USS Wadsworth DD-516 (1943-1946)
The USS Wadsworth DD 516 was a naval vessel named after the late Lt. Alexander Scammel Wadsworth. By the 18th day of March 1942, Commodore Wadsworth’s great-great-granddaughter Mrs. Rebecca Wadsworth Peacher took the responsibility and led the laying down of the second Wadsworth. It occurred at the Bath, Maine with Bath Iron Works as its manufacturer or fabricator. The Wadsworth was then launched by the start of the next year on January 10, 1943. A few months later, on March 16, 1943 it was licensed and sent out for a mission under the command of Comm. John Walker. This was done at the Boston Navy Yard.
Action in World War II
In 1943, the Wadsworth started engaging in trainings, exercises and repairs.. It sailed to Casco Bay in Maine from Boston on the 5th of April. On the 15th, it proceeded to Cuban waters. After, it sailed back to Boston Navy Yard for repairs from shakedown training in Guantanamo Bay.
The Wadsworth joined other naval vessels such as the Princeton (CVL-23) and the Yorktown (CV-10) from Port of Spain, Trinidad on the 23rd of May of the same year. It followed the cruise and reached Norfolk, Va. on June 17. It then sailed back to Boston the next day.
The destroyer never ceased to perform its duty. It also engaged in a search, hunting down the enemy submarines on the last day of August 1943. Moreover, the Wadsworth took part in the protective screen for troop transports as it joined other units of the Destroyer Division.
The Wadsworth was dismissed on the 18th of April 1946 and was assigned to the Charleston Group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. It was transferred to the Federal Republic of Germany under the Military Assistant Program. On October 1, 1974, it was sold to the Federal Republic of Germany, remaining active with West Germans until 1980.
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.