The second vessel to honor Commander Roderick S. McCook, the USS McCook (DD-496) was built by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation which was based in Seattle, Washington. She was launched on April 30, 1942 and was given the green light to join the US Navy on March 15, 1943.
This Gleaves-class destroyer was a shade over 348 inches and weighed in at 1,630 tons. She had an impressive, effective range of 6,500 nautical miles when cruising at a steady 12 knots. She was also able to go as fast as 37.4 knots thanks to four boilers and two propellers. She had a solid array of armaments. She was armed with five 5”/38 caliber guns, six 0.50 Browning machine guns and six 20 mm Oerlikon cannons. She also had ten torpedo tubes for the Mark 15 torpedoes and two depth charge tracks.
Action in World War II
With a complement of 16 officers and 260 men, she had her required shakedown in San Diego. She headed straight for Norfolk where she joined the Atlantic Fleet. There, she was given a number of assignments escorting convoys. The ship and her crew then took up advanced anti-aircraft and anti-submarine training to prepare her for European missions. She sailed with Task Group 27.8 and set sail for Britain. She then went on to undergo more training.
The McCook was involved in Operation Anvil as part of the assault on Normandy. She arrived in the conflict zone on June 6, 1944, and quickly gunned down enemy positions in the area. She successfully took out all of her assigned targets: three pillboxes, thirteen machine gun nests and three shore guns. Her crew then proceeded to take out several more enemy positions which included seven pillboxes and ten stone houses where German machine gunners and snipers had positioned themselves.
On May 30, 1945, she was converted into a destroyer-minesweeper and was reclassified as DMS-36. She conducted some minesweeping exercises and then sailed for the Pacific for some post-war assignments.
After the War
As one of the older ships in the fleet, she was placed on reserve and was again reclassified as DD-496. She was completely removed from the register in 1972 and was scrapped the following year.
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.