The USS Aulick (DD-569) served in the U.S. Navy for a few years in the 1940s, and was later transferred to Greece. She was named for midshipman John H. Aulick, who served in the War of 1812. Aulick was commissioned as a Fletcher-class destroyer.
Aulick was laid down at Orange, Texas by the Consolidated Steel Corporation in May 1941, launched in March 1942, and commissioned in October with Lieutenant Commander O.P. Thomas, Jr., in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Aulick was armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Aulick was deployed to the South Pacific in January 1943 and arrived at New Caledonia in February for anti-submarine patrol duty. Later in the month, Aulick supported American forces during the Russell Islands invasion and then escorted HMS Athene in March. Aulick sustained extensive damage when the destroyer grounded on a coral reef off New Caledonia, and then underwent repairs at Pearl Harbor and the Puget Sound Navy Yard.
Aulick returned to Pearl Harbor in December, and then sailed back to the west coast to join the Fleet Operational Training Command in February 1944. She served as an engineering and ordnance training vessel, and also rescued the crew of a downed Army aircraft in April. Repaired at Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in May, Aulick returned to Pearl Harbor in June and escorted transports on the way to the invasion of Guam. Aulick continued patrol and screening operations off Guam until August.
Aulick served during combat operations at the Palaus in September, and then in the Philippines throughout September, October, and November. While on anti-submarine patrol at Leyte Gulf, Aulick was attacked by kamikaze planes, resulting in the loss of 31 crew members, and received repairs at San Pedro Bay and then at Mare Island Navy Yard in December.
In February 1945, Aulick returned to the Philippines and then brought troops to Mindanao during the invasion there in April. Aulick was assigned to anti-aircraft and radar picket duty for transports at Okinawa in May until World War II ended. She was decommissioned at the New York Navy Yard in April 1946 and then transferred to Greece in August 1959, under the name Sfendoni. Stricken from the Navy list in September 1975, the former Aulick was broken up for scrap in 1997.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Aulick (DD-569)
Breathing or ingesting asbestos can lead to the development of mesothelioma, and most of the servicemen stationed or working on Aulick were likely exposed to asbestos to at least some degree. Asbestos-containing material that was damaged by enemy action, as when Aulick was damaged by kamikaze attacks was especially dangerous because it became friable, meaning the individual fibers began to separate from the insulation. Repair yard crews and sailors were both exposed extensively to asbestos at dangerous levels.
Some sailors risked a higher degree of asbestos contamination; crewmen working in the engineering sections, handling machinery, as firefighters, or in damage control parties were more likely to come into contact with asbestos. The engine and power areas of Aulick deployed asbestos widely to insulate pipes, to cover boilers, and to protect elements of the ship's engines and power plant. Steam conduits sheathed with asbestos insulation ran into basically every compartment of the craft. Most sailors assigned to or doing repairs on Aulick were most likely exposed to asbestos fibers to some extent.
Those who regularly worked with frayed or damaged asbestos fibers over an extensive time period have a higher risk of developing peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma than those who experienced mild levels of exposure over a shorter duration. Asbestos fibers cause a number of serious or life-threatening illnesses in addition to peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma, including lung cancer, pneumoconiosis, diffuse pleural plaques, and pleural syndromes. As asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, there are legal options available for mesothelioma victims.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-569.
NavSource Naval History. USS Aulick (DD-569).