USS Aylwin (DD-355)
This Farrugut-class Destroyer was built for the U.S. Navy by the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the mid-1930s and commissioned in March of 1935, several years prior to World War II. The vessel cruised through European waters for its first years at sea, visiting countries including Spain, France, and Germany on its tour. It returned to American waters and remained local for the next several years, conducting fleet exercises and training. During the morning of December 7, 1941, the USS Aylwin was docked at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese forces struck. It survived the assault, and went on to earn thirteen battle stars over the course of World War II, including the Battle of Iwo Jima and the invasion of Okinawa. After serving through the entirety of World War II, the ship was decommissioned on September 20, 1945.
Sailors who served aboard the USS Aylwin were likely exposed to asbestos during the course of their regular duty. Asbestos was commonly found on ships built between the 1930’s and 1970’s, especially in equipment such as boilers, turbines, valves, pumps, and electrical components. Materials including packing and gaskets were also often made entirely from asbestos. The engine and boiler spaces held a substantial amount of this asbestos equipment, leaving Boiler Tenders, Machinist’s Mates, Firemen, and others who worked in these areas facing high levels of daily exposure. While a significant number of companies who provided the Navy with asbestos were aware of its dangers, they did nothing to warn those who served on the USS Aylwin and other ships from the era. Many veterans fell victim to mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases as a result of this negligence.
Navy Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma have a right to seek compensation for their condition. Settlements can potentially cover the often overwhelming costs of medical care, and may provide victims with additional sums for pain and suffering. The law limits the time in which a lawsuit can be filed however, so it is important to contact legal representation soon after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis.