USS Lansdowne DD-486 (1942-1948)
The Lansdowne was built by the Federal Ship Building and Dry Dock Company in Kearney, New Jersey. The ship was named after Lieutenant Commander Zachery Lansdowne and was commissioned April 29, 1942, under the command of Lt. Comndr. WRS Smedberg.
Action in World War II
The Lansdowne began service patrolling of the east coast of the United States and fired at a submarine near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on July 3, 1942. Debris came to the surface and it was believed the submarine had been destroyed. Then the Lansdowne was directed to an area where a submarine had been detected. The destroyer attacked and it was later discovered that the Lansdowne had destroyed U-153.
On the way to Tonga, Lansdowne saved two people from a downed observation plane. She joined another destroyer at Tonga and provided escort for a variety of ships. The Lansdowne bombed and sank several Japanese landing barges on November 30, 1942. The destroyer attacked a target west of Koli Point, Guadacanal, the next day.
After running aground February 26, 1943, the destroyer left for San Francisco, California to be repaired. She patrolled the Aleutians from May to July and shelled Kiska Island on July 6. From September 2 until October 29 the ship worked as an escort in the Salmons and Fiji. In early November, the Lansdowne screened carriers that were attacking Buka-Bonis and Rabaul. The destroyer covered landings at 28 November 1943 at Empress and shelled Bougainville in December. She sank a Japanese cargo ship near New Hanover on February 25 and sank one ship and damaged two more the next day.
In March and April 1944, the Lansdowne operated in the central Pacific covering landings and shelling enemy shores. She participated in the Marianas operation in June and July, joining other naval vessels attacking Bonis Guam and Tinan the latter part of June. After an overhaul at Bremerton, the ship performed duties in the western Carolines from October 29 until May 5 of the next year.
After the War
Once Japan had surrendered, the Lansdowne brought Japanese officials to the battleship Missouri for the official ceremonies on September 2, 1945. She was decommissioned January 17, 1946, in Charleston, South Carolina and eventually became property of Turkey in June of 1949.
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.