The USS Monaghan DD 354 was constructed at the Boston Navy Yard and laid down on November 21, 1933. The vessel was launched on January 9, 1935 and officially commissioned on April 19, 1935 under the command of R. R. Thompson.
Action in World War II
The Monaghan was sent to the North Atlantic for training operations and served in World War II starting with the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941 where the ship was on ready duty and assisted the Ward during the Japanese air raid. The Monaghan sank an enemy submarine, served in patrol duty, and assisted in operations near Wake Island in the next few weeks after the attack.
The Monaghan went on to serve in patrol operations while based in Pearl Harbor. In 1942, the ship headed to the South Pacific and fended off Japanese efforts in New Guinea and Port Moresby. Later that year, the ship was used to transmit vital messages and search for survivors of ships sunken by the Japanese before returning to Pearl Harbor. The vessel went on to participate in the Battle of Midway, sinking a number of enemy ships and damaging enemy submarines.
Following success at the Battle of Midway, the Monaghan returned to Pearl Harbor and was then sent to the Aleutians to counter Japanese attacks. The ship went on to escort a convoy to the west coast. The Monaghan then returned to the South Pacific in November of 1942. After receiving repairs, the ship went on to participate in the Battle of the Komandorski Islands in the spring of 1943.
Later that year, the ship performed escort duty from Pearl Harbor to San Francisco and protected convoys as part of the invasion of Tarawa. The Monaghan continued to perform escort and transport duty. The ship was then a part of the bombardment on Parry Island in early 1944, before returning to escort duty, this time in the Marshall Islands.
The Monaghan participated in strikes on Palau, Woleai, and Yap and the invasion of Saipan. The ship went on to perform patrol and escort duty and was involved in the defeat of the Japanese in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and assisted in activity in Guam.
Following training operations in Hawaii and California, the Monaghan returned to escort operations. A typhoon during escort operations sunk The Hull (DD-350), Spence (DD-512) and the Monaghan, claiming 790 lives on December 18, 1944.
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.