The USS Theodore E. Chandler (DD-717) served in the U.S. Navy for almost three decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Admiral Theodore Edson Chandler who served in World War II. Theodore E. Chandler was laid down as a Gearing-class vessel.
Theodore E. Chandler was laid down at Newark, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in April 1945, launched in October, and commissioned in March 1946 with Commander Francis O. Fletcher, Jr., in command. Featuring a total displacement of 3,460 tons, Theodore E. Chandler was armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.
Theodore E. Chandler served training duty off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and was assigned to the west coast in October 1946 for fleet exercises. The destroyer was deployed to China twice before serving during the Korean War, arriving there via Japan in July 1950. Theodore E. Chandler first operated off the east coast of Korea and then sailed to the west coast in September to battle enemy forces and bombard shore installations. She also provided gunfire support for troops landing in the region in September.
Theodore E. Chandler was assigned to escort duty for aircraft carriers of Task Force 77 in January 1951 and returned to the United States in March. The destroyer conducted two more Korean War deployments, which ended in mid-August 1953. Throughout the following decade, Theodore E. Chandler was deployed to the Far East seven more times, usually for training exercises with the 7th Fleet and with the Taiwan Navy. In 1961, Theodore E. Chandler underwent an FRAM overhaul at San Francisco, and also received repairs to her generating plant the following year. She resumed training duty in the eastern Pacific in March 1963.
In June 1964, Theodore E. Chandler was deployed to Vietnam as a carrier screen, and served several additional tours of Vietnam over the next few years. Theodore E. Chandler operated between Vietnam and Japan and also served in the Gulf of Tonkin, often in the company of Hollister. Theodore E. Chandler received an overhaul at Long Beach, California beginning in February 1969 and then alternated between operations with the 1st Fleet on the west coast and deployments to Vietnam and Thailand. From October 1973 to April 1975, Theodore E. Chandler was stationed on Naval Reserve training duty at Seattle, Washington, and was sold for scrap to the General Metals Corporation in December.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Theodore E. Chandler (DD-717)
On board Theodore E. Chandler asbestos insulation was present in most areas, both as fireproofing for shipboard equipment and also as a covering insulation on steam pipes. High concentrations of asbestos insulation could be found in specific sections of the ship, such as the boiler room and engineering. Asbestos fiber was used throughout the vessel because of its versatility - it was used in cement, interior paint, and even glues.
Abundant quantities of asbestos could be found everywhere in repair facilities and many sailors and workers were exposed to it there. Asbestos fibers had a tendency to attach to clothing worn by workers at the docks and cause exposure to family members who had never stepped foot in a dockyard. When inhaled, asbestos material damages the mesothelial tissues and may produce mesothelioma. There are usually legal options for victims of asbestos cancer.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-717.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd717txt.htm) Retrieved 9 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Theodore E. Chandler (DD-717).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/717.htm) Retrieved 9 February 2011.