USS Aulick DD 569 (1942-1946)
The Aulick received its name from Commodore John H Aulick. The destroyer was built by the Consolidated Steel Corporation in Orange, Texas. The destroyer was commissioned October 27, 1942 under the acting commandant of the 8th Naval District, Captain Thaddeus A. Thomson.
Action in World War II
Aulick began training in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Maine. The destroyer left January 23, 1943 to serve in the South Pacific. Aulick became part of Task Force 64 in February 1943 to support American troops at the Russell Islands. Aulick was heavily damaged by a coral reef on March 10, 1943 and had to be towed to Hawaii.
After the Aulick was repaired, the destroyer left Pearl Harbor on November 8, 1943 to go to Bremerton, Washington. In Bremerton, the ship had machinery replaced, returning to San Francisco on February 3, 1944 for training duties. Aulick was able to rescue 16 crewmen from a flying boat April 11, 1944 while on duty. Aulick left July 9, 1944 with other naval vessels for Guam. The ship patrolled that area until August 6, 1944. On August 21, 1944, Aulick was sent to Palau to support troops landing there.
Aulick became part of the 7th Fleet on September 30, 1944 and ordered to attack the Philippines on October 13, 1944. During that attack, the battleship was struck by Japanese shells and suffered one fatality. On November 29, 1944, the ship was assailed by 6 Japanese planes in the Leyte Gulf. 31 men were killed and another 64 were wounded during this attack. The ship arrived at Mare Island Navy Yard to be repaired.
The Aulick left San Diego March 7, 1945 for Pearl Harbor. From Pearl Harbor, the Aulick returned to the Philippines and later sent to the Netherlands on April 12, 1945 to transport troops.
The Aulick was then sent to Okinawa on May 16, 1945 and given rescue duties between Okinawa and Japan. Aulick saved nine men from a plane that went down August 28, 1945. The ship left Okinawa on September 10, 1945 and reached New York on October 17. Aulick was decommissioned on April 18, 1946.
After the War
The Aulick was loaned to Greece on August 24, 1959 and renamed Sfendoni. Greece then bought the ship in April, 1977. Sfendoni was scrapped in Turkey in 1997.
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.