USS Ludlow DD-438 (1940-1951)
The USS Ludlow (DD-438) was named for Augustus C. Ludlow, who was second in command to Captain James Lawrence. The ship was commissioned March 5, 1941, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Claude H. Bennett Jr. Her commission fell right in the height of the conflict with Germany.
Action in World War II
Her first mission was to assist in the convoy of ships to the British Isles. After the attack on Pearl Harbor her convoys were lengthened and took her to more ports in Europe and Africa. During one of her convoys she was attacked by French ships and was damaged as a result. Fortunately help soon arrived and she was able to escape and head into port for repairs.
After running convoys to Casablanca, she stayed in the Mediterranean for the invasion of Sicily. In August of that year she brought down her first enemy aircraft. In September she took part in an invasion of Italy and led an assault wave to Salerno. After more convoy duty she aided Allied troops on their storming of Anzio. The Germans countered fiercely; however, the Ludlow remained victorious. She downed two bombers, a fighter and several missiles. After some damage she was forced to withdraw from the fighting and head in for repairs, after which she returned to the area for antisubmarine patrols. In May she was able to force an enemy U-boat to surface after an attack of depth charges and successfully sink the U-boat.
In August she cruised to the waters of southern France to aid in the invasion. While there she took part in overcoming the final resistance in Marseilles. Later, while patrolling Morocco, she came across floating mines and several other unique attack methods such as human torpedoes. After capturing some of the torpedoes’ operators, she was able to complete her mission. After the surrender of Japan she completed several peaceful missions in both U.S. and foreign waters.
After the War
The USS Ludlow was decommissioned on May 20, 1946 only to be decommissioned in 1950. After this she served in reserve status for a while and was finally decommissioned permanently on January 26, 1951 and transferred to the Royal Hellenic Navy. She received six battle stars for her service in World War II.
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.