USS Patterson was a Bagley-class destroyer built in the Puget Sound Navy Yard. She was commissioned in 1937 and had her shakedown voyage during her short trip to San Francisco. She continued training while she sailed to Pearl Harbor. For three years, she performed Fleet maneuvers off of the West Coast and even in the Caribbean Sea. In early 1940 she had her base moved to Pearl Harbor and was present in December of 1941 when the Japanese attacked.
Action in World War II
For the first four months of the war, the USS Patterson patrolled the waters near the Hawaiian islands. She escorted convoys screened for the aircraft carriers and the tasks forces that they launched. She had an overhaul in May of 1942 and eventually headed South to the Guadalcanal areas in an effort to recapture those islands. She engaged in some of the surface combat with the Japanese warships in the Battle of Savo Island. She unfortunately got shelled, losing 10 crew members as a result. The Patterson also bombarded targets in Munda and participated in attacks on the Vella Lavell landings. She was damaged by a collision with the USS McCalla and returned to the United States for the necessary repairs.
She returned to the war zone in time for the Battle of Philippine Sea and the Marianas campaign. The rest of 1944 saw her patrolling in the area and raiding the Japanese bases in the Western Pacific. She also participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the Iwo Jima landings.
The Patterson was decommissioned in November of 1945 and sold for scrapping in August of 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.