USS John D. Edwards DD-216
USS John D. Edwards, active during World War II, received her name from Lt. John D. Edwards, who died in a collision with another ship.
Patrolling the Mediterranean and Pacific
The ship was commissioned in April of 1920. In May of the same year, the ship headed to the Mediterranean Sea to protect Americans in the seas around Turkey. She stayed in Turkish waters until the beginning of May 1921, assisting in the evacuation of the area’s refugees. Soon the ship made her way to the Philippines, arriving in late June of the same year. The John D. Edwards stayed in the Far Eastern waters for the next four years. During her time there, the ship patrolled the waters, offering protection for the United States. When an earthquake struck Japan in 1923, the ship assisted the quake’s victims.
In May 1925, the ship made her way back to the United States. For the next three years, the ship primarily worked out of Norfolk. In 1927, the John D. Edwards traveled through the Mediterranean and then made her way to California. The ship was active along the West Coast until 1929, when she set sail once again for the Far East.
Action in World War II
From this point on, the John D. Edwards became an integral part of US forces guarding Asian waters. The ship and her crew were consistently training and running through practice battles. After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the ship patrolled and assisted in attempts to stop the Japanese from moving their forces further south.
In February of 1942, she attempted to cut off the Japanese forces moving south, but failed. After this, the ship, as well as three others, rained fire upon one Japanese ship, the Michishio, causing major damage to it. Later, the John D. Edwards and other Allied forces fought the Japanese yet again in the Battle of Java Sea, but Japan emerged victorious.
The John D. Edwards refueled in Surabaya and made her way to Australia where she was stationed for the next two months. In June 1942, the ship made her way back to the United States, stopping in Pearl Harbor and San Francisco before arriving in Brooklyn.
After the War
After continuing to assist in the war through convoy and training duty, eventually receiving three battle stars for her effort, the ship was decommissioned in 1945 and sold to Boston Metal in 1946.
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.