The Roper was commissioned in February of 1919. After her initial shakedown off the coast of New England she sailed for the east, making stops in Gibraltar, and Malta. In July, she acted in support of the Peace Commission in the Black Sea area, carrying mail and passengers. She returned to the US in August, and then joined the Pacific Fleet in San Diego by way of the Panama Canal.
As part of the Pacific Fleet she sailed the waters near the Philippines and China until August of 1922 when she returned to California where she was decommissioned and placed in the Reserve Fleet. She was re-commissioned in March of 1930, and operated in the waters of the Pacific until 1937 when she was sent to join the Atlantic Fleet.
Action in World War II
After the outbreak of war in Europe, the Roper participated in patrols that ranged from the Yucatan channel to New England. During the “Neutrality Period” She steamed as far south as Argentina. In April of 1942, she helped to sink U-85 off the coast of North Carolina.
In April of 1944, the Roper joined the 8th Fleet at Algeria. She acted as support for the offensive campaign in Italy, and operated on patrol in the waters between Oran and Naples. In August she acted as part of the Sitka force, landing troops on Levant Island.
In January of 1945 the Roper transited the Panama Canal to join the Pacific Fleet. She headed to the Marianas by way of Hawaii, then moved on to Guam, and the Ryukyu’s. Shortly thereafter she arrived at Hagushi where she took up station. Days later, while screening a transport, she was struck by an enemy kamikaze plane and severely damaged. She returned to the US to receive repairs, however they were never completed. In October of 1945, she was struck from the Navy list and her hulk was later sold for scrap.
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.