USS Nicholas DD 449 (1942-1970)
The USS Nicholas was made by the Bath Iron Works Corporation on 3 March 1941 in Bath, Maine. The Nicholas was sponsored by Mrs. Edward B. Tryon who was a direct descendant of the namesake of the vessel, Major Samuel Nicholas. Its official commission was on 4 June 1942.
The commander of the Nicholas was Lieutenant Commander W.D. Brown. Its displacement was 2,050 tons with a length of 376’6″. Its beam was 39’8″ with a draft of 17’9″. It could reach speeds of up to 37 knots. The complement of the USS Nicholas was 319 officers and enlisted men.
Action in World War II
The Nicholas’ fate was to serve in 3 armed conflicts in the Pacific. It was assigned to DesRon 21. It arrived at Espiritu Santo on 24 September 1942 through the Canal and Central Pacific. Once there, its duties entailed escorting supplies and troops to Guadalcanal.
In 1943, the USS Nicholas began screening duty of the convoys, and guarding the convoys as they off loaded. It was periodically switched to offensive duties as well. On these offensive duties it had to conduct antisubmarine killer missions.
The Nicholas served as part of the Cactus Striking Force (TF67). On this task force it resisted the Japanese. On 1 February 1943 the Nicholas covered the 2nd Battalion, 132nd Infantry as they arrived at Verahue. As the Nicholas started back to Tulagi it was attacked by 14 “Vals”. It underwent an extensive attack. It was able to escape with only near misses, lost only two of its crew, and sustained damage to its steering apparatus.
The Nicholas received repairs and resumed its duties. On April 1943 it joined TF18. 1943 saw the Nicholas participate in various bombardments. It also participated in TG50.1 when raids took place on Kwajalein and Wotje. After this it reported for duty with the 7th Fleet with DesRon 21. Its service also saw the shelling of Medina Plantation with the 3rd Fleet.
The USS Nicholas was also part of TG78.7 and TG77.1. In 1945, it joined TG77.3. It guided mine sweepers and performed numerous escorts. The Nicholas was awarded with 16 battle stars for its service in World War II, and 5 battle stars for its service in the Korean Conflict. It was officially decommissioned on 30 January 1970. It was eventually sold for scrap metal in October of 1970. During its career, the Nicholas earned over 30 battle stars.
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.