USS Monssen DD 436 (1941-1942)

The USS Monssen (DD-436) was named for Mons Monssen who was awarded a Medal of Honor. The USS Monssen was commissioned on March 14, 1941 under the command of Lieutenant Commander R. N. Smoot. She reported to the Atlantic Fleet for duty in June of the same year as a member of the 22nd destroyer division.

Action in World War II

The Mossen’s first five months with the division was spent in northwest Atlantic waters on neutrality patrol. In December, her patrols turned more serious and continued until February of the following year, when she was sent for an overhaul before being sent to the pacific fleet. Her first mission was to escort the carrier the Hornet in antisubmarine duty. This mission took them to “Shangri-La” to deliver Lt. Colonel J. H. Doolittle’s B-25’s. Upon completion of this mission, she joined two other ships in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Unfortunately, she saw no action, as the ships did not reach the area until the fighting was already over.

In May, she set way for Midway to aid in impeding the enemy efforts to advance on that base. The USS Monssen was an integral part in the Allied forces victory at Midway. This was a major turning point of the war. After the Battle of Midway the vessel rested in port at Pearl Harbor before leaving on her next mission.

Her next tour took her to the Japanese occupied Solomons. She had two main targets: Guadalcanal and Tulagi. With the help of the USS Buchanan, the Monssen was able to hold off Gavutu and Tanambago. While cruising around those islands she provided support to the 2nd Marine Regiment as the Navy began amphibious assaults.

Following this, she aided in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. In September she was part of a blockade to prevent Japanese resupply. The USS Monssen engaged the fleet and as a result was damaged beyond repair. Soon the abandon ship order was given. Several crewmembers climbed back aboard and were able to rescue trapped servicemen. Later that afternoon, on November 13, 1942,  the Monssen sank. She received four 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.