One of eight Porter-class destroyers, the third USS Winslow (DD-359) was laid down in the winter of 1933 in New Jersey and was built by the New York Shipbuilding Company. She was sponsored by Mary Blythe Winslow and set out to sea in the fall of 1936, commanded by Irving R. Chambers when the ship was commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1937.
In the fall the ship was outfitted completely and visited European countries as well as the waters around Africa to complete a shakedown cruise. After coming back the ship joined the Battle Force Destroyers in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Over the next few years the Winslow worked between San Diego and Hawaii.
Action in World War II
In 1941, the Winslow was deployed to the Atlantic and visited Cuba. In the summer she was utilized for training exercises with submarines in the waters around the New England coast. The Winslow also was part of a group of ships that took President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Argentina to meet with Winston Churchill, a meeting which led to the creation of the Atlantic Charter. The Winslow then went on to become a part of the first convoy to screen the waters of the Orient in the winter. After this the ship left for the Cape of Good Hope but had to return when her crew learned that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor.
After coming back to the United States during World War II, the ship worked to keep back German submarines in the water around Brazil and Africa. During this time the Winslow occasionally returned to the United States to get repairs in South Carolina. In 1944, the warship took new ships from Boston out to the waters of the West Indies and then escorted convoys from the ports at New York out to the United Kingdom in fall. She made five trips by the spring of 1945.
After the War
After this some of the ship’s guns were removed in favor of lighter weaponry and antiaircraft guns to help with work in the Pacific. At the end of a refresher training course, the war with Japan had ended and the Winslow was then used for experiments. After this the ship was finally decommissioned in the summer of 1950 and remained in reserve until declared unfit for service and struck from the naval register in 1957. She was sold in the winter of 1959 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.