The USS Brush was launched in December of 1943 by the Bethlehem Steel Co. An Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer, the Brush was named for Charles Francis Brush, an inventor, physicist and manufacturer born in Ohio.
Action in World War II
The Brush reached Pearl Harbor August 30, 1944, participating in training until she was ordered to the Marshall, arriving on September 28. From there she would serve as an escort for the convoys that were heading from Eniwetok to Ulithi and the Palau Islands.
The USS Brush would then serve with the Third and Fifth Fleets in the Leyte Operation and the Luzon-Formosa-China coast strikes. She would also be present in support of the Iwo Jima invasion and the operation that would take place in Okinawa. She was then sent back to Ulithi, where she remained for repairs before joining the Fifth Fleet again to help in the projected invasion of Kyushu, Japan. The Brush was anchored until July 1, 1945, then participating in a raid of a Japanese island of Hokkaido. In late July, The Brush and other destroyers in her squadron participated in an anti-shipping sweep near the Tokyo Bay entrance.
After the war
She arrived in Seattle, Washington on October of 1945, patrolling this area until leaving for Guam in 1946, eventually heading to China. She would operate mainly in the East China Sea during this period and returned to Guam in early 1947 for repairs. After her repairs, she was sent back to San Diego. The Brush then aided in training and other patrol duties.
Action in the Korean War
She served as a screening vessel for carrier units during the strikes on North Korea, beginning in 1950. Unfortunately, while participating in the shelling of Tanchon, Korea, the Brush hit a mine, breaking her keel, killing thirteen men and injuring 31 more. The Brush then sailed back to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, under her own power, for repairs. She participated in several other anti-submarine, anti-aircraft, bombardment and hunter-killer in the Korean War zone before returning to San Diego in June of 1952. She remained in California until February 1953, when she was sent back to Korea for a third time. This time she would be struck by incoming shells that would injure nine men. She then conducted a short patrol before returning for bombardment operations in Korea. She returned to the U.S. on August 30, 1953.
Action in the Vietnam War
The Brush conducted seven more Western Pacific deployments throughout the next ten years, conducting carrier escort duties, ASW exercises and patrols. However, deployments were not over for the Brush, as she participated in three Vietnam War deployments, each of those involving intense patrolling and gunnery operations. The Brush was decommissioned in 1969, finding herself transferred to Taiwan in December of that year. She served in the Taiwanese Navy until being scrapped in 1993.
For her service in World War II, the Brush received five battle stars. She also received four battle stars for her Korean War service and seven more for her service in Vietnam, ending her career as a highly decorated vessel.
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.