The USS Yarnall (DD-541) served in the U.S. Navy for over a decade and a half in the mid-20th century and was later transferred to Taiwan. She was named for Lieutenant John Joliffe Yarnall who served in the War of 1812 and the Second Barbary War. Yarnall was commissioned as a Fletcher-class vessel.
Yarnall was laid down at San Francisco, California by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in December 1942, launched in July 1943, and commissioned in December with Commander Benjamin F. Tompkins in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Yarnall was 376 feet, five inches long and 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.
Yarnall began training exercises at San Diego until departing for Hawaii in March 1944, where the destroyer participated in tactical exercises until the end of May. In June, Yarnall was deployed to the Marshall Islands to prepare for the invasion of Saipan, during which she served as a screen for Cleveland and Montpelier. Yarnall spent July and August conducting screening and bombardment duties in the Marianas, and then served as an aircraft carrier guard during the Battle for Leyte Gulf. In December, she supported troop landings at Mindoro.
Yarnall accompanied aircraft carriers during troop landings at Luzon and Okinawa in January 1945, and protected forces from air and submarine attacks at Iwo Jima in February. In March, Yarnall collided with Ringgold and lost one crew member, was temporary repaired at Ulithi, and sailed to Mare Island Navy Yard in California for permanent repairs. Yarnall returned to Hawaii in July and served training duty in the area for the rest of World War II.
Yarnall was deployed to Tokyo for the official Japanese declaration of surrender in September, and then was placed with the Reserve Fleet at San Diego from January 1947 until June 1950. She served off the coast of Korea until December, and then again from August 1952 to January 1953. Yarnall operated in the United States, with annual deployments to the Far East, until being decommissioned in September 1958. In June 1968, she was loaned to the Taiwanese Navy as Kun Yang, was returned to the U.S. Navy in 1974, and later sold to Taiwan and stricken in October 1999.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Yarnall (DD-541)
Yarnall used asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) as fireproofing in her engineering sections, and as insulation in most areas of the ship. Her turbines and engines were shielded with asbestos. The boilers were lined with the mineral, and asbestos-wrapped pipes ran through many compartments and corridors. Few if any areas of Yarnall were completely free of asbestos contamination.
As asbestos is the primary known cause of mesothelioma and asbestosis, there are generally legal options for Navy veterans with asbestos-related medical problems. By examining your service history, a qualified mesothelioma attorney can help determine which asbestos products you may have been exposed to. The companies that made those products are often held liable for the harm their products caused.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-541.
NavSource Naval History, USS Yarnall (DD-541).