The USS Edison was commissioned on January 31, 1941 under the command of Lieutenant Commander A.C. Murdaugh. In its first months, it participated in training exercises with a fleet off the east coast of the United States. Toward the end of the year it traveled to Iceland, escorting a convoy.
Action in World War II
The Edison left Norfolk, Virginia for Morocco on October 24, 1942 for the invasion of Fedhala, French Morocco. It was charged with protecting ships off the beachheads at Cape Fedhala. After it returned to Norfolk on December 1, it began escorting convoys from the eastern coast of the U.S. to northern Africa.
From mid 1943 to early 1944, the Edison was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea. In July, it supported the troops who landed at Sicily and safeguarded convoys from Algiers and Bizerte. On September 9 it was at the invasion of Salerno and guarded the minesweepers while providing fire support for the troops.
At the end of 1944, the Edison was screening the Woolsey when it forced a U-73 to surface with depth charges and fired upon it until it sank. The Edison rescued 11 survivors. In early 1944, the Edison sailed to waters off the coast of Anzio and supported the invasion troops with fire cover and escorted ships to the beaches. In February it steamed home to be overhauled.
The newly overhauled Edison was sent to the Mediterranean on May 1, 1944 to patrol the coasts of Italy. It was at the invasion of France on August 15. It continued to attack and patrol the coast of southern France and then returned to New York for an upgrade.
After the overhaul it escorted a convoy to southern France in the spring of 1945. The Edison sailed from New York to Hawaii and it was at Pearl Harbor when they received the news that the war had ended.
After the War
The Edison sailed from Nagoya in November to act as a weather station in the Aleutian Island off the coast of Alaska. The destroyer returned to San Francisco at the end of 1945. It them sailed to the east coast. It was decommissioned on May 18, 1946 and placed in reserve. It was stricken from the Navy roster in April of 1966 and finally sold for scrap on December 29, 1966.
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.