The USS Schroeder (DD-501) was constructed at the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, located in Kearney, N.J. She was put into service November 11th, 1942, with Commander J. T. Bowers in charge of the ship.
Action in World War II
The ship was assigned to the Destroyer Squadron located in Pearl Harbor on July, 28, 1943. Her duty was to shield the carrier fleet that was ordered to strike Marcus Island on September 1. The Schroeder was deployed to attack Wake Island and was struck by enemy fire, though fortunately there were no deaths.
After the Wake Island incident she was sent to New Hebrides Islands to participate in military exercises. The ship then was a part of the Gilbert Islands campaign. Later on November 20 the Schroeder joined the attack fleet that hit the coast of Tarawa Atoll and supported the marines battling on land. She was ordered to rejoin her division on February 1, 1944, where it was her job to protect transport vessels and assist in the attack on Kwajalein Island. The ship stayed in the Marshall Island area for a few weeks, and was there on February 20th through the 24th to attack Maloelap and Wotje Atolls.
On March 20, the Schroeder along with her fleet attacked the enemy along the coast of Kavieng, New Ireland. On October 13, she was put to work in Panoan Island in the Philippines to protect other vessels in the area. On February 16 and 17, the Schroeder was ordered to join the Fast Carrier Task Force, which was sent to Tokyo to strike military and supply targets. The following day the attack fleet struck the Volcano Islands to get ready for the next onslaught.
The Schroeder sailed for Ulithi and then to Okinawa to protect military vessels in the area. She was able to prevent the enemy from attacking the fleet during nine separate attacks. A few days later she, along with DesDiv 49, attacked Minami Daito Shima. This action caused destruction on the ground and the enemy did not return fire.
After the War
When hostilities ended in August, the Schroeder was sent back to the U.S. east coast. On April 29th, 1946, she joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. The ship was bought by the Southern Materials Co. on January 1, 1974. She was honored with 10 battle stars for her efforts during World War II.
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.