The USS Borie DD-215 served the United States Navy as a Clemson-class destroyer that served in World War II. The ship was named for Adolph E. Borie, Secretary of the Navy under President Grant. Originally armed with four 4-inch deck guns, one 3-inch anti-aircraft gun, six .30-calibre machine guns, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes, the ship was equipped with depth charges and sonar for antisubmarine campaigns during World War II. Two of the six .30-calibre machine guns were replaced with Oerlikon 20-mm anti-aircraft guns in 1942.
USS Borie was launched in the autumn of 1919 and reached Turkish waters by the spring of 1920. After patrolling the Black Sea, the vessel reported to the Asiatic Fleet’s Destroyer Division 38. From 1921 to 1925, the ship patrolled off the coast of Shanghai during summers and among the Philippine Islands during the winters.
Following the Pacific tour, Borie patrolled the Caribbean, joined the Atlantic Fleet for a two-year European tour, and then continued with the Asiatic Fleet for another two years. In 1932 and 1933, the vessel was converted to a Squadron Leader. It then remained on regular destroyer duty until joining the Neutrality Patrol near Panama in 1939.
Action in World War II
At the outbreak of World War II, Borie remained in Panama Bay until the Allies were faced with an expanding German submarine campaign in the Caribbean. Borie then became the flagship of the Caribbean Destroyer Division 67. The crew rescued personnel from the torpedoed Merrimac, a transport ship, in June of 1942. A few months later, the ship was refit and served in convoys operating between Trinidad and Recife.
Borie’s final battle took place on November 1, 1943. After being locked in intense battle with a U-405, Borie destroyed the German submarine, although she was compromised during battle. The crew watched as German sailors surrendered and were brought to safety as their vessel, the U-405, exploded underwater. Borie’s survivors were then also transferred to safety before their vessel sank on November 2, 1943. The crippled destroyer was scuttled by the Barry DD-248.
USS Borie served valiantly in the Battle of the Atlantic, a six-year campaign to protect Allied merchant ships from German submarines during World War II. The crew also earned a Presidential Unit Citation for its work on an antisubmarine task force in 1943.
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.