The USS Cowell (DD-547
Cowell was laid down at San Pedro, California by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in September 1942, launched in March 1943, and commissioned in August with Commander C.W. Parker in command. Supporting a crew compliment of 273, Cowell 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.
Cowell joined aircraft carrier Task Force 58 as a screening vessel, and operated in the Gilbert Islands in November and December 1943. Following this duty, Cowell participated in strikes on New Ireland as well as Kwajalein and Eniwetok Islands later in January 1944. The destroyer returned briefly to Pearl Harbor and then served during strikes on Palau, Yap, and Ulithi, as well as Hollandia in April. Cowell screened carriers during the Guam and Rota operations in June and July and conducted anti-aircraft duties during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June.
In August 1944, Cowell served with Task Group 38.5 for air strikes in the Philippines and the western Carolines. Cowell provided light, power, and pumping capabilities for Canberra and Houston following Japanese air attacks in October and then served in the Battle for Leyte Gulf. During the invasion of Okinawa in March 1945, Cowell protected troop landings and served radar picket duty. For this service, Cowell was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. The destroyer engaged with Japanese aircraft on several occasions, and then was assigned to patrols off Okinawa in late June.
Cowell supported the occupation of Matsuyama in September, and arrived at San Diego in November. Out of commission from July 1946 to September 1952, Cowell was then assigned to the Atlantic Fleet for fleet exercises. She was then deployed to Korea for patrol duty in January 1952. Cowell returned to the east coast in August and then conducted anti-submarine exercises in the Atlantic and Mediterranean until March 1954. Transferred to the Pacific again in January 1955, Cowell served on the Taiwan Patrol, and after 1960, was stationed mainly at Long Beach, California. The destroyer was transferred to Argentina in August 1971, and used for scrap in 1982.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Cowell (DD-547)
Practically every crewman aboard the USS Cowell had the opportunity to be exposed to asbestos while in service on the ship. There are some who held certain occupations, however, that were more at risk including engine mechanics, machinists and boiler tenders. This is because they worked around equipment, like boilers and pumps that generated tremendous amounts of heat and therefore needed protection that asbestos insulation and other products could provide.
While ACMs (asbestos-containing materials
Those who regularly worked with asbestos insulation over a long period of time have a much greater risk of developing malignant mesothelioma. The handling of damaged asbestos or damaged machinery containing asbestos parts exposed the USS Cowell's sailors and dockyard workers to unhealthy levels of asbestos. They may now be at risk for developing an asbestos related disease.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-547.
NavSource Naval History, USS Cowell (DD-547).