USS Rodman DD-456 (DMS-21)

The USS Rodman was laid down on 16 December 1940 in Kearny, New Jersey and named for Admiral Hugh Rodman. The ship was sponsored by Mrs. Albert K. Stebbins, Jr., grandniece to the Admiral. The Rodman was commissioned on 27 January 1942 under the command of Commander William Giers Michelet.

Action in World War II

The Rodman was first assigned to duty as part of Task Force 22, performing patrol duties off of Newfoundland. During this duty assignment, the Rodman performed guard services for the aircraft carrier the USS Ranger. In June 1942, she was detached from this group and used for escort service in the North Atlantic. On the 25 August, the Rodman helped sink the German mine laying ship the Novaya Zemlya. The Rodman returned to the U.S. to be retro fitted and participated in Operation Torch at the end of the year. In 1943, the Rodman spent the beginning of the year making runs to North Africa. Later in the year, she patrolled the North Atlantic. At the end of the year she provided transport to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the first part of his journey to the Tehran Conference.  1944 brought many missions for the USS Rodman. The beginning of the year was filled with trips to the African coast where she performed patrol duties and escort service. The Rodman left the African coast to steam forth to France. The Rodman provided ground support for the invasion of Omaha Beach. On 2 July 1944, the Rodman left to participate in Operation Dragoon. In late October, she returned to Boston where she was retrofitted to become a destroyer-minesweeper and reclassified as DMS-21. On 1 January 1945, the Rodman was sent to the Pacific for duty. There she performed many duties, including support for the assault on Okinawa. On 1 April 1945, the Rodman participated in providing anti-aircraft cover for the landings on Hagushi Beach. During a large air assault the Rodman was hit by a Kamikaze plane, suffering extensive damage. The destroyer continued to fight even after it was hit; 12 Japanese planes were downed in a 3.5 hour battle.

After the War

The Rodman returned to the U.S. in June for repairs and was deployed to the East Coast where she performed duties until 1955. She was re-commissioned DD-456 on 15 January 1955 and decommissioned on 28 July 1955. The ship was later sold to China where it was renamed RCS Hsien Yang DD-16. The ship ran aground in 1969. Her name and number was given to the former USS Macomb in 1970. The USS Rodman was awarded 5 Battle Stars for her WWII service.

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. Reference: