Skip to Content
Worthington & Caron, PC Worthington & Caron, PC
Get Empowered! 800-831-9399
Top

Former Navy Man: "Assert Your Rights!"

|

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 asbestos exposure).

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 notify same.

Some of asbestos-related diseases are as following:

  • Asbestosis
  • Lung Cancer
  • Mesothelioma

Other cancers may sometimes be related to asbestos exposure:

  • Colon
  • Esophagus
  • Stomach

Symptoms of lung problems caused by asbestos exposure:

  • Shortness of breath that may increase over time.
  • Coughing
  • Weight loss
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Coughing up blood

Sincerely,

James F. Murphy
Former Navy Veteran
Attention U. S. Naval Veterans
9/16/1999

ASBESTOS EXPOSURE USS LAFFEY DD724

Posted by JAMES F. MURPHY DC2 on September 24, 1999 at 19:48:37:

ASBESTOS EXPOSURE
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 examination.

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:

Best regards,

James F. Murphy DC2
USS Laffey DD724
romjfm@bellatlantic.net
September 24, 1999

*** OCTOBER 28, 1999 ***

A Note From a Fellow Sailor

8/4/01

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 steam tubes.

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 ***