The USS Endicott, built by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation, was commissioned on February 25, 1943 under the command of Lieutenant Commander W.S. Heald.
The destroyer’s first voyage was off the coast of San Diego. It was then sent to the Atlantic Fleet and escorted convoys to Trinidad, Panama, Ireland, Africa during its year there. On May 24, 1944, while preparing for the European invasion it collided with a freighter and was sent to Cardiff, South Wales for repairs.
Action in World War II
After repairs were completed, the Endicott rejoined the Atlantic Fleet and helped to prepare for the attack on southern France. British gunboats joined the destroyer as they successfully attacked the enemy at La Ciotat. It sank a German boat and rescued the British gunboats by destroying two German corvettes. Afterwards, it remained off the coast of southern France to escort convoys to Corisca and Salerno.
The Endicott was overhauled and went through refresher training until the end of 1944. The next month it sailed past Bermuda to escort the Quincy, who had President Roosevelt on board, from Yalta to New York. In April, it was sent to the Charleston Navy Yard to be converted to a minesweeper. After its conversion, it was assigned to duties in the Pacific, but by the time it reached San Diego the Japanese had surrendered.
After the War
The Endicott was dispatched to Okinawa with Task Force 52 beginning at the end of September in 1945. Its mission was to sweep the Yellow Sea and rid it of mines. It also was a minesweeper in the Inland Sea and Kure area.
Action in the Korean War
After an overhaul in mid 1945 it was sent to San Diego for patrols and training exercises. When the Korean War broke out it steamed to Korea. It patrolled the coast to support the minesweeping operation.
The Endicott was overhauled in San Diego and then was sent back to Korea for a second tour. Its duties were patrolling and bombarding the shore. In mid 1952 it was sent to Long Beach for updating. The next year it was sent back to the Far East and then returned to Long Beach in August. At that point it participated in exercises in local water.
The Endicott was decommissioned on August 17, 1954 and put into the reserve fleet at San Diego.
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.