The USS Tattnall (DD-125) served in the U.S. Navy for nearly three decades in the early 20th century, and received three battle stars for her service in World War II. She was named for Commodore Josiah Tattnall who served in the War of 1812, the Second Barbary War, the Mexican-American War, and with the Confederate Navy during the Civil War. Tattnall was built as a Wickes-class ship.
Tattnall was laid down in Camden, New Jersey by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in December 1917, launched in September 1918, and commissioned in June 1919 with Commander Gordon Wayne Haines in command. Carrying a crew of 101, Tattnall 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.
Tattnall deployed to the Mediterranean in July 1919, and operated in Turkish waters. During this deployment, Tattnall delivered passengers and mail to ports in Egypt, Greece, Russia, and Syria. She was assigned to the Pacific Fleet in December 1920 and put in reserve at San Diego, California in June 1922. Tattnall was re-commissioned in May 1930 and served with the Battle Force until 1931, and then transferred to the east coast in July.
Tattnall operated with Destroyer Division 7 and, beginning in January 1934, served with the Scouting Force training Squadron, and Training Detachment, United States Fleet in late 1937 until November 1938. As part of the Special Service Squadron, Tattnall was deployed to the Panama Canal Zone, and escorted convoys in the area, as well as in the Caribbean, when the United States entered World War II.
In early 1943, Tattnall was converted into a high-speed transport in Charleston, South Carolina, and re-designated APD-19 in July. Tattnall was designated the flagship of Transport Division 13 and was deployed to Algeria and the Tyrrhenian Sea in Europe. In June, Tattnall conducted convoy duty between Italian, Sicilian, and North African ports. She assisted Transport Division 13 in capturing the Hyeres islands in preparation for the invasion of France, and evacuated wounded Allied soldiers and German prisoners of war.
Tattnall transferred to the Pacific in February 1945 and battled Japanese kamikaze planes, and then operated as a convoy escort in the Mariana Islands. She then conducted patrols in the Philippines and operated as a convoy escort to Ulithi and Hollandia. Tattnall was decommissioned in Seattle, Washington in December, struck from the Navy List in January 1946, and sold for scrap to the Pacific Metal & Salvage Company in October.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Tattnall (DD-125)
Asbestos insulation was widely used aboard ships and in naval facilities by the U.S. Navy until it was banned around 1979. On civilian and naval craft such as Tattnall, asbestos-based products could be found in nearly every compartment.
Crew members handling engineering equipment were exposed to high levels of asbestos, as were those working in repair crews. Because of its excellent heat resistant capabilities, asbestos insulation could be found around steam pipes, boilers and other machinery. Many of the pipes aboard a naval vessel channeled steam from boilers and were insulated asbestos materials. Asbestos gaskets were also commonly found in ship’s machinery such as the pumps and valves.
Prolonged exposure to asbestos material, particularly airborne asbestos, multiplies the risk of developing pleural mesothelioma. There are legal options for veterans and civilian workers who have received a diagnosis of mesothelioma. If you are one of them, please fill out the form on this page to request more information.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-125
NavSource Naval History, USS Tattnall (DD-125).