The USS Ammen, named for Rear Admiral Daniel Ammen, was a Fletcher-class destroyer commissioned in March of 1943. She started her voyages with a trip to Alaska in April for Task Force 51, providing submarine and antiaircraft protection, a mission which turned out to be largely unnecessary. Later in that year, after taking time off for repairs in San Diego, she returned twice more to Alaska to escort convoys, and a third time for a six-week stay to patrol around the Aleutian Islands.
Action in World War II
In November of 1943, Ammen left Alaska for the Pacific where she became a part of the 7th fleet and was heavily involved in missions to keep New Guinea out of the hands of the Japanese. She also spent time in late 1943 and early 1944 at Cape Gloucester, before heading to Australia in February of 1944. After those assignments, the Ammen returned to New Guinea to take part in the Moemfoor occupation and the Sansapor operation.
After a brief stint in the Philippines in mid-1944, in which she participated in the Leyte invasion, serving with defensive formations. She then moved to Okinawa in 1945. For her first few months she mainly acted defensively, serving on radar picket stations where she took part in several battles while attempting to halt air raids. In June, she returned to Leyte and in mid-August she moved to the Ryukyu Islands, shortly before traveling to Nagasaki and Sasebo. In April of 1946, she was put out of commission and was placed with the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
Action in the Korean War
With the commencement of the Korean War, the Navy took steps to increase its fleet, a move which included recommissioning Ammen in 1950. After a brief training session in Cuba, she was released to the Atlantic Fleet. In 1952, she left for European waters in the Mediterranean, and left for the Far East in 1952.
In 1955, she took another assignment with the 7th fleet before taking up duty along the California coast until 1958, when she returned to the western Pacific, to Yokosuka. In 1959, she returned to Pearl Harbor and Guam. On her return trip for decommissioning in 1960, she struck the USS Collett and had to be towed to San Diego, where she was officially decommissioned in September of 1960. Ammen was sold for scrapping in 1961.
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.