The USS Goff was commissioned at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard on January 19, 1921, commanded by Lieutenant Rodman D. DeKay. She spent her first few years of service engaged in battle training and other exercises in the Caribbean and Atlantic.
Between the Wars
In the September of 1922, this destroyer was assigned to serve with the Atlantic Fleet in European waters. She departed Norfolk on October 14 and cruised mostly around the eastern portion of the Mediterranean Sea, visiting ports located in Romania, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, and Bulgaria. This was during a period where there was a great deal of turmoil in the eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans. Turkey and Greece were at war and the Goff was tasked with evacuating and caring for refugees from this conflict.
She spent most of the latter half of the 1920s performing training exercises in the Atlantic and Caribbean. When the revolution began in the area of the Caribbean in 1933, the Goff protected the Americans who were unlucky enough to be in Cuba during that time. She departed Cuba on the second day of April in 1934. The Goff resumed her maneuvers in the Atlantic until November of 1935, when she joined the United States’ Pacific Fleet in San Diego. After nearly four years of operation on the West Coast, she returned to New England.
Action in World War II
The Goff was patrolling the Panama Canal when the U.S. entered World War II. She remained in the Caribbean and protected Allied convoys from German U-boats, stopping at port just long enough to refuel. After an overhaul, she departed for an anti-submarine patrol across the Atlantic in July of 1943. The convoy she traveled with sank eight U-boats in the process of two trans-Atlantic crossings, for which the Goff was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. She spent the rest of the war performing escort duties in the Caribbean and Atlantic.
After the War
After a brief stint in Key West, the Goff was taken to Philadelphia in 1945. She was stricken from the Navy’s register on August 13, 1945 and scrapped in November of 1947. In addition to the Presidential Unit Citation, she also earned two battle stars for her service in the war.
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.