USS Sigourney DD-643 (1943-1960)
Action in World War II
The USS Sigourney was a Fletcher-class destroyer built in Bath, Maine. She received her commission in June of 1943 and sailed across the Panama Canal in early autumn, heading towards the South Pacific. She arrived in time to help with the Bougainville landings in the start of November. During the middle of the month she rescued all the survivors of the fast transport McKean that had been torpedoed during the campaign. She then remained in the Solomons and Bismarcks, escorting the convoys that were trying to take back the islands. She repelled the enemy positions that were present in the area and prepared the shore for the landing. In the middle of 1944, the Sigourney was sent back to the Central Pacific and took part in the invasions in Saipan and Tinian. She also participated in the landings in the Palaus and Leyte. She was involved in the Japanese counter attack in October during the Battle of Surigao Strait. She carried out operations in the East Indies and the Philippines until the middle of 1945. She returned to the United States in May for overhaul and was docked when the war ended. She then steamed back to the Eastern Coast of the United States in March of 1946 for decommissioning.
After the War
As tensions in the Cold War escalated, the Sigourney was re-commissioned in September of 1951. She was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and made a Far Eastern trip in the latter part of 1953. She toured frequently in the waters of Europe from 1954 to 1957 and was sent to the Naval Reserve training fleet in 1959. She was decommissioned in the month of May 1960 and was still a part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet when she was struck from the list of Naval Vessels in 1974. She was sold for scrap in July of 1975.
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.