ATTENTION! FORMER U.S. NAVAL VETERANS
by James Murphy
If you served in the U.S. Navy from the 1940's to the 1970's and
you were stationed on shore or afloat commands, any rank or ratings, especially
in the engineering and hull groups, such as machinist's mate (mm),
machinery repairman (mr) or boilerman (bt), you may have been exposed
to asbestos and have asbestos related diseases and do not even know you
have these diseases.
Also, if you are a veteran of any U.S. Military branch or civilian employee
who is concerned regarding past asbestos exposure while stationed on U.S.
Military bases or did any type of work on U.S. Naval ships in shipyards,
please make an appointment with your doctor for a physical examination
and be tested (chest x-ray) for possible asbestosis.
The Department of Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are not
going to advise you to have a physical examination and chest x-ray for
asbestosis and asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestosis means scarring of the lungs. This is slow developing that may
not be obvious for years. A person with asbestosis will gradually have
more trouble breathing, because scar tissues in the lungs makes it harder
to expand the lungs and for oxygen to get into the blood-stream. This
lack of oxygen can produce a strain on the heart and causes other medical problems.
The Department of Navy and Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) did not advise
U.S. Naval personnel and shipyard civilian employees from the 1940s to
the 1970s of the health hazards associated with asbestos exposure and
to be tested (chest x-ray) for possible asbestosis.
Furthermore, there must be thousands of veterans from all branches of the
military services and civilian employees still walking around, who were
exposed to asbestos and do not even know they may have asbestos-related
diseases, asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, etc. God only know how
many died from asbestos exposure diseases without even knowing they had
same. The Department of Navy and Veterans (VA) still are not addressing
the problem and have no plans to inform anyone of the health hazards associated
with asbestos exposure.
This writer was exposed to asbestos (and was not aware of the health hazards
of asbestos) while serving aboard an U.S. Naval ship from November 1,
1955 to August 6, 1959.
During those years, I was never advised nor were any of my shipmates by
the Department of Navy the health hazards of asbestos exposure, and was
never given a physical examination or chest x-ray for possible asbestosis
while on active duty and when being processed (discharged from, the Navy
August 6, 1959).
I first became aware of asbestos exposure and asbestos related diseases
when reading a news article in the Philadelphia Inquirer October 1995.
I had my chest x-rayed November 27, 1995 and on December 6, 1995 was diagnosed
with (pleural thickening) diaphragmatic calcifications consistent with
The reasons for this asbestos alert (on the Internet) is to alert and inform
naval veterans and civilian employees who were exposed to asbestos on
shore or afloat commands to have a physical examination and chest x-ray
for possible asbestosis.
In summary, for the past several years I have been trying to convince the
Secretary of Navy, Mr. John Dalton...Department of the Navy Bureau of
Medicine and Surgery Captain D. H. Trump...Department of Veterans Mr.
J. Derrick (PA)...Congressman Curt Weldon (PA) and Senator Arlen Spector
(PA)...to do their job and "at least do something", place advertisements
in the newspapers to notify former service members and civilian employees
who may have been exposed to asbestos to have a physical examination and
chest x-ray for possible asbestosis or asbestos-related diseases.
As of this writing I am still waiting for any response from these gentlemen.
Note: With all due respect Congressman Curt Weldon (PA) did forward my
letter to Department of Navy Secretary John Dalton who in turn forwarded
same to Captain D. H. Trump and Senator Arlen Spector (PA) is still in
the process of writing a letter since September 1998, to Secretary of
Navy John Dalton for an estimated number of people affected and cost to
Some of asbestos-related diseases are as following:
Other cancers may sometimes be related to asbestos exposure:
Symptoms of lung problems caused by asbestos exposure:
Shortness of breath that may increase over time.
Coughing up blood
James F. Murphy
Former Navy Veteran
Attention U. S. Naval Veterans
ASBESTOS EXPOSURE USS LAFFEY DD724
JAMES F. MURPHY DC2 on September 24, 1999 at 19:48:37:
ATTENTION ALL FORMER U. S. NAVY VETERANS
USS LAFFEY DD 724
If you served aboard any afloat commands (case in-point USS Laffey from
the 1940s to 1970s any rank (A) or ratings you were exposed to asbestos
and may have asbestos-related diseases and not even know you have these
diseases, especially if you worked in the engineering and hull groups...Machinist's
Mate (MM)...Machinery Repairman (MR)...Boilerman (BT)...Fireman (FM)...Machinery
Repairman (MR)...Damage Controlman (DC).
(A) Department of Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Letter June 10, 1996.
In the event you were exposed to asbestos make an appointment A.S.A.P.
with your doctor for a physical examination and be tested (chest x-ray)
for possible asbestosis...malignant mesothelioma...lung cancer...benign
pleural disease...enlarge heart...etc. Furthermore, if you contracted
any of these diseases file a claim with Department of Veterans (VA) telephone number:
The Departments of Navy and Veterans (VA) are not going to inform you regarding
the health hazards associated with asbestos exposure (B) and have no plans
to notify you to have a physical examination and chest x-ray for asbestos-related
diseases (C). You got to take the initiative yourself for the physical
Also, I have written several letters to no avail for Departments of Navy
and Veterans Affairs (VA) and members of Congress, the U. S. Senator Arlen
Spector (PA) to do their job and notify former naval personnel the health
hazards associated with asbestos and be tested (chest x-ray) for same.
Furthermore, God only knows how many naval veterans expired from asbestos
exposure diseases without even knowing they had any of these diseases.
(B) Department of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery letter September 30, 1996.
© American Lung Association Facts About Asbestos Exposure Publication
#206 June 1990.
This writer was exposed to asbestos while serving aboard the USS Laffey
DD724 from 1955 to 1959 and was diagnosed December 6, 1995 with (benign
pleural "pleural thickening") and I retired from the Boeing
Airplane Company, as a manufacturing engineer June 30, 1995.
Any questions or additional information I can be contacted at below e-mail address:
James F. Murphy DC2
USS Laffey DD724
September 24, 1999
*** OCTOBER 28, 1999
A Note From a Fellow Sailor
I found the comments of what was required of naval personnel assigned to
boiler tending rates and grades to be pretty accurate. My only reason
for this email is to let you know that I was very surprised to see that
as late as 1965 the navy was still not using breathing and respiratory
protection for personnel assigned to cleaning fire boxes and for air cleaning
I did all of the things mentioned in my four years in the navy and I too
spent most of my shipboard duties in the boiler room of a destroyer. Your
article is correct and I can tell you that even as a 19 year old I knew
that what I was getting into my lungs was not very healthy.
Cleaning fire boxes and/or blowing out tubes with rotary air brushes would
cause me to cough up dust and slag for days afterwards and I hated this
aspect of my naval experience and I believe this was true for most of
my shipmates unfortunate enough to end up doing this kind of duty.
Nothing in the way of respiratory protection was ever mentioned or available
to any of us doing those jobs and complaining did not get you anywhere.
Most of us used white handkerchiefs or rag masks as our only breathing
protection.You simply did the job required with a minimum of bitching
or you ended up 'on report' doing some s--- detail in the Mess
Hall. It was not until I advanced to BT3 that I got out of doing these chores.
I do have severe COPD with bullitis and to my mind, even though I did smoke
cigarettes into my 50's, a great deal of my lung problems go back
to those days in the boiler room. Part of the reason for my thinking my
navy duties may have had something to do with my COPD is because on initial
diagnosis, my Respiratory Physician indicated the advanced deterioration
in my breathing and lung capacities was not completely attributable to smoking.
Thanks for let me sound off.
B. L. Kleeberger
*** POSTED AUGUST 6, 2001 ***