USS Alexander Murray DD-576

The Murray was named after Captain Alexander Murray who served in the Revolutionary War, became a lieutenant in the Continental Navy in 1781, and a captain in the new United States Navy in 1798, and his grandson, Rear Admiral Alexander Murray, a hero of the Civil War.USS Alexander Murray DD-576

Action in World War II

The third USS Murray, a Fletcher-class destroyer, was built in 1942 by Consolidated Steel Corp and commissioned in 1943. It joined Destroyer Squadron 25 at Pearl Harbor, then spent the rest of the year supporting landings, helping with strikes at Wake Island and doing antisubmarine patrols in the Gilbert Islands. During that year, it shot down two enemy planes. In April 1944, the Murray joined the 7th Fleet to help with the attack on New Guinea where it shot down an enemy aircraft. With the 5th Fleet, the Murray participated in the attack on Saipan, then Guam. It helped with the consolidation of the Marianas Islands then returned to New Guinea where it helped cover landings. The Murray moved on to the Philippines, escorting transports and covering landings. In January 1945, the Murray joined Task Force 58 for the first carrier raid on Tokyo in February. It then joined the attacks on Iwo Jima and Ryukus where it sank a Japanese picket ship. During the attack on Okinawa in March, the Murray was hit by a Japanese bomb. It returned to Pearl Harbor for repairs. During the final few months of World War II, the Murray joined Task Force 38 guarding carriers as they raided Honshu, Hokkaido, and Kyushu. On July 30, the Murray and other ships from its squadron shelled the city of Shimuzu, going deeper into Japanese waters than any other ship during the war. The Murray was part of the first occupation force and the first ship to bring in a Japanese submarine on August 27. On September 2, the Murray was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese formally surrendered, then headed back to the United States. It was decommissioned in March, 1946.

After the War

In 1951, the Murray was converted to an escort destroyer and re-commissioned in October. It headed to the Mediterranean as part of the 6th Fleet in 1953 where it spent the next few years mostly in European waters. In 1957, the Murray sailed around Cape Horn for duty in the Persian Gulf. In 1958, the Murray joined TG Alfa to work in antisubmarine warfare. In 1961 it was one of the rescue ships when President John Kennedy flew to Paris, then was part of the 1962 operation to force the Russian missiles out of Cuba. It did one more tour in Europe in 1963 and crossed the Arctic Circle on  September 21. The Murray was decommissioned in May 1965 and sold for scrap metal the following year.

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.