USS Taylor DD-468 (1942-1969)
The Bath Iron Works Corporation laid down the USS Taylor on August 28, 1941 in Bath, Maine. On June 7, 1942, the USS Taylor was launched. On August 28, in the Charlestown Navy Yard located in Boston, Massachusetts, the ship was commissioned. The Taylor’s first assignment was with the Atlantic fleet, accompanying convoys until December of 1942. At that time, the Taylor returned to Norfolk, Virginia.
Action in World War II
The Taylor headed out for the Southwest Pacific on December 17. She was part of a task force responsible for monitoring reinforcements headed to Guadalcanal. The Taylor was responsible for screening Rear Admiral Ainsworth’s cruisers between February and March of 1943. In April, the ship spent most of her time accompanying convoys along the Solomons. Over the course of the next four months, the Taylor provided assistance with the attacks on the Solomons. On July 23, 1943, the USS Taylor engaged in battle at the Bairoko Harbor. The next day, the ship engaged in battle along New Georgia against the Japanese forces there.
The Taylor was given orders on August 11 to go back to Guadalcanal and then on September 30, the ship steamed to Tulagi-Purvis Bay. In October, the Taylor fought in the Battle of Vella LaVella, after which she joined the Central Pacific Force. They were preparing for the capture and takeover of the Gilbert Islands. At the completion of the ship’s duties, the Taylor returned to the United States for maintenance.On February 1, 1944, the Taylor headed out towards the western Pacific to continue escort duties. At the end of May, the ship engaged in patrol duty along the Medina Plantation. In June, she participated in antisubmarine operations. In November, she returned to the States and was placed on reserve on May 31, 1946.
After the War
On January 2, 1951, the ship was redesignated DDE-468 and recommissioned. She was assigned duties along the Korean coast until the end of July, when she returned to Pearl Harbor. Between March 1954 and March 1959, the Taylor made several peaceful visits to the Far East. On August 7, 1962, the ship was once again given her original classification of DD-468.On June 3, 1969, the USS Taylor was decommissioned. The next month, she was removed from the Naval Vessel Register and given to Italy, where she served as the Landere for two years before being cannibalized for scrap. For her U.S. service, the Taylor received 15 battle stars in World War II, two in Korea, and six in Vietnam.
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.