USS Luce DD-522 (1943-1945)
The USS Luce was a Fletcher class destroyer that was built in Staten Island, New York. She was commissioned in June of 1943 and took shakedown cruises before she headed to the Pacific War in the early months of fall.
Action in World War II
She occupied the Alaskan and Aleutian areas from the time she arrived in the Pacific until the late summer months of 1944. She assisted with the shore bombarding of the Kurile Islands that the Japanese had placed shore facilities on. After she completed this duty she sailed into the warmer waters of the South Pacific. She arrived in October of that year and participated in the invasion of Leyte. She served the rest of 1944 as an escort on the Admiralty Islands, performing patrol duties which would prove to be uneventful for the most part.
Early in 1945 the USS Luce took part in the amphibious landings in the Lingayen Gulf. She was a part of the large fleet that supported the invasion of Okinawa, one of the major turning points of the Pacific War. She was assigned to radar picket duty, where she was responsible for warning the fleet of incoming air raids from the Japanese airplanes.
Destruction in the Kerama Islands
The USS Luce came under attack on the day of May 4, 1945, and was struck by a bomb from a kamikaze plane, downing the ship’s power system. That made her target for a second suicide plane that hit her amidships and cause her to sink, killing 126 men aboard. She was awarded five battle stars for her service.
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.