USS Rowe DD-564 (1944-1974)

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Action in World War II

The Rowe was commissioned in March of 1944, and following her shakedown off the San Diego coast, she got underway to join forces at Pearl Harbor. After completion of training she ran an escort mission to and from Eniwetok before joining Destroyed Squadron 57, of which she was the flagship. The squadron reported for duty with the 9th fleet, and participated in three operations against the Kuriles, before returning to Pearl Harbor in November of 1944.

After repairs, the Rowe got underway for Ulithi as part of the escort for the aircraft carrier the Ticonderoga. In May, she joined up with the 5th fleet and left as part of a convoy for Okinawa. She performed radar picket duties off the Ryukyus and then helped escort the battleship the Mississippi away from Hagushi. She then sailed for the Philippines, reaching the Leyte Gulf in June.

At Leyte she joined up with TF 38 and began screening, and guarding planes during strikes against the Japanese home islands. After being detached in July of 1945 she bombarded Omura, and Chichi Jima before moving to rejoin her carrier group. Following the end of the war, she sailed for Pearl Harbor, and then steamed through the Panama Canal en route to Charleston where she was decommissioned in 1947.

After the War

Almost five years later, the Rowe was re-commissioned and for the next two years she participated in bombardment and hunter-killer exercises. In April of 1954, she once more sailed the Panama Canal on her way to duty in the Far East. In June, she assisted in the rescue of six airmen who were injured in a crash in waters between Korea and Japan. Following this, she returned to the Atlantic by way of the Suez Canal.

In November of 1959, the Rowe was decommissioned at Norfolk, where she remained until being struck from the Naval Roster in 1974. She was broken apart and sold for scrap in 1978.

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.

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