The USS McCord was a Fletcher-class destroyer built for World War II. The 376-foot ship was constructed in 1942 by San Francisco-based Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company. Commander W. T. Kenny assumed control on August 19, 1943. By November the ship joined the Pacific Fleet for operations in the Marshall Islands and the Marianas. The McCord saw continuous action, screening minesweepers and transports and providing rapid fire support near Palau, the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.
Action in World War II
By mid-March of 1944, the ship concentrated on the Solomon Islands. It escorted troops and shielded tankers to their refueling docks. The destroyer then conducted anti-submarine patrols for two weeks before arriving off New Guinea to bombard the enemy’s tank repair site.
The McCord’snext planned offensive was with the 7th Fleet in the Philippines. On October 25th, the vessel came under constant air attack, yet the McCord managed to rescue downed pilots and escape without damage. She soon moved toward Leyte where she defended Allied installations and shipping and shielded troops during landings. In early December the ship joined Task Force 38 to support landings and raid enemy shipping and installations all the way from Indochina to Okinawa. While traveling the South China Sea, the McCord and TF 38 rendered nearly 200,000 tons of enemy cargo unusable.
The TF 38 docked in Ulithi from January 23rd until February 10th, 1945. She launched strikes against Tokyo, Chichi Jima, and Iwo Jima during mid-February. March was devoted to screening for the April 1st amphibious assault on Okinawa.
After the War
When the Japanese surrendered in August, the McCord was docked in Puget Sound for an overhaul. The vessel was decommissioned in San Diego in January of 1947 and remained berthed there until recommissioning at the beginning of August 1951. The destroyer was then assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. She reported to Norfolk, Virginia, and from there operated between Halifax and the West Indies.
The McCord returned to the Pacific in January of 1953 to serve in the Korean Conflict. The destroyer served with Task Forces 77, 95, and 96 in the Yellow Sea and in the Sea of Japan, providing support for shore bombardment and fire services and engaging in exercises off Okinawa. The ship was decommissioned once again on June 9, 1954, and remained berthed in Norfolk as part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until being struck from the Naval Register in 1971 and scrapped three years later.
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.