USS Ross DD 563 (1944-1959)
The USS Ross (DD-563) was named for Captain David Ross who commanded a ship in the Continental Navy. She was commissioned on February 21, 1944 under the command of Commander Benjamin Coe.
Action in World War II
The Ross’ first mission attached her to a carrier group on the way to Saipan to join the Marianas Campaign. From June 14th to the 19th, she provided support for air attacks and the other vessels in the vicinity. She was then sent to aid in the escort of replacement troops and aircraft coming in from Eniwetok.
In August of that year, she was sent to the Solomons in preparation for the Palau operation. In September ,she was sent to Peleliu to provide protection and support for larger ships as they attacked the proposed landing beaches. During this time, she was given the task of closing off beaches in protection of Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT’s) as they cleared the way for the landings to come. On the night of September 14th, she fired upon Ngesebus Island and patrolled for enemy vessels in the area. During her patrols, she located and fired upon enemy observation posts in the vicinity. Once troops began to storm the beaches, she provided fire support and protection from the water.
Later that month, she once again covered for Underwater Demolition Teams as they cleared a path around the shores of Asor, Fallalop, and Soclen. Upon completion of the underwater clearing, she provided cover for the landings there. In October, after spending time transporting Naval dignitaries to and from militarized zones, she was sent to Dinagat Island to cover landings on Black Beach 2. This included providing cover for a minesweeping and hydrography unit in the area. After striking a mine, and receiving much damage from other mines in the vicinity, she was towed in by other ships in her unit. To prevent sinking, she was able to dump several tons of ammunition and shift deck weight to one side to compensate for a sever list. While in port, she sustained further damage from air raids, but was finally underway again in December.
After the war she served for several years in peace keeping capacities and rarely saw action after that. She was decommissioned on November 6, 1959 and struck from Naval Lists on December 1, 1974. She received five battle stars for her war 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.