USS Dent DD-116 (APD-9) (1918-1946)
The USS Dent’s namesake was Captain John H. Dent (1782-1823). The destroyer was constructed in Camden, New Jersey. After being put into commission in September of 1918, two months before World War I ended, it guarded a convoy headed to Ireland. It was one of many destroyers lined up across the Atlantic to guard for the NC flying boats in May of 1919.
In July of 1919, it was sent to the waters of the Pacific and stayed there doing operations until sent to prepare for decommissioning in San Diego, California in June of 1922. After being put back into commission, the Dent joined the Atlantic Fleet in May of 1930 and performed training missions until December of 1941, when the Pacific War started. After this, it was on duty in Hawaii and on the West Coast. It also was in the Caribbean and the Atlantic for a short time in 1934.
Action in World War II
The USS Dent made its way to Hawaii and joined the Saratoga, an aircraft carrier, acting as an escort at the beginning of the war against Japan. Next, it headed back to the West Coast to take part in convoys and anti-submarine training. It then was sent to help defend Alaska in the North Pacific. In January of 1943, it was called to Seattle, Washington to be overhauled to a high-speed transport. Its new hull number was APD-9.
The USS Dent was then sent to the South Pacific. It arrived in April of 1943 in the Central Solomons, and helped seize bases there. It assisted with landings at Vella Lavella, Rendova, New Georgia, and Bougainville between June and December of 1943. Next, in March and April of 1944, it participated in amphibious operations against Aitape, New Guinea, and Emirau Island. In June and July, it guarded an underwater demolition team and acted as an escort for shipping during the Marianas Invasion.
After the War
From November of 1944 until the end of the war, it was with the Pacific Fleet’s Amphibious Training Force, and in the fall of 1945 was sent to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to be decommissioned. The Dent was put out of commission in December of 1945 and sold for scrap in June of 1946.
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.