USS Barry (DD-933)
Constructed by the Bath Iron Works of Bath, ME, the USS Barry was a Forrest Sherman-class Destroyer commissioned by the U.S. Navy in September of 1956. It measured just over 418 feet in length, and carried a complement of 337 officers and men. The ship patrolled and conducted operations mainly in Atlantic waters for its first several years of service, and was notably involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Following its role in this event, it continued its service in the Atlantic until 1965, when it was one of the first Navy Destroyers deployed to Vietnam. In this conflict, the USS Barry earned two battle stars for its service. The ship remained in active duty until November 1982, when it was decommissioned after nearly thirty years at sea. Today, it serves as a museum ship anchored at the Washington Navy Yard.
Crewman and officers aboard the USS Barry likely faced asbestos exposure during the course of their regular duty. A great deal of equipment used on the ship was made with asbestos, including turbines, pumps, valves, electrical components, and boilers. Materials such as gaskets and packing were also often made wholly from asbestos. This asbestos equipment was largely found in the engine and boiler spaces, leaving Firemen, Boiler Tenders, Machinist’s Mates, and others who worked in these areas exposed to high levels of asbestos on a daily basis. The companies who provided the Navy with this asbestos equipment generally understood that asbestos could lead to mesothelioma and other diseases, but did nothing to warn those who served on the USS Barry or its contemporaries.
Navy veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused illnesses have the right to pursue compensation for their conditions. Settlements can offset or cover the high costs of medical care, and may provide additional sums for the suffering of victims and their families. It is important to seek legal counsel soon after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis however, as the law limits the time in which a lawsuit can be filed.