The USS Anderson was built in Kearny, New Jersey. The 1,570-ton Sims class destroyer was then commissioned in May 1939. After serving in the Caribbean and Atlantic through April 1940, the ship traveled to the Pacific. The USS Anderson returned to the North Atlantic in June 1941. Through the end of 1941, when hostilities with Germany broke out, the Anderson helped escort ships around Iceland, operated against enemy submarines, and patrolled the North Atlantic.
Action in World War II
In the beginning of 1942, the USS Anderson returned to the Pacific Ocean, where she stayed through the rest of her service. After escorting the aircraft carrier, Yorktown, in March and April 1942, the ship joined with the Lexington for the Battle of the Coral Sea in May. The ship rejoined the Yorktown in June 1942 for the Battle of Midway. The USS Anderson then joined with the USS Hornet. However, this relationship ended when the Hornet was lost in October 1942 in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.
The USS Anderson stayed in the South Pacific for the remainder of the “Guadalcanal Campaign.” During this time it supported friendly heavy ships and convoys, attacked enemy targets on shore, and patrolled the area. In March 1943, the Anderson went back to the United States to get overhauled.
It then traveled north to the Aleutian theater from July to September 1943. In late 1943, the Anderson aided the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. In the beginning of 1944, it supported the invasion of the Marshall Islands. On January 30, 1944, the Anderson was damaged by enemy guns during the assault of Wotje, and it was further damaged a couple of days later by grounding. After sustaining this damage, the ship returned for repairs until June 1944.
Upon returning to the Pacific and joining the Seventh Fleet from July to November 1944, the ship supported the invasions of Morotai and Leyte. On November 1, during the attack on Leyte, the USS Anderson was hit by a Japanese suicide plane, forcing it to return to the United States for further repairs. The ship returned to the Pacific in spring 1945. She supported assaults and anti-shipping operations in the North Pacific until the Japanese surrendered.
After the war
The ship supported the occupation for a few months and returned to San Diego, California. In 1946, the ship returned to Pearl Harbor, where it waited until May, when she was used as a test ship for the test of the “Able” nuclear bomb at the Bakini Atoll.
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.