The Navy built the USS Chandler (DD-206), a Navy destroyer, in Philadelphia and commissioned her on September 5, 1919. The Chandler was named after former Secretary of the Navy, William Eaton Chandler. In December 1919, the Chandler sailed to Turkey to join Destroyer Squadron 3. She then served in Italy until January of 1921. In February 1921 she sailed to Cavite, Philippines. She remained on station with the Asiatic fleet until August of 1922 and then sailed to San Francisco, arriving on September 30.
On October 20, 1922 the Navy decommissioned the Chandler, placing her in the Naval Reserve stationed at Mare Island Naval ship yard. The Navy re-commissioned the Chandler on March 31, 1930 for duties off the west coast for the next ten years.
Action in World War II
The Navy converted the destroyer to DMS-9 on November 19, 1940, making it a minesweeper. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on February 12, 1941 to begin training. During the Pearl Harbor attack, Chandler was at sea and returned to her devastated base on December 9, 1941. She remained in Hawaiian waters escorting convoys, patrolling, and sweeping for mines until June 30, 1942.
On July 27, 1942, Chandler and Lamberton (DMS-2) collided in a heavy fog while sailing in the Aleutians, forcing Chandler back to Mare Island for repairs. In May of 1943, fully repaired, she covered the landings in the Aleutians. After a refitting, she reported to Pearl Harbor in January of 1944. Chandler then participated in the following landings: Majuro: January 31, Eniwetok: February 17 – March 6, Saipan: June 13 – July 20, and Tinian: July 21-24. On June 22, she helped a destroyer to sink the Japanese Sub, I-185.
On October 17, 1944, during the invasion of Leyte Gulf, Chandler cleared a path for the fleet to land. She did the same at Lingayen but took heavy fire from Japanese aircraft on the evening of January 6, 1945. During the attack, a torpedo sank the Hovey DMS-11. Chandler recovered 229 officers and crew from the damaged ship. After, she took part in her last battle at Iwo Jima, performing sweeps and screening for the assault, from February 16 to 28.
After the War
Chandler then returned to the west coast where the Navy reclassified her as AG-108. Here she served training other crews for war until the end of the war. On November 21, 1945, she was decommissioned. During her service, Chandler received eight 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.