USS Davison DD-618 (DMS-37)
On February 26th, 1942, the USS Davison was constructed by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, based out of Kearny, New Jersey. It was a Gleaves-class destroyer, with 1,630 tons of displacement. After being launched on July 19th, 1942, it was commissioned on September 11th, 1942 under the command of Lieutenant Commander W.C. Winn.
After completing shakedown and training exercises, it shipped out of New York with a convoy of transports that were carrying reinforcements and provisions to French Morocco. The Davison conducted two more convoy missions, one on February 8th to North Africa, and one on June 22nd, 1943 to Oran, Algeria.
Action in World War II
After completing its escort to Oran, the Davison was assigned to Task Force 85, with which it participated in the invasion of Sicily on July 10th, 1943. After finishing its work there, the Davison remained in the area for a few months, serving as an escort in the shipping lanes. On July 8th, the USS Davison sailed to New York, where, after a brief stop for supplies, it was ordered on another escort voyage to Bizerte.
The USS Davison finally saw wartime action on November 6th, 1943. Task Force 85, stationed near Algiers, came under attack by German airplanes. The Davison succeeded in shooting down one enemy plane, and also aided a ship that was hit by a torpedo, the USS Beatty. After the encounter, the ship sailed back to New York on January 24th, 1944. In the remainder of 1944 and through 1945, the Davison made several more convoy voyages, one to Naples, Marseilles, and the other to Scotland and North Ireland.
The Davison was reclassified as DMS-37 on the 23rd of June, after it was converted into a minesweeper during a stay at the port in Charleston, South Carolina. After the retrofit, it remained in the Chesapeake Bay area for several months conducting training exercises. After completing training, it was ordered to the Yellow Sea, where it swept mines and was placed on occupation duty until March of 1946.
After the War
After some time spent patrolling the Pacific, and porting at Eniwetok, Guam, and Pearl Harbor, the Davison was decommissioned on June 24th, 1949. Eventually, it was taken off of the Navy Register on January 15th, 1972 and sold as scrap metal on August 27th, 1973.
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.