USS Trippe DD-403 (1939-1948)

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The USS Trippe was named after Lieutenant John Trippe and first commissioned in early November 1939 at the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts. She was designated as a Benham class destroyer and weighed 1500 tons.

Action in World War II

In June 1941, she began work by engaging in Neutrality Patrol in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean region after a shakedown cruise in the area.  She was later relocated to the North Atlantic region where she impeded German submarine activities. The second half of the year 1941 saw her screening the aircraft carrier USS Ranger, which was involved in flight operations in the West Indies region.

A year after the US entered World War II, the Trippe resumed her convoy, patrol and escort work in the West Atlantic and made a voyage to the British Isles. Unfortunately, a collision with the fellow destroyer USS Benson on October 19, 1942, cost her the lives of four of her crew members. The damage sustained from the collision was repaired in the middle of November and a month later, she returned to convoy escort service.

Over the course of the next seven months, she made three separate voyages from the Atlantic to North Africa. She was later dispatched to the Mediterranean Sea to take part in the invasions of Sicily in the month of July and Salerno in September. Her two biggest wartime achievements were the successful rescue of survivors of the USS Bristol, a ship that was torpedoed by an enemy submarine, and the sinking of enemy ship U-73 off Algeria on December 16.

The Trippe’s war duties in the Mediterranean Seas ended in February 1944 and she returned to the US in March. She later became a part of the anti submarine task group and spent the next year doing patrol missions and escorting trans-Atlantic convoys and West Indies aircraft carriers. Trippe was moved to the Pacific in the spring of 1945 where she performed escort duties until the Second World War ended. She was later sent to the US West Coast for occupation, training and air-sea rescue missions.

After the War

In 1946, she was assigned to target duty at Marshall Islands in conjunction with a planned atomic bombing test and later became hazardously radioactive. Deemed unsuitable for duties, she was placed out of commission toward the end of August. On February 1948, she was sunk as a gunfire target off the coast of Kwajalein.

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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