USS Wiley DD-597 (1944-1968)
The USS Wiley, named for William Wiley, was launched in September of 1944 and was a Fletcher class destroyer. She received her formal commission on February 22, 1945, and was put under the command of Commander B.P. Field, Jr.
Service in World War II
After going through the usual tasks and training exercises of a new ship, the Wiley departed Mainland United States for the Hawaiian Islands. She arrived in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in May of 1945, and continued training exercises around the islands, mainly off of Oahu. In the middle of June, she escorted another vessel to the Philippines. The Wiley continued training exercises while in the Philippines. In the beginning of August, she escorted a group of tankers to the Ryukyus. Shortly after, Japan formally surrendered and fighting in the Pacific Ocean officially ceased.
After the War
After the end of the conflict with Japan, the Wiley was sent to monitor the Chinese Communists and Nationalists as they began to reclaim the important territory in the northern parts of China, which had been invaded by the Japanese. For the next few months, she took part in peacekeeping missions all around China and what is now Inchon, Korea. She also destroyed many dangerous Japanese floating mines.
In July of 1945, the Wiley was sent to the Gulf of Pohai. For the next month, she worked as a plane guard for United States planes as they conducted routine exercises and training over the Yellow Sea. During the month of November, she escorted passengers and transported mail throughout several cities in China, including Jinsen, Shanghai, Tsingtao, and Taku.
The Wiley continued to serve in the waters around China and Asia through the end of December. After this time, she sailed for the United States, stopping in several island ports along the way, including Pearl Harbor and Guam. She arrived back in the United States in January of 1946 in San Francisco, California. In March, the USS Wiley received orders to be deactivated and shipped to San Diego. In May, she was decommissioned and put into the reserve. This is where she remained until she was stricken from the Navy’s books in 1968. She was then sold for scrap.
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.