The USS Craven was constructed by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation of Quincy, MA and launched on February 25, 1937. The ship was commissioned on September 2, 1937 under command of Lieutenant Commander W. O. Bailey.
Following training in the Caribbean and along the east coast, the Craven was sent to join a fleet in San Diego on August 16, 1938. The ship was sent to the Caribbean from January to July of 1939. While sent to the east coast on some occasions, the Craven primarily operated in the west coast.
Action in World War II
Starting on April 1, 1940, the Craven was based at Pearl Harbor. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Craven was sent to sea with the Enterprise CV-6. The Craven was a part of raids on Marshall and Gilbert islands. In early 1942, the ship went to Wake Island and returned to the west coast for overhaul in April of 1942.
In November of 1942, the Craven sailed from Pearl Harbor to join the efforts in nearby islands and was partly responsible for the sinking of three Japanese destroyers and damage to a cruiser. In September of 1943, the Craven returned to San Francisco for overhaul.
The Craven returned to Pearl Harbor in January of 1944 and served to screen carriers. It was also a base for air strikes and went on to support the invasion of the Marshall Islands. The ship went on to participate in various raids and joined the 5th Fleet as part of the invasion of the Marianas. The Craven was also a part of the Battle of the Philippine Sea and additional air strikes later that year.
In the fall of 1944, the Craven returned to Pearl Harbor, participated in training, and sailed from Pearl Harbor on January 2, 1945 to New York later that month for antisubmarine patrol until May of 1945. The vessel then sailed to Southampton, England and served as a convoy escort before being sent back to New York to escort the U.S. Minister to Tangier.
The Craven operated throughout the Mediterranean, performing escort, training, and transport duties through mid-January of 1946. The ship then went back to New York and made it to Pearl Harbor again in March of 1946. The Craven was officially decommissioned on April 19, 1946 and sold for scrap on October 2, 1947.
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.