The USS Frazier DD-607 was built in 1942 in San Francisco, California. The destroyer was commissioned on July 30 and deployed to Noumea, New Caledonia, in December. She joined troop transports and provided escort duties in the South Pacific.
Action in World War II
The Frazier guarded transports to Guadalcanal, patrolled the waters of Espiritu Santo, and covered escort carriers. Deployed to Pearl Harbor in March 1943, the naval vessel participated in pre-invasion bombardment, covered landings, and patrols. In July, an attack on enemy radar destroyed the Japanese submarine I-31. Bombardments and screening duties were carried out until September 1943. After a short overhaul in Puget Sound, the Frazier was deployed to the Gilbert Islands. In November 1943, the Frazier and fellow destroyer the USS Meade attacked the Japanese submarine 7-55. During combat, the submarine was rammed and sunk by the Frazier. With a damaged bow, the naval vessel returned to Pearl Harbor for repair.
The Frazier was deployed to the Marshall Islands in January 1944 and bombarded enemy targets in Taroa, Maloelap, and Kwajalein. Her assignments also included anti-submarine patrol, escort duties, and screen coverage for the USS San Francisco, a heavy cruiser. The Frazier joined a fast carrier task force that screened during air raids on Palaus, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleal. Service assignments to the Marshall Islands continued until April 1, 1944.
Deployed to New Guinea, for a brief period, the Frazier joined another fast carrier task force and attacked Wakde, Sawar, and the Carolines. The naval vessel returned to the Marshall Islands from May 1944 through July 1944, and continued patrol duties and bombardments. A rescue mission resulted in the safe recovery of ten men who were stranded when they attempted to rescue a downed pilot. A second rescue mission off of Mille also resulted in the safe recovery of two Marine Corps pilots. Returning to Pearl Harbor for overhaul, the naval vessel provided escort duty out of Ulithi until December 1944.
In January 1945, the Frazier arrived in San Pedro Bay and participated in the invasion of Lingayen Gulf. Bombardments in Corregidor, anti-submarine patrol in Manila, escort duties, coverage for landings, and fire support were some of her assignments until she was deployed to Morotai in May 1945. The Frazier participated in the invasions of Brunei Bay and Balikpapan, and provided escort support for convoys. Deployed to Okinawa, Japan, the Frazier was assigned to the Philippine Sea Frontier for escort duty.
After the War
The Pacific War ended in August 1945. In November 1945, the naval vessel returned to Charleston, South Carolina. Twelve battle stars were awarded to the USS Frazier for service in World War II. Decommissioned in April 1946, the ship was placed in reserve before being struck from the register in 1971 and sold for scrap the next year.
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.