USS Morris (DD-417) (1939-1946)

The USS Morris (DD-147) was name for Commodore Charles Morris. The Morris was a Sims-class destroyer and she was used during World War II. The ship was built in the Norfolk Navy Yard on June 7th, 1938 and was ready for service on June 1st 1939.

Action in World War II

The Morris began in a leadership position, assigned to the Destroyer Squadron 2, and in the year 1941 she became part of the North Atlantic Patrol. When the U.S. was pulled into World War II, the ship was upgraded with the first fire control radar. The USS Morris was assigned to Task Force 17 and was on her way to Noumea. This was the destroyer’s first encounter with the enemy’s fleet. Before this engagement the ship had been assigned to protect the Navy’s carriers. From May 4th to the 8th the ship had been able to cause some damage to several of the enemy’s vessels during her protection duty of the Yorktown and the Lexington. The Lexington was damaged during the skirmish and the Morris was able to save at least 500 survivors. Her next assignment was in the Guadalcanal Campaign where she supported the carriers that were in the area. The Morris was involved in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands and was able to successfully attack 6 fighters. She saved 550 survivors from the Hornet. The USS Morris left for the southern Pacific area and offered protection and support to the military fleet during the Attu Island and Kiska battles. She was involved in the Marshall Islands campaign and was there to lead during the attack against Wotje Atoll. The destroyer was able to take out a Japanese retaliation effort that occurred from a nearby island. The ship was a part of the 7th Fleet in April 1944 and was involved in the New Guinea skirmish. She was then assigned to the assault that occurred in the Philippines. The USS Morris was one of the first vessels to be attacked by a Japanese kamikaze. The ship was located to support the troops arriving at Leyte, an island located in the Philippines.

After the War

The ship was retired on November 9th and was bought by National Metal and Steel Corporation on July 17th, 1949. She was then scrapped. The Morris was awarded 15 battle stars for her work during 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.