The USS Roe DD-418 was constructed at the Charleston Navy Yard in South Carolina, and her namesake was Rear Admiral Francis A. Roe (1823-1901). The Sims-class destroyer, weighing 1,570 tons, was put into commission at the beginning of January in 1940.
Action in World War II
Until the summer of 1941, the Roe had duties in the eastern Pacific and the western Atlantic. After this, she was sent to the north Atlantic as the United States Navy secretly attacked German submarines. She was used as an escort during these battles. Starting in December of 1941, when America officially entered the war, she acted as an escort for convoys to the British Isles and Iceland, was on patrol between the United States and Bermuda, and took part in operations near Brazil and Trinidad.
In November of 1942, she guarded and guided amphibious shipping and gave fire support for landings during the invasion of Morocco. After acting as an escort in the trans-Atlantic and Caribbean for several more months, she participated in Sicily in allied landing in July of 1943. Off of Morocco, on the night of July 9-10th, she ran into the destroyer Swanson. Both ships were severely damaged, but somehow still managed to take part in an attack by German planes. After this skirmish, they made their way for repairs in Algeria.
The USS Roe continued escort duties in the fall and winter of 1943 between the United States and North Africa. At the beginning of 1944, she was deployed to the waters of the Pacific. Then, in the Admiralty Islands, from March until the middle of July, she helped with combat off the northern coast of New Guinea. Next she did patrol, picket, escort, and aircraft rescue duties for the next 12 months in the central Pacific. Her next duties were to help with the bombardment of Iwo Jima in December, 1944 and January 1945. She was one of the ships that sank the Japanese landing ship T-157 and fast transport T-8 on Christmas Eve 1945.
In July of 1945, she headed for the west coast for repairs. The capitulation of the Japanese occurred while she was there, so she was made inactive. She was put out of commission in October of 1945. Struck around that time, she was sold for scrap 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.