The USS Newcomb was built in March of 1943 and was commissioned later on that same year. She left the Boston Navy Yard and had shakedown training in the West Indies. She arrived at the Marshalls Islands in April of 1944 and patrolled for submarines for two months off the coast of the Japanese held atolls. She participated in the assault on Saipan and served as the flagship of the screening vessels. She also provided fire support, sinking a Japanese submarine and a halting Japanese banzi attack.
The Newcomb then served in a fire support and bombardment group during the assault on the Palaus Islands. She became the flagship for Destroyer Squadron 56 which operated in the Leyte invasion. She had active surface combat duty in the Battle for Leyte Gulf. During this, she launched her torpedoes, successfully striking the Yamashiro. The Newcomb also towed the Albert W. Grant, another destroyer that had been heavily damaged in this battle.
The Newcomb participated in frequent attack against the Japanese aircraft from the islands near her. She fought off a heavy enemy attack from the air while working with a convoy and lent fire support during the invasion of Iwo Jima. In April of 1945, the Newcomb was attacked by over forty Japanese aircrafts. She managed to shoot down some of the planes, but sustained five hits herself. Though eighteen crewmen were lost, the ship stayed afloat.
The Newcomb was decommissioned in November of 1945 and was sold for scrap in October 1947.
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.