The USS Macdonough DD-351 served in the United States Navy from 1935 to 1946. She was a 1395-ton Farragut class destroyer and was built in the Boston Navy yard. After being commissioned in March 1935, the Macdonough took her maiden voyage to Europe and then down to South Africa before she took up normal fleet operations in the Pacific Ocean. In 1939, she found a home at Pearl Harbor, where she was moored on the infamous date of December 7th, 1941.
Action in World War II
After the attack on the harbor, the Macdonough was used in several escort and patrol duties in and around the south Pacific. During the US’s first offensive movement of the war, she operated alongside the USS Saratoga for several weeks and was a major contributor in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons as well as the historic battle with a Japanese submarine which eventually led to the Saratoga being torpedoed.
During the last three months of 1942, the Macdonough moved on to support the Guadalcanal Campaign, again with escort services and shore bombardment. Early in 1943, she underwent an overhaul before joining up with the Aleutian Islands campaign. Unfortunately, this campaign caused massive damage to the ship, which landed her back in the shipyard until fall of that year. Once she was repaired, she was sent to be a part of the invasions of Makin and Marshall Islands until February of 1944. On February 15, the Macdonough added another trophy by assisting another vessel in sinking the Japanese submarine RO-40.
Directly after this, Macdonough was part of the central Pacific strikes and New Guinea assaults on amphibious vehicles. Again, she assisted in sinking a Japanese submarine, the RO-45. Her career during this time was spent supporting demolition teams, shore bombardment, doing anti-submarine patrols and as an escort carrier. In late 1944, she stood guard in Philippine waters, shepherded transports and escorted logistic shipping. In early 1945 she acted as a radar ship and escort in both the central and Western Pacific.
After the War
Immediately after World War II ended, she returned to the United States. She was then decommissioned in October of that year, and sold for scrapping in December of 1946.
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.