USS Damato DD-871 (1946-1980)
The USS Damato, was laid down on May 10, 1945 by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Staten Island, New York. On November 21, 1945, the Damato was launched and it was commissioned on April 27, 1946. The Damato’s home port was Newport, Rhode Island; however, it was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia in December of 1947.
The Damato began its first tour of duty in September of 1950. The ship served in the Mediterranean with the Sixth Fleet until November of 1950. In March of 1951, the USS Damato was reclassified as a DDE. Between the fall of 1951 and 1954, it was sent back to the Mediterranean.
In October of 1956, the Damato rejoined the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. On June 12, 1957, it went to the International Naval Review in Hampton Roads. During the summer, the Damato engaged in training exercises in Brazil. In March of 1958, it again headed for the Mediterranean Sea. The ship toured along Levant and sailed through the Suez Canal to unite with the Middle East Forces located in the Persian Gulf. In September, it headed back to Norfolk, Virginia.
The navy removed the DDE classification and changed the USS Damato back to its original DD classification in June of 1962. The Damato was involved in the Cuban Quarantine during September of 1962. Then under the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization Program, it was involved in an eleven month conversion beginning in March of 1963.
Action in the Vietnam War
On September 2, 1967, the Damato began its tour of duty in Vietnam. It was involved in the Operation Sea Dragon. The ship returned to duty after being hit on September 13, 1967. On January 2, 1968, the Damato arrived back home in Norfolk, Virginia.
The Damato headed to Europe to be part of a NATO cruise in September of 1971. Then in January of 1972, the ship was involved in Operation Snowy Beach, which was located off the Maine coastline. Later, it started its task of being a combat ready destroyer while preparing Naval Reservists.
After the War
On September 30, 1980, the USS Damato was decommissioned and transferred to Pakistan. The Damato was renamed the Tipu Sultan. On October 1, 1980, it was removed from the Naval Vessel Register. The ship was eventually scraped in 1994.
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.