The USS Compton (DD-705) served in the U.S. Navy for nearly three decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Lewis Compton who served in World War I and as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Compton was built as an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer.
Compton was laid down at Kearny, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in March 1944, launched in September, and commissioned in November with Commander R. O. Strange in command. Carrying a crew of 336, Compton was 376 feet, six inches long and armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.
Compton arrived at Pearl Harbor for training in March 1945 and then served escort duty to Kwajalein and Eniwetok. In April, Compton was deployed to Okinawa to provide gunfire support for troops and also protected nearby shipping against enemy submarines and aircraft. She also served during the occupation of Tori Shima, and after repairs at Leyte, returned to Okinawa until July, when she was assigned to screen ships at Leyte Gulf in July. From August on, Compton served for six months as a plane guard, and arrived at San Pedro, California in March.
Compton joined the Atlantic Fleet in late March and remained on duty off the Northeast coast and in the Caribbean until February 1947. Following a deployment to the Mediterranean, Compton was based out of Newport, Rhode Island, beginning in August. Compton was then utilized as a school ship for Naval Reserve members. Several deployments to the Mediterranean followed from 1948 until 1956, and Compton served in the Persian Gulf during the Suez Crisis in 1956. Compton sailed around the Cape of Good Hope when the canal closed.
Compton returned to the Mediterranean on several other occasions, and cruised to Bergen and Rotterdam to train midshipmen in the summer of 1958. Beginning in 1960, Compton participated in research and development projects, which included meteorological research and duty with the Fleet Sonar School at Key West, Florida. Decommissioned and struck from the Navy list in September 1972, Compton was then transferred to Brazil and broken up for scrap there in July 1990.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Compton (DD-705)
Asbestos insulation and fireproofing was employed aboard this ship. Because she suffered combat damage during World War II, the Compton poses an even greater exposure threat to sailors, as damaged asbestos products can release individual fibers of asbestos into the air. Inhaling or ingesting of asbestos fibers is linked to the development of malignant mesothelioma.
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Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-705.
NavSource Naval History. USS Compton (DD-705).