produce many diseases, like lung cancer and other conditions such as pleural thickening. Legal options are available for veterans coping with pleural mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-780.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd780txt.htm Retrieved 15 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Stormes (DD-780).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/780.htm Retrieved 15 February 2011.