USS Noa DD 343 (1921-1943)

The USS Noa was laid down in November of 1918 and commissioned three years later in 1921. She had her shakedown training outside of her building yard in Norfolk and was moved to the home port of Charleston. While there she was an active participant in the Atlantic Coast training. She was then transferred to the Asiatic Fleet for patrolling during the Chinese Civil War to protect the American Interest in the area. She returned to the United States in August of 1929 and was sent to the Mare Island Yard for an overhaul before joining in the West Coast Operations. She was assigned as a unit in the Battle Fleet out of San Diego. She had  plane guard duties with the Langley and the Saratoga off of the coast of California and then was decommissioned in 1934 and put into reserve.

Action in World War II

In 1940, the Noa was re-commissioned with the addition of a destroyer based scout plane that replaced her torpedo tubes. The Noa spent two years on experimental assignment and served as a screen guard for the carrier the Hornet. She then participated in ASW patrols in March of 1943 and assisted in the training program of the Navy Sound School in Key West. She had convoy escort duty before being converted into a high speed transport. The Noa was then headed towards Pearl Harbor for repairs before sailing to New Britain. There she landed some of the First Marine Division. She participated in a large number of landings in the South Pacific, but while patrolling outside Paulau Islands for underwater demolition efforts, she was rammed by another destroyer.  Though repair efforts were made, the Noa was abandoned at sea.

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.