USS Bancroft (DD-598)
The USS Bancroft was a Benson-class Destroyer built in Quincy, MA by the Bethlehem Steel’s Fore River Shipyard in the early days of World War II. It was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in April of 1942, and joined with the Pacific Fleet soon after. The vessel measured just under 348 feet from bow to stern, and carried a complement of 276 officers and men aboard. Over the course of the war, it earned eight battle stars for operations conducted against the Japanese forces. The ship survived through the entirety of the war, but was decommissioned in February 1946, shortly after the Allied victory.
Navy veterans who served aboard the USS Bancroft were likely exposed to asbestos over the course of their regular duty. From the 1930’s until the mid-1970’s, asbestos was used regularly in the construction of Navy vessels, mainly in equipment including boilers, turbines, pumps, valves, and electrical components. Materials such as gaskets and packing were also often made from asbestos. These were found in a high concentration in the boiler and engine spaces, which put veterans who worked in these areas such as Boiler Tenders and Machinist’s Mates at an increased risk. The companies who provided the Navy with these asbestos products generally were aware that asbestos exposure could cause mesothelioma and other diseases, but did nothing to warn those who served on the USS Bancroft or contemporary ships.
Veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illness have a right to seek compensation from the companies whose negligence allowed them to be exposed to asbestos. Settlements can cover the staggering costs of medical care, and may provide additional sums for pain and suffering. Legal counsel should be sought soon after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis however, as the time in which a lawsuit can be filed is limited.