The USS Case, a Mahan-class destroyer, was commissioned on September 15, 1936. She was named for former Admiral, Augustus Ludlow Case, several military conflicts, including the Mexican and Civil War. She was first commanded by Commander J. S. Roberts.
She initially reported to the Battle Force, later joining the fleet in Hawaii in 1938, also serving as a school ship out of San Diego. She then carried midshipmen on Alaskan cruises in the summer of 1939, returning to Pearl Harbor in April of 1940 to join a fleet sailing to Midway, Johnston and Palmyra Islands.
Action in World War II
The USS Case was in the nest of destroyers that opened fire on Japanese planes during the Pearl Harbor attack, beginning our involvement in the war. She then became an escort ship for convoys that ran between the West Coast and Pearl Harbor for the early part of 1942. The Case was then sent to Alaska in the summer of 1942, serving off the island of Kodiak. In August of 1942, the Case bombarded Kiska and an enemy tanker as a pre-invasion mission.
After an overhaul in the states, she traveled back to Pearl Harbor, later serving as an escort for convoys heading to the Fiji Islands. She then underwent another overhaul in San Francisco before returning to Pearl Harbor in December. Then she was assigned as an escort for the Third and Fifth Fleets, participating in air strikes that would help clear the way for America’s westward advancement towards Japan.
The Case participated in several other battles and would end up returning to escort duty later in the war. In November of 1944, she even rammed and sank a Japanese midget sub at the entrance of Mugai Channel. She inspected for damage, but none was found, sending the destroyer off the coast of Saipan for more patrols. She was then sent after a fleeing Japanese transport ship, sinking the ship with the help of the Roe DD-418. She then fulfilled radar picket duty on Iwo Jima and Saipan until the end of the war.
After the war
On September 2, 1945, the Case sailed to Chichi Jima to accept the surrender of the Bonins Islands. She then traveled back to Norfolk, Va., being decommissioned in December of the same year before being sold two years later.
For her service in World War II, the Case received seven battle stars.
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.