USS Bryant DD-665 (1943-1968)

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The USS Bryant was constructed by the Navy Yard located in Charleston, South Carolina. The destroyer was backed by Widow Mrs. Samuel W. Bryant. It was appointed on December 4th 1943, with Commander Paul L. High in charge.

The Bryant was sent to Bermuda to test its sea worthiness, and made the trip back to Charleston on February 28th. It began its career as an aide for the Wasp, along with the McNair. The three vessels passed through the Panama Canal and made their way north to San Diego for maintenance. They were ordered to Pearl Harbor where the Bryant performed warfare, landing and assault exercises.

The USS Bryant was then assigned to join the Halford and the Robinson. This group was sent to shield Rear Admiral Oldendorf’s left side vessels. Once the destroyer was able to move into position, many of the ships in the battle had been sunk or were on fire. The three vessels moved into position on the starboard side to attack the enemy. The Bryant fired 5 torpedoes that unfortunately missed their mark. The destroyer then traveled to its appointed spot adjacent Hibuson Island without suffering damage.

The destroyer was sent to offer support during Iwo Jima. It was able to offer assistance to those on the island when they were under heavy fire. The ship helped with mine sweeps and beach exploration. The Bryant patrolled diligently when several Marine Corps invaded Iwo Jima, and fought a long campaign. It was there to attack the enemy and sporadically supported the ground soldiers by using its radar to track the adversary.

An organized attack of the USS Bryant made by 6 enemy airplanes occurred when the ship came to the rescue of the Laffey. Three fighters trapped the destroyer. It was able to defend itself against the first two attackers. Unfortunately the third crashed into the ship right under the bridge, and landed near the radio room.

The Bryant was able to return to Kerama Retto for repairs. After the ship was mended enough to return to the United States it was pulled in for a major overhaul. It was discovered that the damage sustained from the attack was significant, and the ship was decommissioned on January 15th, 1947. It was sold for scrap in 1976. The USS Bryant was honored with 7 battle stars for its battle efforts 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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