The USS Kendrick, a Benson class destroyer, was built by Bethlehem Steel Company in San Pedro, California. On September 12, 1942, the Kendrick was commissioned under the command of Lieutenant Commander C.T. Caufield.
Action in World War II
The Kendrick left San Diego to sail to Casco Bay, Maine, arriving there are the end of 1942. She was sent to Maine for antisubmarine warfare exercises. In mid-January made a voyage to Morocco. Upon her return to New York she was assigned patrol, escort, and training duty from Norfolk to Canada. She once again sailed to North Africa, escorting a vessel to Algeria.
Upon her return she was in port for only three days in New York when she was sent to the Mediterranean, safeguarding a ship which carried the famous 45th Infantry Division. She was off the coast of Sicily during the invasion of the island in July. After a month back in New York she returned to Algeria. On September 2nd, she was attacked by a German plane. She was hit by one of the torpedoes from the plane and sustained damage, but her crew was unharmed.
Some repairs were made at Oran, Algeria, and then she was towed to Norfolk, arriving at the end of October. The repaired Kendrick’s next voyage was as an escort to the United Kingdom. She then returned to the Mediterranean to support the troops fighting in Italy. In mid-August she left Palermo to aid in the invasion along the French coast. She supported the troops who stormed the beaches and fired on gunners and ammunition dumps in southern France. Once the bombardment was finished she sailed to Boston, arriving on September 19.
In January of 1945, the Kendrick was sent back to the Mediterranean to support troops fighting in Europe. She rescued the crew from downed planes, provided cover fire, escorted vessels and patrolled the Mediterranean until the end of the war, four months later.
After the War
On May 15, the Kendrick steamed back to New York for repairs. After going to Cuban waters for training exercises, she was sent to Pearl Harbor where she was involved in training exercises. She returned to the United States and put in at Charleston, South Carolina, on October 16. She was decommissioned on March 31, 1947, and placed in the reserves. The Kendrick’s final duty was to be used in destruction tests in 1966.
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.