The USS Moffett was constructed in 1934 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Quincy, MA. Its construction was sponsored by Beverly Moffett, the daughter of Admiral Moffett, who served in the Navy and was the first Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics up until his death.
Action in World War II
The USS Moffett was commissioned in 1936 in Boston, and Newport, RI served as the Moffett’s base during her Atlantic Fleet operations from 1936 to 1941, when she joined the South Atlantic Neutrality Patrol in Brazil. Following France’s defeat, the Moffett began to operate from Puerto Rico in a defensive position against any hostile maneuvers led by the fleet of the French West Indies in Martinique and Guadeloupe. In August 1941, she left this station to protect the vessel Augusta, which was carrying President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Newfoundland for the Atlantic Charter Conference.
During the initial years of World War II, Moffett operated in the South Atlantic and the Caribbean in escort missions, during which she would return to the United States periodically, and in 1943, the Moffett made numerous trips to West Africa. In the Caribbean, the Moffett was involved in sinking a German submarine with the Jouett, another destroyer, and rescued 50 German survivors. She was involved in another attack against a German submarine north of Trinidad three month later in which she emerged victorious.
In 1944, Moffett took part in another escort convoy sailing to England for the invasion of Normandy. Following a visit to Wales and Northern Ireland, she returned to New York in May. The Moffett was involved in her final combat in August of that year, when enemy planes attacked a convoy that she was escorting to Bizerte. She attempted to dodge the torpedo attacks with tight turns, however, the planes continued to attack. Fortunately, other escorts were able to return their open fire with antiaircraft attacks. Following this encounter, Moffett returned to New York and after an escort trip to Oran in April 1945, returned to Boston for lengthy repairs.
After the War
In May, she was towed to Charleston for additional repairs, but the work was ended in August. The vessel was decommissioned in Charleston that November, and was entered into the reserve fleet. The Moffett was removed from the Navy list in January of 1947, and sold for parts in May to the Boston Metals Company in Baltimore, MD. The Moffett was awarded two battle stars for her service in World War II.
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.