USS Maury DD-401 (1938-1946)
The USS Maury was a 1500-ton Gridley class destroyer that was built in San Francisco. She entered service in late summer 1938 and was part of exercises and regular fleet activities within the Pacific Ocean for several years.
Action in World War II
The Maury was at sea during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, and continued serving as an escort during most of the first year after the United States’ involvement in World War II. Then in February 1942, she took part in the raid on the Marshall Islands and helped to sink a Japanese picket boat. The Maury then went on to the Battle of Midway, where she fought alongside the Enterprise, and then to the invasion of Guadalcanal, the Battle of Eastern Solomons and finally the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands in late fall.
During the climax of the Guadalcanal hold, the Maury was assigned to a carrier destroyer fleet created to block the Japanese troops from receiving reinforcements. Then in November of 1942 the unit engaged in the fierce Battle of Tassafaronga. Although many US cruisers took serious damage during this battle, the Maury emerged unscathed. She went on to serve in the Solomons until late summer of 1943, acting as escort and taking part in two very successful surface fights.
After this, Maury did light shipyard work on the west coast and was quickly returned to the war zone just in time to take part in the Gilberts operation in November 1943. After also participating in the Marshalls invasion in early 1944, she screened aircraft carriers during raids all over the central Pacific region. During the months of September and November, her carrier escort duties continued through the Palaus operation, Pacific air strikes, and even the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Again in early 1945, Maury was part of an invasion. The invasion of Luzon and subsequent operations were her assigned duties.
After the War
After this, she slowly made her way back east, passing through the Panama Canal toward New York, arriving there in June 1945. As she was no longer required for active duty, the USS Maury was decommissioned in October 1945 and finally sold for scrap in June 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.