Following his successful command of the Card, Captain Isbell was on duty with the Tenth Fleet, Anti-submarine Warfare, Navy Department, Washington, D.C., for a year. He then reported to the Pacific Fleet for assignment as Commanding Officer of USS Yorktown. It was while taking passage on USS Franklin prior to assuming command that Captain Isbell lost his life when the carrier was hit by bombs from a Japanese plane off Okinawa on March 19, 1945.
Her keel was laid down on 14 March 1945 at Staten Island, New York, by the Bethlehem Steel Company. She was launched on 6 August 1945 sponsored by Mrs. Arnold J. Isbell, the widow of Captain Isbell; and commissioned on 5 January 1946 with Commander Carlton B. Jones in command. She joined the Atlantic Fleet and operated off the east coast. In January 1947, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and homeported at San Diego. She spent the remainder of her US Navy days homeported on the West coast.
The brave men and women who serve our country in the armed forces have always known that their service comes with certain risks, regardless of whether or not they experience battle action. However many were unaware of a risk unrelated to explosions or enemy action. The possibility of developing a disease related to asbestos exposure was also a danger that came along with serving aboard a vessel through the late 1970s.
The ability to stop the spread of fire onboard a navy ship is vital as numerous maritime incidents illustrate the hazards of fire at sea. During the period that the USS Arnold J. Isbell and other destroyers were built, the mineral known as asbestos was often utilized on ships because of its innate resistance to heat and fire and its ability to insulate. Unfortunately, what wasn't always known by those aboard ships and vessels, was that inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious diseases such as pleural plaques and mesothelioma. The damage caused by asbestos exposure can occur when tiny fibers are inhaled or ingested, causing inflammation or infection in the body.
During an enemy attack, severe storm or even during daily operations, asbestos exposure may have occurred when fibers broke free and entered the air of a destroyer. Those who served on destroyers like USS Arnold J. Isbell faced some level of asbestos exposure since practically every compartment of the ship contained asbestos. Since asbestos was prevalent around ship's conduits and engines, sailors whose jobs placed them these areas were particularly at risk. Those who repaired USS Arnold J. Isbell or other destroyers when they were in dry dock for overhaul were subject to the possibility of asbestos exposure as well.
Most asbestos-related conditions take 20 years or more to develop. If you served aboard the USS Arnold J. Isbell for any period of time, or worked on the construction or repair of the vessel and would like to learn more about mesothelioma, please click here and Asbestos.com will send you a complimentary comprehensive packet.
Chain of Command Commanding Officer CDR Mark Bernard Lechleiter Jr. Aug 18 1965 - Jul 10 1967
Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NBGR
Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign (circa 1968) - HELLENIC HERO
CLASS - GEARING As Built. Displacement 3460 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 390' 6"(oa) x 40' 10" x 14' 4" (Max) Armament 6 x 5"/38AA (3x2), 12 x 40mm AA, 11 x 20mm AA, 10 x 21" tt.(2x5). Machinery, 60,000 SHP; Westinghouse Turbines, 2 screws Speed, 36.8 Knots, Range 4500 NM@ 20 Knots, Crew 336. Operational and Building Data Laid down by Bethlehem Steel,Staten Island NY March 14 1945. Launched August 6 1945 and commissioned January 5 1946. Completed FRAM upgrade May 1962. Decommissioned December 4 1973. Stricken February 1 1974.
Other Memories In 1965 the ship took part in Operation "Silverlance." In March 1965, she received a drone antisubmarine helicopter (DASH) system and held trials of her new equipment off San Clemente Island. A midshipman training cruise occupied a large part of her summer. The destroyer sailed on 19 October for the Western Pacific. Following stops at Pearl Harbor and Subic Bay, Arnold J. Isbell relieved Brinkley Bass (DD-887) on 30 December on the northern search and rescue (SAR) station in the Gulf of Tonkin and began her first duty in the combat zone off the coast of Vietnam. The warship then became a unit of TF 77.
Search and rescue duties occupied the vessel until she was relieved on 31 March 1966 and sailed to Hong Kong for four days of rest and relaxation. On 12 April, she got underway to return to the United States. After fuel stops at Midway and Pearl Harbor, Arnold J. Isbell reached Long Beach on the 28th and commenced a leave and upkeep period. She returned to sea on 11 June with a midshipman training cruise to Hawaii and several fleet exercises. The destroyer unloaded her ammunition at Seal Beach, Calif., on 29 July and entered the Mare Island Naval Shipyard on the 31st for overhaul. Refurbished, the ship began a training period on 16 September and spent the remainder of the year in exercises along the southern California coast and in upkeep during the Christmas holidays.
Arnold J. Isbell held refresher training out of San Diego in March 1968
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