USS McDermut DD-677 (1943-1965)

The USS McDermut was a destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II, and the Korean War. The McDermut accumulated ten battle stars for service during the Second World War, and five stars for Korean combat.

Action in World War II

Commissioned in November of 1943 the McDermut departed the east coast to join the Pacific Fleet in January of 1944. She traveled to Majuro to link up with carrier TF 58. She assisted with strikes against the Palaus, Ulithi, Yap, and Woleai. Following these strikes the McDermut began to escort cargo ships before returning to Pearl Harbor. In June she got underway as part of TG 52.17 for bombardment of Saipan. She was assigned fire support duty during the landings, and remained in the waters near Tanapag Harbor where she disrupted enemy demolition craft in the area. Later in the month she took up duty as an antiaircraft and antisubmarine vessel before sailing to Eniwetok to join TF 53. As part of TF 53 she assisted in bombardment of Guam before returning to the Saipan area for fire support. In September she acted as support for the Palau landings and as fire support on Angaur before undertaking patrol duty near Ulithi. Following these actions she joined the 7th Fleet in preparation for strikes against Leyte. During the strikes she screened transports, assisted in antiaircraft duty, and rescued downed pilots. During the battle of Surigao Straight she and another ship fired torpedoes which sank three enemy vessels. In the following months the McDermut screened convoys and acted as support for the attack on Mindoro. After this, she bombarded targets in preparation for strikes against Luzon. In January she returned to Ulithi for an overhaul prior to the strikes against Okinawa.  In August of 1945 she got underway for the American west coast for an overhaul. While in port she received word of the Japanese surrender and was ordered into Japanese waters for occupation duty. She returned to the San Francisco area in November, where she was decommissioned for a time.

After the War

The McDermut was once more called into action when the situation in Korea destabilized into war. She participated in a number of Korean operations until January of 1953 when she returned to San Diego. She would carry on a regular patrol schedule for the next ten years. She was decommissioned in 1965 and sold for scrap 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.