The USS Mansfield was an Allen M. Sumner class destroyer and served in the U.S. Navy from 1944-1971. She was named for Sergeant Duncan Mansfield who was a marine in the early 1800’s and fought in the First Barbary War. After being assembled on the east coast, the Mansfield steamed west. On the way, her crew conducted training exercises. She stopped in San Diego, shortly, before heading to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Action in World War II and Korea
From Pearl Harbor, the Mansfield joined other destroyers and set out for Ulithi. In December 1944, she was on a raid when a sudden typhoon hit, capsizing three other vessels. The Mansfield rescued survivors from the other ships. At the end of December, she accompanied the Third Fleet into the South China Sea, where they continued air raids and destroyed a number of Japanese facilities and planes. In early 1945, the Mansfield continued to assist air raid missions all along the Japanese occupied territories. She was present for the formal Japanese surrender ceremonies in Tokyo Bay on August 15. She worked in the Pacific Ocean from the end of World War II and into the Korean War.
Two days after North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950, the USS Mansfield set out from Japan to South Korea. She provided escort service and gunfire into the Inchon Channel. She was fired upon, but received no damage in the assault. Later in the summer of 1950, she hit a mine and sustained damage; 27 crew members were injured. The Mansfield was sent back to Washington to be repaired in a U.S. Navy shipyard. She was sent back to Korea in late 1951 to resume duties as an escort and to provide cover fire. She worked in South Korea until the end of the Korean War. Between 1955 and 1960, she was overhauled and upgraded with new weapons and defenses.
After the War
In the summer of 1964, the Mansfield returned to the U.S. for one year until the conflict in Vietnam began in the summer of 1965. She resumed duties as an escort ship and cover fire provider through 1969 in and around Vietnam, leaving duty only to assist in recovering the Gemini XI. The USS Mansfield was decommissioned in 1971 and was sold to Argentina for parts in 1974. She earned five battle stars for WWII service, and three for Korean 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.