The USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) served in the U.S. Navy for approximately three decades during the mid-20th century. She was named for Allen Melancthon Sumner, a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. Allen M. Sumner was the lead ship of her class of destroyers.
Allen M. Sumner was laid down in Kearny, New Jersey by Federal Shipbuilding in July 1943. She was launched in December 1943 and commissioned in January 1944, with Commander Norman J. Sampson at the helm. Allen M. Sumner carried a crew of 336 and had a cruising speed of 36.5 knots. She was armed with six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, 11 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Allen M. Sumner began her military service in the Pacific in the fall of 1944. In December, she steamed for Ormoc Bay with two other American ships to hunt an enemy reinforcement convoy. The small fleet was attacked by enemy aircraft, one of which scored a near-miss that lightly damaged the ship and wounded 13 men. The three American ships eventually made contact with the enemy vessels, and engaged in battle. One Japanese ship was wrecked, but the USS Cooper was sunk.
The following month included various escort and convoy runs, including support at the invasion of Lingayen Gulf (during which 14 men were killed and 19 injured in an attack by a kamikaze plane). In early 1945, she returned to the U.S. for repairs, but the ship returned to the Pacific by July—just in time for the Japanese capitulation. She then spent the following year supporting the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll.
In 1947, Allen M. Sumner began a peacetime cruise in the Pacific which continued until she was re-assigned to the Atlantic fleet in 1949 for various peacetime duties. In 1953, she traveled to Japan for a brief involvement in the Korean conflict before beginning an eight-year stint traveling the world to participate in NATO naval exercises.
In 1967, Allen M. Sumner completed a short deployment as part of the Vietnam War. She spent several more years at sea on various peacetime duties before being decommissioned in 1973. She was later sold and broken up for scrap.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692)
Personnel serving aboard Allen M. Sumner may have been exposed to asbestos while performing their duties. Asbestos exposure is strongly correlated to the development of a number of dangerous diseases, including mesothelioma. Because Allen M. Sumner engaged in significant combat operations and took serious damage in battle, it is very likely that large quantities of asbestos fibers from the ship’s insulation and equipment were released into the air and inhaled by ship’s crew. Repair and dockyard workers laboring to fix this battle damage, or refitting the ship, were also likely exposed to significant levels of asbestos.
On an ongoing basis, crew members working in the ship’s engineering and mechanical sections were also probably exposed to asbestos in the normal course of duty. Asbestos was widely used in ship’s boilers, engines, turbines, pumps, and other heavy equipment. It was also installed widely throughout the ship as insulation, for wrapping pipes, and in gaskets and seals. Routine maintenance on these components would expose ship’s crew to this dangerous substance.
If you served or worked aboard Allen M. Sumner and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may have legal recourse. We have compiled a resource kit with extensive information about asbestos, mesothelioma, and the legal options available to you. All you have to do is fill out the form on this web page, and we will send you the information kit at no charge.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-692.http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd692txt.htm
NavSource Naval History, USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692).