The USS Saufley was a U.S. destroyer ship that earned sixteen battle stars during World War II. Commissioned on August 29, 1942, she started her service as part of the Guadalcanal campaign.
Action in World War II
In the early months of 1943, the Saufley joined Task Force 11 and was part of the operation that took the Russell Islands. That March, the ship performed antisubmarine duties in the Solomons as well as in Noumea. On June 30, she bombarded Rendova during the Allied push to take that island. The rest of the summer was spent on assault operations and escort missions in the area. While escorting merchant ships to Espiritu Santo, the Saufley encountered the Japanese submarine RO-101 and destroyed it.
The Saufley spent the autumn on night anti-barge patrols in the Kolombangara and Choiseul area, where she sank four barges. On October 1, two crew members were killed by aerial bombs. The ship pressed on, performing escort duties to Bougainville throughout November and December.Â In February of 1944, the ship was part of the assault on the Green Islands and Emirau Island. On April 7, the Saufley sank the Japanese submarine 1-2, then joined Task Group 51.18 for Operation “Forager.” As part of this task group the ship lent fire support in the Saipan-Tinian area. Then she joined in on the invasion of Guam and supported the landings on Tinian.
After an overhaul in San Francisco, the Saufley performed antisubmarine duties in the Leyte Gulf. She chased down a Japanese submarine in the Camotes Sea and helped sink it. In November the ship had one casualty during an attack by enemy planes and returned home for repairs. Setting out again in 1945, the Saufley saw action early in January when she shot down an aircraft in the Sulu Sea and then entered the Lingayen Gulf to provide screening services during an assault. On January 31 the ship supported the landing on Nasugbu, then spent the rest of the war providing fire support and escort duties throughout the Pacific theater.
After the War
The USS Saufley was decommissioned on June 12, 1946, and was in the Reserve Fleet until 1949, when she was redesignated DDE-465, recommissioned, and assigned to search and rescue operations.Â Later, she was redesignated again to EDDE-465 and assigned to experimental testing. On July 1, 1962, the ship returned to her DD-465 designation and continued testing work. Decommissioned again in 1965, the Saufley was sunk during tests in February of 1968.
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, includingÂ 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.