USS Woodworth DD-460 (1942-1951)

The USS Woodworth DD-460, a Benson class destroyer, was named in honor of Commander Selim Woodworth. The USS Woodworth was laid down on April 30, 1941, by the Bethlehem Steel Company at San Francisco, California.  The ship was sponsored by Commander Woodworths’ niece and commissioned on April 30, 1942, under the authority of Commander R.C. Webb, Jr.

Action in World War II

Following four months that were spent in shakedown and fitting out, the destroyer spent the rest of 1942 executing escort duty in the area of the Southwest Pacific. The Woodworth stopped at several ports between Guadalcanal and Australia. The destroyer was attached to the TF (Task Force) 65 in January 1943, leading exercises and patrols at the western access to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides. In July, the Woodworth teamed up with the USS Jenkins to support the landing of troops at New Georgia and Rice Anchorage.  Soon thereafter, she participated in the Battle of Kolombangara and air raids in the Shortland Islands and Rabaul.  In February of 1944, the Woodworth sailed to Green Island with Task Force 38 in preparation for the assault there, and then continued back to Rabaul and New Ireland.  After more training, escort, and antisubmarine duties, the Woodworth returned to San Francisco in April. After an overhaul and a brief stint in a convoy that escorted President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Pearl Harbor, the Woodworth helped launch an air strike at Okinawa and then Formosa.  She fought off multiple planes at Formosa, downing a total of four of them over several days.  As Allied forces sought to take back the Philippines, the destroyer sailed for Leyte Gulf.  She supported more air strikes in the area and eventually left for home in October of 1945.

After the War

The USS Woodworth was first transferred to the Atlantic Fleet, but was soon decommissioned in 1946.  She had earned seven battle stars in World War II.  She was briefly recommissioned in 1950, but then sent to the Italian navy in 1951, where she served as the Artigliere until being scrapped in 1971.

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. References:
Naval Historical Center