USS Davis DD 395 (1938-1945)

The USS Davis was the third vessel to be named after Charles Henry Davis. Born January 16th, 1807 in Boston, Massachusetts, Davis was appointed Midshipman on August 12th, 1823 and served with distinction during the Civil War after having made valuable scientific contributions to the Navy. Davis died on February 18th, 1877. The Davis was sponsored by Miss E. Davis, granddaughter of Charles Davis, and was launched on July 30th, 1938. It was commissioned on November 9th with Commander T.D. Carr in command.

Action in World War II

The Davis was assigned to Neutrality Patrol in the North Atlantic when war broke out in Europe in September 1939. In November, it sailed to Galveston, Texas to patrol the Gulf of Mexico and conduct training exercises. It patrolled the west coast from March 11th, 1940 through April 26th, 1941 when it returned to the Caribbean for patrol and escort duty. After the U.S. entered the war, the Davis continued to serve in the Caribbean as well as in Recife, Brazil with occasional voyages to Southern ports of the United States picking up crew or joining convoys. It rescued ten men from the torpedoed British ship, the Glacier on July 19th, 1942. On December 19th, 1943, it sailed from Recife, Brazil for the blockade runner Burgenland. It caught the Burgenland on January 7th, 1944 and upon arrival in Recife January 9th, it turned the Burgenland over to authorities. Escorting the Franklin, the Davis arrived in New York on April 15th, 1944. The Davis sailed for England as a convoy escort on May 14th arriving at Plymouth on May 25th. It left Milford Haven, Wales on June 5th to invade Normandy, joining a convoy en route to Baie de la Seine. It arrived at Baie de la Seine on June 7th. Five days later, it repulsed an enemy torpedo boat attack while on patrol. A possible mine explosion caused heavy damage to its port quarter on June 21st during its return trip to Baie from Davenport, England. Two days later after emergency repairs, it departed for Portland, England. The Davis arrived at Charleston, South Carolina on August 11th for permanent repairs. On December 26th, 1944 the Davis returned to convoy escort duties and had made four voyages between New York and English ports by June 21st, 1945. It arrived at Norfolk on July 10th, 1945 and remained there until it was decommissioned on October 19th, 1945. The Davis was sold on November 24th, 1947.  For its World War II service, the USS Davis received one battle star.

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. References: