USS Sims DD-409 (1939-1942)
The construction of the Sims (DD-409) by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine, was completed 15 July 1939. Mrs. Williams S. Sims sponsored this project; the Sims was launched on 8 April and commissioned on 1 August 1939 with Lt. Comdr. W.A. Griswold in command.
Action in World War II
In a bid to attack Wake Island, the Sims, alongside TF 17 on 16 February, departed from Pearl Harbor. Not long after their departure, there was a change of order which mandated that they move to Canton Island area to prevent Japanese invasion.
The occupation of Salamaua and Lae on New Guinea’s north coast in early march by the Japanese heightened the need to curtail further Japanese efforts, so on 10 March, the allied forces launched a carrier strike from the Lexington and the Yorktown. In the midst of this hostility, the Sims was mandated together to keep carriers safe from adversary surface ships.
In late April, American ships, after being divided into task forces, were stationed in near the Yorktown and the Lexington. The Sims accompanied the oiler Neosho (AO-23).
On the morning of 7 May, the Neosho was spotted by Japanese striking forces and was attacked. It took seven straight hits and a kamikaze crash to bring the oiler down.
The Sims also had its share of the bombardments. It was assaulted and wrecked by an explosion that took it 15 feet above water level. Chief R. J. Dicken and other occupants of the vessel were narrowly rescued on 11 May by the Henley (DD-391). The Sims was struck from the Navy register on 24 June, 1942.
The Sims exploits in World War II was honored with two battle stars.
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.