USS Dunlap DD 384 (1937-1945)

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The Navy vessel, the Dunlap, was named after Brigadier General Robert Dunlap. The vessel was launched on April 18, 1936, at the United Shipbuilding and Dry Dock in New York City, New York. The ship was sponsored by the widow of Brigadier General Dunlap, Mrs. Robert H. Dunlap. On June 12, 1937, the Dunlap was commissioned by the Navy and command of the vessel was given to Commander A. E. Schrader. The USS Dunlap received 6 battle stars for its service in World War II.

The USS Dunlap had training duty off the east coast of the United States and its most memorable mission came in June of 1938 when it escorted the SS Kungsholm, a Swedish ship that was bringing the Crown Prince of Sweden to visit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Dunlap then sailed to the west coast of the United States where it served until sent to Pearl Harbor on April 2, 1940.

Action in World War II

It came to Pearl Harbor on December 8, 1941 and stayed near the Hawaiian Island until January 11, 1942. It was used by fighter planes for air strikes on the Marshall Islands until February 5. It participated in the Wake Island raid on February 24 and returned to the Hawaiian area, keeping the seaways clear of enemy ships until March 22 when it was used to escort naval convoys to the west coast of the United States until October 22, 1942.

The Dunlap was sent to Noumea, New Caledonia for patrol duty and arrived there on December 5, 1942. It was then sent to Guadacanal and escorted convoys to Fiji, Tonga, and New Hebrides Islands until arriving on July 30, 1943 to begin patrol duty near the Solomons Islands. There it participated in the Battle of Vella Gulf, on August 6 when it sailed with 5 destroyers to stop the Japanese from adding reinforcements to Kolombangara. The Battle of Vella Gulf allowed the Duncan to show its torpedo power and the destroyer’s convoy sank 3 Japanese destroyers while suffering no damage whatsoever.

The USS Dunlap was sent to San Diego for refitting and stayed there until it was deployed for duty at Adak on November 23, 1943. On December 16, 1943, it was sent to Pearl Harbor where it was a part of the 5th Fleet used for strikes on the Marshall Islands. In March of 1944, it was sent to Fremantle, Australia to join with the British Eastern Fleet, making strikes on the Soerabaja area of Java on May 17. It was again sent back to Pearl Harbor and arrived there on June 10.

On July 7, 1944, the Dunlap took President F.D. Roosevelt to Pearl Harbor and later to the Alaskan naval bases. After a brief stay back in Pearl Harbor, the Dunlap attacked Wake Island on September 3. On October 9, it was part of the attack on Marcus Island.

When the attacks against the Japanese began in full force, it joined with fighter plane strikes and was part of the attack on Iwo Jima on both occasions, November of 1944 and January of 1945. It remained in Iwo Jima and on June 19 sank a Japanese ship and collected 52 survivors. On August 31, Japanese officers boarded the USS Dunlap to sign a treaty of surrender of the Bonin Islands.

After the War

The USS Dunlap was later sent to Houston, Texas, to be part of their Navy Day. It was then sent to Norfolk until December 1945 when it was decommissioned. On December 31, 1947, the USS Dunlap was sold.

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.


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