USS Rhind DD 404 (1939-1946)
The USS Rhind (DD-404) was commissioned on November 10, 1939. Commander G. R. Cooper captained the ship.
Action in World War II
During the first 6 months of 1941, the Rhind worked as a carrier escort and participated in fleet exercises. In June, she joined TF 1 for the summer and worked Neutrality Patrol in the North Atlantic. She escorted the Augusta (CA-31) to Newfoundland with President Roosevelt en route to the Atlantic Charter conferences. Afterward, she escorted the HMS Prince of Wales, with Prime Minister Churchill on board, to Iceland. On August 17, she once again took on patrol duty off the coast of Newfoundland.
The Rhind escorted the Yorktown (CV-5) to Halifax in November. Then, she became an escort for a Halifax-Capetown convoy. She escorted the Ranger (CV-4) to Trinidad on November 27. They arrived on December 3. Four days afterward, the United States of America entered World War II.
Next, the Rhind patrolled waters off Bermuda. Throughout March, she escorted Icelandic convoys. On April 23, she conducted her very first depth charge attack upon a German submarine. In Iceland on May 15, she became a part of TF 99 and operated with them for the following three months, aiding the British Home Fleet in their hunt for German units working out of Norway who were trying to intercept convoys to Arkhangel and Murmansk.
The Rhind arrived off the coast of Morocco on November 7. On November 8, she shelled Vichy vessels trying to repel the invasion of North Africa, and she blasted shore batteries. At Hampton Roads on November 20, she resumed escort duty and guarded convoys heading to North Africa into 1943.
After the War
From January to March 1945, the Rhind continued escort duty. On September 2, she steamed to Pagan Island. The Japanese surrendered there to Commodore Vernon F. Grant. On September 16, she headed for Iwo Jima, where she patrolled on rescue station through November 2. On December 30, she arrived at San Diego and was stripped and sent back to Pearl Harbor to be prepared for experimental testing. On May 15, the Rhind joined Joint Task Force 1 for the atomic tests set to detonate in July. Highly contaminated but surviving the tests, she was decommissioned on August 26, 1946 and sent to Kwajalein. There, after receiving radiological clearance and passing further examinations, she was sunk on March 22, 1948. Her name was then struck from the Navy list on April 5, 1948. During World War II, she earned four 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.