The USS Duncan DD-485 was named after naval commander Silas Duncan. It was constructed and launched by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Kearny, New Jersey on February 20th 1942. Later commissioned on April the 16th 1942, it was sponsored by Mrs. D. C. Thayer. Its captain was Lieutenant Commander E. B. Taylor.
Action in World War II
The USS Duncan made its way to the South Pacific from its original port in New York on June 20th, 1942. It joined Task Force 17 and 18 from its port in Espiritu Santo on September 14th. It left immediately to guard transports carrying reinforcements for the attack at Guadalcanal. It was attacked the next day by submarines from Japan while guarding the Wasp. The Wasp itself was so badly damaged that it was sunken by the US Navy. The USS Duncan rescued 701of its men and carried 2 bodies and 18 wounded men back to Espiritu Santo on September 16th.
The Duncan saw continued service in Espiritu Santo, acting as a guard for ships and forces. While protecting a vital convoy transport containing more Guadalcanal reinforcements on October 11th, 1942, it and the convoy preemptively attacked an enemy ship. The Furutaka, a Japanese cruiser, was hit by two of the Duncan’s torpedoes and some gun fire. During the attack, the crew was forced to abandon ship. The wounded men were put in lifeboats. 195 of the ship’s remaining men were rescued by the McCalla. It also attempted to save the USS Duncan, but it was futile. 6 miles or so to the north of Savo Island, on October 12th, 1942, it sank. The Duncan was awarded one battle star for war service.
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, includingÂ 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.