Cotten was laid down at Kearny, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in February 1943, launched in June, and commissioned in July with Lieutenant Commander F. T. Sloat in command. Supporting a crew complement of 273, Cotten had a cruising speed of 38 knots and was armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1 inch anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Cotten reported to the 5th Fleet at Pearl Harbor and sailed for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands in November 1943, operating as a protective screen for aircraft carriers and as an anti-submarine patrol vessel. She carried out these duties in the operations at the Marshal Islands in January 1944, as well as the raid on Truk in February and the operation at Hollandia, New Guinea in April. Cotten underwent overhaul at Pearl Harbor prior to conducting screening duty for the Mariana Islands invasion, as well as during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June.
Cotten entered the Philippines in August and participated in the invasion of the western Carolines, as well as strikes on Luzon and Formosa in October. At the Battle of Surigao Strait, Cotten battled enemy aircraft to defend the Allied aircraft carriers and endured a strong typhoon in December. Repaired at Ulithi, the destroyer supported the invasion of Luzon and followed the ships of Task Force 58 to Iwo Jima, Honshu, and then Okinawa, as well as Wake Island. Cotten remained on occupation duty until early-December.
Cotten was in reserve at Charleston, South Carolina from July 1946 until July 1951. She operated in the Caribbean and off Florida before being deployed to Korea in May 1953. In January 1964, Cotten was back in the United States and served three tours of the Mediterranean before being decommissioned at Norfolk Virginia in May 1960, with a total of ten battle stars under her belt. Cotten was sold for scrap to the Consolidated Steel Corporation in July 1975.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Cotten (DD-669)
Virtually every compartment aboard Cotten was constructed with asbestos materials. Asbestos was, at one time, thought to be a superior fire-proofing material and ideally suited for applications such as naval ship construction. It was later found, however, to cause a very serious and often life-threatening cancer called mesothelioma.
Some areas of the ship employed asbestos-containing material much more extensively than others. The engine and power plant rooms aboard Cotten deployed asbestos-containing materials widely as insulation for pipes, to cover ship's boilers, and to cover parts of the ship's motors or steam turbines. Other areas of the ship also contained asbestos fibers such as the mess hall and sleeping quarters. Sailors frequently recall large amounts of asbestos dust falling from pipes covered with asbestos insulation.
There is legal recourse available to Navy veterans who served on the USS Cotten or other ships and that have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. We have put together an extensive mesothelioma information packet to assist you in understanding more fully what these options are. Take a moment to fill in the information form on this page and we'll send you your information kit, absolutely free of charge.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-669. http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd669txt.htm
NavSource Naval History. USS Cotten (DD-669).