The USS Rogers (DD-876) was named after the three Rogers brothers who were lost in action aboard the USS New Orleans during the Battle of Tassafaronga in the Solomons in 1942. She was built at Orange, Texas and commissioned on March 26, 1945.
After shakedown off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Rogers went to Portsmouth, Virginia and underwent conversion to a picket ship. She then sailed to the Pacific via the Panama Canal, arriving at Pearl Harbor on August 5. Following the end of hostilities, she sailed to Tokyo Bay. The Rogers spent the rest of the decade making regular deployments to the Far East as part of the 7th Fleet. She was at the Eniwetok atomic bomb test in 1948. In 1949, she was reclassified as a radar picket destroyer (DDR). Also in 1949, she took part in the evacuation of Americans from China.
Action in the Korean War
During the Korean conflict, the Rogers provided shore bombardment and performed blockade and patrol missions. The ship served as “lifeguard” destroyer, first for President Truman and then President Eisenhower on flights across Pacific waters. Following the end of hostilities, the Rogers operated off the West Coast and made regular cruises to the Far East for the remainder of the decade. She assisted in the 1954 evacuation of the Tachen Islands.
Action in the Vietnam War
The Rogers again deployed for Westpac in January 1962. She participated in Formosa patrol and took part in a major amphibious exercise. Returning to the 1st Fleet in November, the ship rescued an aviator from the USS Ticonderoga who had ejected from his aircraft. In the summer of 1963, the Rogers reported to Charleston, South Carolina for modernization and reclassification as DD. She made her first deployment to Vietnam in 1966, returning to the combat zone gain in 1967.
In January 1969, while steaming to Westpac on deployment to Vietnam, the Rogers pulled alongside USS Enterprise to help fight fires on that ship’s flight deck. Two more Westpac cruises took place in 1970 and 1971. She put into Hunter’s Point, California in April 1972 to undergo regular overhaul, which was completed in August. In December, the Rogers embarked on another Westpac cruise, returning in June 1973. The destroyer earned a total of eight Battle Stars, five for service in Korea and three for Vietnam.
The Rogers was decommissioned on February 19, 1981. In August of that year, she was transferred to the Republic of Korea and served with the ROK navy until 1999. Reportedly, the ship is now a museum.
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.