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USS Abbot (DD-629)

The USS Abbot (DD-629) served in the U.S. Navy for nearly two decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Commodore Joel Abbot who served in the War of 1812. Abbot was commissioned as a Fletcher-class vessel.

Construction

Abbot was laid down at Bath, Maine by the Bath Iron Works in September 1942, launched in February 1943, and commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard in April 1943 with Commander Chester E. Carroll in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Abbot was armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1-inch anti-aircraft guns, and four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.

Naval History

Abbot was deployed to the western Pacific in September 1943 and during training in the Hawaiian Islands she collided with the aircraft carrier Cowpens in October. Abbot returned to sea in December following repairs at Pearl Harbor, and was assigned to Task Force 58 for the invasion of the Marshall Islands. In mid-March, Abbot was assigned to escort duty between the Solomon Islands and New Guinea.

In June, Abbot served with Task Group 53.7 in the Mariana Islands, and supported troops at Guam and Saipan as well as at the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Abbot was then assigned to screen transports and provide anti-aircraft and anti-submarine protection at the Leyte and Luzon invasions. Serving in the Philippines until July, Abbot participated in the bombardment of Honshu Island, Japan, and was damaged by kamikaze planes. She returned to the west coast for repairs before being decommissioned in May 1946.

Abbot underwent modernization at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in 1951, and then was deployed to the east coast. From April to October 1952, Abbot operated in the Mediterranean, and then returned to Newport, Rhode Island for training. Abbot spent seven months circling the globe, and after a stay at Boston was deployed to the Mediterranean from November 1956 to February 1957.

Abbot also served off Lebanon in the summer of 1958 and in May 1959 was designated the flagship of Escort Squadron 14, with which she conducted anti-submarine duties in the Atlantic. In September 1961, Abbot was stationed at Newport as a school ship, and operated off Haiti and Cuba during hostile periods in 1962. Abbot was assigned to train naval reserves at Philadelphia in April 1964, which continued until she was decommissioned in March 1965. She was struck from the Navy list in 1974 and sold for scrap in July 1975.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Abbot (DD-629)

Navy veterans serving on the USS Abbot were placed at significant risk of asbestos exposure while serving on board the ship. Some crewmen, however, were placed at higher risk than others: machinists responsible for the repair and maintenance of equipment in the engine room, and firemen responsible for managing fire, or handling damage to the ship from war battles were more likely to come into contact with asbestos fibers.

Dockyard and shipyard crew, whether laying down a brand-new vessel or modifying or repairing damage to an existing craft, were also potentially exposed to asbestos fibers in dangerous quantities. Even family members were placed at risk of secondhand exposure after shipyard workers brought asbestos dust home on their clothing at the end of the workday.

Those on the USS Abbot who worked in close proximity to collision-damaged asbestos fibers or who were involved in refitting poorly ventilated compartments or repairing worn equipment may have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos while on board. Today, they may be at risk for developing mesothelioma.

Sources

Sources

Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-629.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd629txt.htm

NavSource Naval History. USS Abbot (DD-629)
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/629.htm

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