The USS Stanly DD-478 was constructed at the Charleston Navy Yard in Charleston, South Carolina, and launched on May 2, 1942. The vessel was commissioned on October 15 under the command of James M. Robinson. Following modifications to allow for additional guns, she was sent for training in Cuba and went on to serve in operations on the east coast and Guantanamo Bay through early 1943.
Action in World War II
Following operations in Panama, the Stanly headed to San Pedro Harbor and then on to Pearl Harbor in March of 1943. The ship hunted submarines and participated in drills and screening activities before being sent to Noumea, New Caledonia. She was a part of convoys and assisted other ships through the summer of 1943 and participated in patrol and escort activities going into 1944.
The Stanly continued with escort duty and joined task forces to fight off Japanese attacks and protect other vessels, and supported operations in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay. The ship assisted other transports, participated in similar raids, and supported landings at Green Island. She went on to serve in the South and Central Pacific in numerous exercises and operations through the summer of 1944.
After returning to Pearl Harbor, the Stanly was assigned to operations in the western Pacific and performed escort duty and operated out of San Pedro Bay through the end of 1944. Heading into 1945, she was a part of radar picket duty as a part of Japanese assaults and saw action in Saipan and Okinawa following a return to port for repairs. In April of 1945, the vessel managed to avoid an air assault and assisted stricken ships. She was part of attacks between American forces and kamikazes and sustained heavy fire, but managed to miss direct hits and came away with only three wounded sailors before returning for repairs.
After the War
The Stanly performed training exercises before being sent to Apra Harbor in Guam, where she remained through the end of Japanese hostilities. The ship went on to receive an overhaul in September of 1945 and remained in commission, but was placed in the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was officially decommissioned in October of 1946 and remained with the Reserve Fleet through December of 1970 before being struck from naval records that same month and finally sold for scrap in 1972.
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.