On July 8, 1918, the USS Ellis was laid down in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by William Cramp and Sons. It was launched on November 30, 1918 and on June 7, 1919, the USS Ellis was commissioned.
Between June 16, 1919 and August 15, 1919, the Ellis was sent out towards the Black Sea for its first tour. The ship’s mission was to transport Food Administration officials participating in famine relief efforts as well as American and British officers between Batum, Russia, Varna, Bulgaria, and Constantinople, Turkey.
The Ellis was placed in reserve between September 29, 1920 and March 16, 1921 in Charleston, South Carolina. It was then sent to Newport, Rhode Island to test torpedoes. The ship returned to Charleston, South Carolina in October of 1921. Later, the Ellis was sent to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The ship arrived on February 27, 1922. On June 17, 1922, it was placed out of commission until May 1, 1930.
The Ellis toured the eastern coast along Cuba and Panama, accompanied by the Scouting Fleet. Starting in March of 1932 and ending in October of 1932, the Ellis engaged in exercises between San Francisco and San Diego. It participated in a search for an airship called the Akron. The USS Ellis discovered the wreckage along the coast of New Jersey. In addition, the Ellis participated in training exercises involving the Naval Reserve. On September 8, it left New York and made its way to Key West.
The following year, the USS Ellis was sent to Hawaii and Alaska to engage in training operations. On June 7, 1936, the ship headed toward Miami to participate in reserve training duty. On December 16, 1936, the Ellis was decommissioned in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
On October 16, 1939, the USS Ellis was re-commissioned. The ship patrolled the eastern coastline between Charleston and Norfolk focusing on antisubmarine warfare. On June 22, 1941, the USS Ellis left Newport, accompanying transports to the Ireland occupation. Between March of 1943 and the spring of 1944, the Ellis completed multiple escorts to Northern Africa and Ireland.
In Norfolk, Virginia, the USS Ellis was once more decommissioned on October 31, 1945. It was removed from the Naval Vessel Register on November 16, 1945. On June 20, 1947, it was sold and scrapped.
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.