USS Sicard DD-346 (1920-1945)
The USS Sicard DD-346 began to be built on June 18, 1919, in Bath, Maine, at the Bath Iron Works. She was christened by Mrs. M.H. Sicard – daughter-in-law of the gentleman for whom she was named, Rear Admiral Sicard – on April 20, 1920. The USS Sicard was commissioned on June 9, 1920, with Lieutenant J.K. Davis as first temporary commander. Her permanent commander was Lt. Comdr. G.C. Dichman, and he took over on June 26.
Between the Wars
The Sicard first joined with the Destroyer Squadrons of the Atlantic Fleet in Newport, Rhode Island. Until 1922, the she sailed the waters around the Mediterranean, China, Japan, Philippines and the West Indies. She was repaired several times at the Brooklyn naval yards and at the end of August 1923, was sent to take supplies to the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama in Japan following a violent earthquake. The Sicard stayed off the Asiatic coast until she was ordered to return home in 1929. There she again joined with the Destroyer Squadrons a part of the United States Battle Fleet and plied the west coast of the United States doing various duties to protect her country until May of 1935.
Then, the Sicard was smashed by the destroyer USS Lea while participating in Fleet Problem XVI off of Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii. She was towed by the USS Rail to Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for extensive repairs. It was decided that she would be changed into a minelayer and her conversion occurred on June 20, 1937, when she was classified a DM-21. She did her job off the coast of Hawaii until 1941.
Action in World War II
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The Sicard didn’t have the ammunition to defend her station, but sent crew members to nearby cruiser and destroyers to man the guns there. She was given a complete overhaul on January 28, 1942, and deployed to Oahu looking for enemy submarines. The Sicard continued to lay mines in various strategic areas including off the Alaskan coast, but sustained another collision and was returned to San Francisco for repairs.
For the remainder of the war, the USS Sicard continued to be used both as a destroyer and as a minelayer until decommissioned on November 21, 1945. She was sold as scrap metal to Hugo Neu of New York on June 22, 1946. She earned two battle stars for her service in the war.
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.