The USS Brooks DD-232 was named after John Brooks, Jr., who died at the Battle of Lake Erie September 10, 1813. She was constructed by the New York Shipbuilding Company in Camden, New Jersey. The Clemson-class destoryer was launched on April 24, 1920, under the sponsorship of the grandniece of Lieutenant Brooks, Mrs. George S. Keys. Her captain was Lieutenant D. M. Dalton and she was put into commission on June 18, 1920.

The USS Brooks was first stationed at Philadelphia, and on August 26, 1920, she was called to Europe. Her first assignment was to a patrol of the Baltic Sea, which only lasted a short time. She then sailed to the Adriatic Sea to join the U.S. Naval forces there. Her next move was to Turkish waters in June of 1921, where she met up with Naval Forces again. She was then called back home to New York City on September 26, 1921, finally arriving on October 19, 1921.

Her duties from here included assignment to the Scouting Fleet, United States Fleet. While with that fleet, she helped with maneuvers in the waters of the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Caribbean. She was then sent to the Philadelphia Navy Yard to be put in reserve and out-of-commission on January 20, 1921. She sat in reserve for 11 years, finally receiving recommission on June 18, 1932. She took part in fleet operations with the Scouting Force on the east and west coasts and was again, on September 2, 1938, put in reserve and out-of-commission in Philadelphia.

On April 25, 1939, she was assigned to the Neutrality Patrol on the east coast after being recommissioned. She stayed there until being assigned to the Local Defense Force, 13th Naval District. This happened in November of 1940. At the beginning of the war, she was still with the Local Defense Force.

World War II

For the first month of World War II, she acted as an escort and as a patrol ship. Here routes took her between Washington State, Alaska and California. She was then overhauled into a high-speed transport at Seattle, Washington on September 20, 1942. Her hull numbers were changed to APD-10 and she was deployed to the waters of the South Pacific.

Her first missions there were to help during the New Guinea and Lau landings as a minesweeper and transport. This took place from September 4 until September 14, 1943. She kept helping in the same role at the landings at Finschhafen, New Guinea in September. She also participated in assaults on Cape Gloucester, New Britain in December. More landings followed in Saidor, New Guinea from January until February, 1944. Two landings at the Admiralty Islands followed from the end of February until March.

Two more assaults on New Guinea and Hollandia required her help in late April. She then helped capture Saipan in mid-June. Her next duty was during the Leyte occupation, which took place from November until December, 4. She then helped invade Mindoro in mid-December. Finally, she helped two more landings in Luzon and the Lingayen Gulf from January 3 through 6, 1945.

After the Brooks completed these landings, a Kamikaze flew into the USS Brooks. This started a fire on the port side about halfway down, creating a chain-reaction of events which caused the forward engine room to fill with water. 11 crewmen were injured and 3 were killed. Because she could not make it back to San Pedro, California on her own, SS Watch Hill towed her. After arriving home, she was put out-of-commission on August 2, 1945. She was sold for scrap in January of 1946.

The USS Brooks was awarded six battle stars and the Navy Unit Commendation for service during World War II.

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.


Naval Historical Center

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