The USS Jarvis was the third destroyer named after young midshipman James C. Jarvis who served in the United States Navy at the age of twelve. On February 2, 1800 while aboard the USS Constellation during the Franco-American War, he was commanded to secure the ship’s unsteady main mast. He refused to leave his post although he had been warned that the mast could crumble. The mast did collapse which caused him to be pushed overboard and lost at sea.
Action in World War II and Korea
This naval vessel, which was built in Seattle, Washington, was a Fletcher class destroyer equipped with five single mounted 5” guns and ten 21” torpedoes. The ship was launched in February 1944 and commissioned in June. After completing training and drills near the California coast in August, the destroyer and her crew escorted the battleship South Dakota to Pearl Harbor. The ship then proceeded alone to join the fight against the Kurile Islands. After this assignment, other deployments included assisting occupation operations and landings in Honshu and Hokkaido as well as destroying military facilities.
The vessel left Honshu in November 1945 to return to the United States by way of Pearl Harbor. She and her crew reached port at Charleston, South Carolina, in December. The USS Jarvis was deactivated in April 1946 and decommissioned in June.
The Korean War prompted the destroyer to be recommissioned in February 1951 and deployed to Korea in May 1952 to isolate and block enemy movements. Upon completion of her mission, she began the return to the United States in October 1952 and arrived in Norfolk, Virginia, in December.
After the War
Other assignments upon leaving Norfolk took the Jarvis to Italy and the Middle East before returning to the port in July 1953. After journeying to the California coast for training, the ship’s assignments included five deployments to the Far East after the Korean War to maintain peace. The naval vessel returned to Long Beach, California, in March 1960 before heading to Philadelphia in September.
The USS Jarvis was decommissioned in October 1960 and entered in the reserve fleet. The successful destroyer received two battle stars for service in World War II and the Korean War. In November of the same year, the vessel was loaned to Spain under conditions of the Military Assistance Program. The ship served as a Spanish Navy vessel classified as Alcala Galiano (D-24) until she was scrapped in 1988.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially during World War II, naval destroyers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.