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USS Taylor (DD-468)

The USS Taylor (DD-468) served in the U.S. Navy for over two and a half decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Rear Admiral William Rogers Taylor who served in the Mexican War and the Civil War. Taylor was laid down as a Fletcher-class destroyer.

Construction

Taylor was laid down at Bath, Maine by Bath Iron Works in August 1941, launched in June 1942, and commissioned in August with Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Katz in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Taylor was armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.

Naval History

Taylor was assigned to Destroyer Squadron 20 in the Atlantic and began service as a trans-Atlantic convoy escort with a mission to Casablanca in November 1942. In December, Taylor joined Task Force 13 to begin duty in the Pacific, and reported at Noumea, New Caledonia in January 1943. Taylor was deployed to Guadalcanal in late January, where Japanese bombers succeeded in striking Chicago and Louisville. She also participated in the bombardment of Vila-Stanmore at Kolombangara Island in March, along with Nicholas, Radford, and Strong.

Taylor served as an escort for coastal transports to Guadalcanal in March, and in April, departed Tulagi when Kanawha was bombed by the Japanese, which cancelled the mission to escort the oiler. Following escort duty in the Solomons, Taylor helped cover mining operations in Vella Gulf, and escorted troop transports to Guadalcanal in May. Taylor operated during the invasions of the Central Solomons beginning in July, and continued service in the Solomon Islands until October, when she returned to the United States for repairs.

Taylor returned to the western Pacific in February 1944 and served in the Marshall Islands and New Guinea. Initially deployed with the 3rd fleet, Taylor was assigned to the 7th Fleet in August and served in the Philippines between October 1944 and August 1945. Taylor was put in reserve at San Diego Naval Shipyard in May 1946, was converted into escort destroyer DDE-468, and commissioned for duty in December 1951 for service in the Korean War. Between March 1954 and March 1959, Taylor deployed to the western Pacific five times for training duties. She was re-designated DD-468 in August 1962, and participated in operations in the South Pacific, as well as in the Vietnam War, until being decommissioned and stricken by the U.S. Navy in July 1969. Taylor was then transferred to the Italian Navy as Lanciere and then was disassembled for spare parts in 1971.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Taylor (DD-468)

Since asbestos was used in so many applications, the toxic fibers could be found nearly everywhere aboard Taylor. Some areas of the ship used asbestos fibers in larger quantities than did others. The engineering and power plant sections on Taylor utilized asbestos-containing materials widely to insulate pipes, to protect steam boilers, and to fireproof elements of the ship's motors and power plant.

Asbestos produces mesothelioma by injuring the mesothelium membrane when it is breathed in. Developing the disease is strongly correlated with the overall level of asbestos exposure as well as the duration spent exposed. Asbestos-containing material that is damaged or frayed becomes friable and can crumble when handled. The resulting dust is easily inhaled, posing a greater threat than an intact asbestos part. Repairing or replacing friable asbestos products was an exceptionally dangerous duty.

Sources

Sources

Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-468.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd468txt.htm) Retrieved 18 January 2011.

NavSource Naval History, USS Taylor (DD-468).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/468.htm) Retrieved 18 January 2011.

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