The USS Braine was a Fletcher-class destroyer commissioned in May of 1943. She was constructed at the Bath Iron Works Corp. and named for Daniel Lawrence Braine, a nineteenth-century U.S. Navy admiral who served in the Civil and Mexican-American Wars, in addition to exploring the Arctic.
Action in World War II
After steaming out of Maine, she traveled to Pearl Harbor by way of San Diego, then immediately proceeded to Wake Island where she was part of forces that bombarded the island. In November of 1943, she also participated in the landings at Bougainville. She spent the following two months escorting supply ships to the beachhead in Bougainville.
In February of 1944, she took part in the Green Island landing, steaming into the Rabaul harbor while under fire from enemy forces. In March, she acted as part of a support group for landings on the island of Emirau and the Bismarck Archipelago. She then spent several months training for the invasion of the Marianas.
In June, the Braine was part of forces that bombed Tinian Island, where she received minor damages. She continued to operate in the Marianas until June, at which time she returned to the U.S. for repairs. Followings repairs, the Braine sailed for the Philippines, acting as fire support for the landings at Leyte. On November 18, she repelled an enemy air attack.
In 1945 she joined forces for the landings at Lingayen Gulf, then making way to Manila Bay to act as support for landing on the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor. She then worked as a radar and support ship for forces at Zamboanga, where she was heavily damaged by two suicide planes. She journeyed to the Ryukyu Islands for repairs, before returning to the US in July of 1945. She was decommissioned in July of 1946 at the Charleston Navy Yard, and remained inactive until 1951.
After the war
In April of 1951, the Braine was recommissioned, and operated as part of the Atlantic Fleet before rejoining the Pacific Fleet in 1954. In January of 1955, she sailed to Yokohama, Japan assisting in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands, before joining a patrol in Formosa. She returned to the US in June of 1955, remaining there until her final Pacific cruise in February of 1956. Upon return, she was stationed in San Diego and San Francisco until being sold to Argentina in 1971.
She earned nine battle stars for service during World War II. In October 1983, the ship was sunk as a practice target.
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.