USS Fanning DD 385 (1937-1945)

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The USS Fanning was the second vessel to be named for Nathaniel Fanning. Born in 1755, Fanning served as a midshipman, commissioned during the time he operated the Bonhomme Richard by John Paul Jones. In September 1779, he served as captain of the main top winning a brilliant victory over Serapis 23.

The Fanning was built by United Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Corp., New York, N.Y and put into service in 1936, sponsored by the great-great granddaughter of Fanning, Miss Cora A. Marsh. Until April 1938, it met up with the Philadelphia at Annapolis as an escort carrying President Franklin Roosevelt to the Caribbean. The Fanning underwent a shakedown, small repairs, tests, and fitting out. When the Fanning returned to New York on May 11, it went through repair and service, joined the Battle Force in September, and accompanied the MS Kungsholm which carried the Crown Prince of Sweden.

Action in World War II

The Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 found the Fanning returning to the harbor with Task Force 8 after making a journey to Wake Island. The Enterprise (CV-6) had transported the naval Marine Corps fighter aircraft that become Wake’s only form of self-defense. The unit tried in vain to locate the adversaries and on December 8, fueled up and began its hunt for the enemy submarines. The unit made a few contacts but the initial success came from Enterprise aircraft on December 10, which sank I-170 at 23 degrees 45′ N, 155° 35 W.

During the rest of World War II, the USS Fanning was occupied with policing and escorting duties between the islands of Guam, Iwo Gima, and Eniwetok. In December of 1945, the USS Fanning was put out of commission and sold. The USS Fanning earned four battle stars for its part in WWII.

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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