USS Dashiell DD-659 (1943-1960)

The USS Dashiell was a Fletcher-class destroyer, manufactured by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in 1943. It displaced 2,050 tons, was 376′ 6″ in length, and had a beam of 39′ 7″ and a draft of 17′ 9″. Its top speed was approximately 35 knots. The Dashiell was launched on February 6, 1943, and commissioned on March 20, 1943. Its initial captain was Commander J. B. McLean.

Action in World War II

The Dashiell’s initial service was in the Pacific theater during World War II. In the summer and fall of 1943, it participated in a series of island raids, including action at Marcus Island, Tarawa, and Wake Island. In November, the Dashiell performed a more intense combat role during the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. It was one of the first ships into the lagoon at Tarawa, withstanding intense fire while engaging Japanese strong points and shore batteries in support of the invasion landings.

After a brief respite and training patrol in the Hawaiian Islands, the Dashiell returned to the Southwest Pacific to resume combat operations. In the spring of 1944, it performed various combat support roles preparing for the assault on the Marianas. Active combat continued while it provided fire support and screening for the assault landing during the Guam invasion.

Further combat operations occurred during the Morotai Island invasion, where it again screened the transports during the landing. After the invasion, the Dashiell spend the next patrol escorting convoys. In December, it joined the forces for the Mindoro invasion. During the invasion, the flagship was damaged during a kamikaze attack, and the flag moved to the Dashiell. After returning to Leyte Gulf following the invasion, it helped thwart an air attack, resulting in several wounded among its crew.

In 1945, the Dashiell saw heavy action at Lingayen Gulf. It was attributed with the sinking of several small enemy vessels, three kamikaze planes, and shore positions. In February, it joined in raids on Japan, in preparation for the forthcoming invasion of Okinawa. During the invasion, the Dashiell performed escort and picket duty, including defending against kamikaze attacks. A near miss from a bomb required it to leave action for repairs. After repairs, it operated in the Okinawa area until the end of the war.

After the War

After the war, the Dashiell saw brief duty patrolling in the Atlantic from 1951 through 1959. It was retired into the fleet reserve on April 29, 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.