USS Rowan DD-405 (1939-1944)

The USS Rowan was built at the Norfolk Navy Yard and was commissioned in September of 1939. She had her first shakedown cruise in the Caribbean Sea and left Norfolk for the Pacific Ocean early in 1940. She was based in San Diego and traveled back to the Atlantic to take part in the Neutrality Patrols. The Rowan also escorted a convoy that took British reinforcements to the Far East.

Action in World War II

The Rowan arrived at Capetown only two days after the United States entered World War II. In January, she returned to the East Coast of the United States and was assigned to convoy escort duty on the coast and in the Caribbean Sea. In April of the year 1942, she was sent to escort another convoy. She left the convoy in May and headed towards Iceland where she joined Task Force 99, serving as part of the British Home Fleet.

The Rowan escorted convoys from the Atlantic to the North African and participated in the invasion of Sicily. In September, the Rowan and the battle group she was were attacked by German E-boats. She forced the boats into retreat but was sunk by a torpedo, losing 202 of her crewmembers as she went down.

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.