USS Aaron Ward (DD-132)
The USS Aaron Ward was an American Destroyer built just after the end of the First World War. This Wickes-class ship was constructed by the Bath Iron Works of Bath, Maine and commissioned by the U.S. Navy in April 1919. It measured 314 feet in length, and carried a complement of 159 officers and enlisted. Though originally assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, it spent time in both the Atlantic and Pacific over its career, as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the West Indies. The Aaron Ward was transferred to Great Britain in 1940, where it served as the HMS Castleton, and was struck from the Naval Vessel Register in January 1941.
Veterans who served aboard the USS Aaron Ward were likely exposed to asbestos in the line of duty, putting them at risk of developing mesothelioma. Ships built for the Navy prior to the mid-1970’s often used asbestos in much of the onboard equipment, including boilers, electrical components, pumps, valves, and turbines. Materials such as gaskets and packing were also often made from asbestos. The companies that produced and sold the asbestos to the Navy were generally aware of the dangers asbestos posed, but did nothing to warn those serving on the USS Aaron Ward or other ships. As a result, incidences of mesothelioma amongst Navy veterans are considerably higher than that of the general population.
Victims of asbestos who served in the Navy have a right to seek compensation. Settlements can help cover the often overwhelming costs of health care, and may provide additional sums for pain and suffering. The law limits the amount of time in which a lawsuit can be filed however, so it is important to seek legal counsel soon after a diagnosis is made.