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USS Cony (DD/DDE-508)

The USS Cony (DD/DDE-508) was a Fletcher-class destroyer in the U.S. Navy. She was named in honor of Joseph S. Cony (1834-1867).

Construction

Built in Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works, Cony was launched in August 1942, and commissioned at Boston in October under the command of Lieutenant Commander Harry D. Johnson.

Naval History

After escort service in the Pacific, her first action was the bombardment of Kolombangara. Cony protected transports to Guadalcanal and provided gunfire support for the landings at Vella Lavella before returning to San Francisco for an overhaul. In a surprise attack in the Treasuries, Cony took two bomb hits on her main deck, killing 8 men and wounding 10. She sustained considerable damage and after emergency repairs at Port Purvis, she sailed to Mare Island Naval Shipyard for a complete overhaul.

In 1944, Cony patrolled the waters off Bougainville while supplying gunfire support to troops in the Empress Augusta Bay area. In June, Cony escorted carriers launching air raids supporting the landings on Peleliu. Cony fought in the epic Battle of Leyte Gulf, taking part in the furious all night mêlée.

In January 1945, Cony escorted transports to the Lingayen Gulf landings and provided gunfire support during the landings on Caballo Island in Manila Bay. In June, Cony sailed to Brunei Bay, Borneo to assist in the landings and provide gunfire support for minesweeping and underwater demolition operations near Balikpapan, Borneo. Cony provided gunfire support for landings at Saragani Bay, Mindanao.

Cony investigated Japanese compliance with the surrender terms on Raffles Island before arriving at Charleston, South Carolina, in March 1946, when she was decommissioned and placed in reserve.

In 1949, Cony was reclassified DDE-508 and operated in the Korean war zone. From 1953 to 1960, Cony served the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). With Task Force Alfa she focused on antisubmarine warfare and participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. Reclassified DD-508 in 1962, Cony intercepted the Soviet submarine B-59 in a crisis that nearly sparked a war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register 2 July 1969, she was sunk as a target in March 1970. Cony was awarded 11 battle stars for World War II service, and two for Korean War service.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Cony (DD-508)

Most servicemen stationed or performing repair work on Cony were probably exposed to asbestos fibers to one degree or another. Crewmembers handling heavy machinery were more heavily exposed, as were firefighting crews. Repair and shipyard personnel were also exposed to asbestos in potentially dangerous quantities. Inhalation or ingesting of asbestos is linked to the development of mesothelioma.

The Cony’s combat operations put her sailors at an even higher risk for asbestos related illness. When asbestos fibers are damaged, they become friable. Discrete fibers of asbestos in the material become dislodged and then can be breathed into the lungs or swallowed. Handling these friable asbestos products exposed Cony's sailors and yard workers to higher concentrations of asbestos than they might have otherwise encountered.

Sources

Sources

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/c13/cony.htm

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