USS Lamberton DD-119 (1918-1946)
The USS Lamberton (DD-119) was built by Newport News Shipbuilding Company at Newport News, Virginia. She was named after Rear Admiral Lambertson, who served in the Battle of Manila Bay. She was launched March 30, 1918, sponsored by the granddaughter of Admiral Lamberton. She was commissioned on August 22, 1918, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Frank L. Slingluff.
Her initial cruise was in the Caribbean. In the spring of 1919, Lamberton was sent to the Atlantic Fleet off of Azores. She arrived at her new base in San Diego on August 7. For the next 10 months she was involved in training exercises and maneuvers to improve naval tactics. On June 30, 1922 she was decommissioned.
The destroyer was recommissioned in mid-November of 1930 under the command of Lieutenant Commander S.N. Moore. She participated in training along the West Coast for the next two years. Then on April 16 of 1932 she was redesignated AG-21. For the next seven years she was based in San Diego and towed targets. She completed training for minesweeping. On November 19, 1940, she was renamed DMS-2.
Action in World War II
In September of 1941 she was sent to Pearl Harbor and performed antisubmarine warfare screening in the waters around Hawaii. She was acting as an escort, on her way to Oahu, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. She was sent to patrol Pearl Harbor immediately after the attack. She continued to patrol the Hawaiian Islands until mid 1942. The Lamberton left Hawaii on July 11, 1942, and was sent north to Kodiak, Alaska.
During the Aleutian campaign in the North Pacific, she was assigned patrol and escort duty. In May of 1943 she was assigned to safeguard the ships which transported reinforcement troops for the second assault at Massacre Bay. She patrolled the area until the end of June when she was sent to Kuluk Bay and then to San Diego. For the remainder of World War II she alternated between the West Coast and the Hawaiian Islands. She was classified AG-21 in mid-June of 1945.
After the War
After the war ended she was based in San Diego. She was awarded a battle star in recognition of her service to the nation in the War. On December 13, 1946 she was decommissioned at Bremerton, Washington. The Lamberton was sold in 1947 to National Metal and Steel Company as scrap.
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.