The USS Daly (DD-519) was honored with eight service stars for World War II and one service star for the Korean War. The 376’6” Fletcher-class destroyer was named for Daniel Daly, a Marine Corps officer who enlisted in 1899. He received Congressional Medal of Honors for his conduct in the 1890 Battle of Peking and the struggle to capture Haiti’s Fort Liberte. During World War I, Daly was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, and three French military medals.
Action in World War II
The Daly was launched in October 1942 and was commissioned in March of 1943. Commander Visser led the destroyer as it screened off the coast of Newfoundland and then en route to San Diego. After briefly docking on August 4th, the Daly headed north for Alaska. The vessel escorted carriers along the Alaskan coast from late August until mid-November when it left for a brief stop in Pearl Harbor.
From Hawaii, the Daly cruised to New Guinea, arriving in Milne Bay in late 1943. The following weeks were devoted to escorting convoys and resupplying troops. The Daly moved between Milne Bay and various bombardment and patrol sites in the area, such as Sawar and Wakde. By October, the Daly was moving to assist invading troops for the Battle of Leyte. The destroyer took part in the decisive battle on October 25 and 26.
The Daly next arrived off the coast of Iwo Jima in mid-February and played a crucial role in rescuing survivors of the Bismarck Sea. Operations continued without casualties until April 28 when the ship suffered a kamikaze attack. Three of the Daly’s crew were killed and 16 were injured. However, the ship was quickly repaired. It joined Task Force 95 in the East China Sea and served off the coast of Nagasaki through November. The Daly was decommissioned in 1946 until the rise of the Korean Conflict.
Action in the Korean War
In July of 1951, Daly joined the Atlantic Fleet for training off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island. The ship then sailed west to patrol off the coast of Korea. A homeward journey later took the Daly through the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean.
On January 4, 1957,the Daly sailed from Rhode Island to South Africa, Kenya, Sierra Leone, and other ports in an effort to promote U.S. foreign policy. The crew returned to the U.S. on June 7th. The Daly spent its final months in Middle Eastern waters and was decommissioned on May 2, 1960.
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.