USS Toucey DD-282 (1919-1934)

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The USS Toucey DD-282 was constructed at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Squantum, Massachusetts, and laid down on April 5, 1919. This Clemson-class destroyer was sponsored by Miss Elizabeth Alden Robinson and was launched on September 5. This class of destroyer was the largest class the Navy produced at the time, built to be extremely fast and often called the “four-stackers” or “four-pipers.” The Toucey was put into commission on December 9, with Commander Reuben B. Coffey chosen to captain.

Between the Wars

After shakedown, she joined Division 42, Flotilla 7, Squadron 1 of the Atlantic Fleet. She operated mostly in the West Indies and the east coast out of her home base at Newport, Rhode Island for the next seven years. She trained in operations during the summer off the coast of New England. During each of those seven years she spent the winter in the south at Panama Canal and Puerto Rico, taking part in the annual fleet concentration and gunnery training. She was then assigned to Division 25, Squadron 9 between July 1, 1921 and January 1, 1922. with only half of her normal crew. By the time 1923 came, she was back to a full crew and placed in the same division and squadron. They were assigned to the new Scouting force.

She made a brief cruise to Europe in late 1926 to join American forces there. Her home base was moved from Newport to Norfolk, Virginia, by January 1, 1927. While written records are not very clear, it seems the Toucey spent the rest of her career with the Scouting Force operating out of Norfolk.

After Service

She was sent to Philadelphia in the spring of 1930 to be deactivated. She was put out of commission on May 1 of that same year at Philadelphia. She was struck from Naval lists on October 22, and sold on January 17, 1931. In 1934, she was finally scrapped.  There has never been another Toucey in the Navy. Many years earlier, the USS Saginaw had started with that name, but it was changed when her namesake, Secretary of the U.S. Navy Isaac Toucey, made a request to do so.

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.


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