The USS MacKenzie was a Benson class destroyer built in San Pedro, California. She was commissioned in November of 1942 and sent to the Atlantic Ocean in early 1943 to start her first duties.
Action in World War II
That first duty was escorting ships on the coast, but she was also sent on Atlantic Ocean convoy duty. She recorded one submarine sinking to her credit, a German sub called the U-182, after expending a number of depth charges. She then supported the invasion of Sicily in July of 1943 and began escorting convoys in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. In 1944 she was given time out from the important duty of escorting to help with the combat operations in mainland Europe.
In the early part of the year, she performed screening and antisubmarine duties with the Anzio operation in Italy, then provided support for Operation Dragoon in southern France. After repairs, she returned to the Mediterranean to bombard the border between France and Italy, blockade the Gulf of Genoa, and perform convoy duty in the Strait of Gibraltar. She remained in the area even after Germany surrendered.
After the War
The MacKenzie returned to the U.S. in July preparation for a tour in the Pacific, but with the cessation of hostilities in August, she was instead sent to the Charleston Navy Yard and decommissioned in February of 1946. The next year, she was placed in the reserve fleet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she remained until being struck from the Register in 1971 and sunk during fleet exercises in 1974.
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.