USS Long DD-209 (1919-1945)
The Long (DD‑209) was built by William Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Long was commissioned on October 20, 1919 under the command of Commander A. B. Cook. Her shakedown took her down the Atlantic coast. Her first transatlantic voyage was to the Mediterranean in late 1920. In early 1921 she was sent to the Philippines to patrol the South China Sea. In July of 1922 she was sent back to the West Coast of the United States. In San Diego, at the end of the year, she was decommissioned.
The Long was recommissioned in March of 1930 under the command of Lieutenant Commander William J. Butler. She was stationed in San Diego for the next 10 years. In 1940 she was overhauled to become a destroyer minesweeper and was redesignated DMS‑12 in November.
Action in World War II
She left Pearl Harbor to escort the Indianapolis on December 5, 1941, and the Japanese bombed the port two days later. She came back to Pearl Harbor to patrol for submarines. She was on escort duty there until June of 1942. At the end of June she went to Alaska. She was in a collision due to heavy fog on July 27 and was sent to San Francisco to be repaired. She then returned to Alaska to patrol the northern Pacific.
The Long took was part of the operation to overtake Amchitka in early 1913. Afterwards she was assigned to the operation to invade Attu and preformed minesweeping in the area. The Long went to San Francisco to be overhauled in September of 1944. She was then sent to Hawaii until January 1944 when she escorted vessels to the Marshall Islands and then went to onto New Guinea. In early March, she performed minesweeping duties in the Admiralties.
She continued to serve in the Pacific until September of that year, participating in the bombardment of Guam in July and Guadalcanal in August. Then she also joined the 7th Fleet to invade the Philippines. On October 17 she entered the Gulf of Leyte. She cleared mines in the Channel and swept Surigao Strait. She was in the Leyte Gulf until the end of October. She then went to Manus for repairs.
Destruction in the Philippines
In early 1945, she was attacked in the Mindanao Sea as the Japanese tried to forestall the invasion of Luzon. The Long began a dangerous mission in the Lingayen Gulf on January 6. A kamikaze plane hit her portside and the crew abandoned ship to be rescued by the Hovey. After a second plane hit the Long, she capsized and sank. The next day, the Hovey was torpedoed and sunk.
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.