This Wickes-class Destroyer was built in Philadelphia, PA by William Cramp and Sons at the very end and just following World War I. The ship measured just over 314 feet, and carried a complement of 122 officers and men. It was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in May of 1919, and was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. Though taken out of commission in July of 1922, it was brought back into active duty in October 1939 in the year before America’s involvement in World War II. It was again placed in the Atlantic, where it patrolled Caribbean waters and performed escort duties until the war’s end. The ship was decommissioned just prior to the Allied victory over the Japanese, in July 1945.
Navy veterans who served aboard the USS Blakeley 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 on-board 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 Blakeley 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 mesothelioma diagnosis is made.