USS Meredith DD-726 (1943-1944)

The Meredith (DD‑726) was by Bath Iron Works Corporation in Bath, Maine. This was the third ship named after Sergeant Jonathan Meredith, a Marine Sergeant in the Barbary Wars praised for saving the life of Lieutenant John Tripe of the USS Vixen. On December 21, 1943, the ship was launched. She was commissioned on March 14, 1944, under the command of Commander of George Kauspfer. This 2,200 ton Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer was over 376 feet long and sported two propellers. She could travel at 34 knots and had a range of 6500 nautical miles. She was armed with 23 guns and 10 torpedo tubes. She has six depth charge protectors and two depth charge tracks.

Action in World War II

After her initial voyage off the shores of Bermuda she left Boston to escort a convoy to England, arriving on May 27. In June she served as an escort for transport ships preparing for the invasion of Normandy. She provided fire support for troops landing on Utah Beach on June 6. The next day she was screening for other vessels when she hit a mine directly beneath her starboard midship. Her engines were disabled and her hull was extremely warped. The Meredith was dead in the water while her crew tried to control the damage and stop the flooding of the ship. She was without propulsion so she had to be sent to port for repairs. She was moved to shallow waters to try to save her. The ship was severely damaged and limped to the Bay of the Seine. Seven of the crew were killed and fifty men were either wounded or reported as missing.

Destruction in Northern France

On June 9 German enemy planes bombed her and opened up seams in the hull. The salvage crew was quickly rescued from the ship before she broke in two and sank on the morning of June 9th, 1944. One battle star was awarded to Meredith in recognition of her service in World War II.  The sunken hull of the Meredith was sold to St. Française de Recherches of France in August of 1960. The shipwreck was raised in September of 1960 and she was scrapped.

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. References: