Cowie was laid down in Boston, Massachusetts at the Boston Navy Yard in March 1941. She was launched in September 1941 and commissioned in June 1942, with Commander C.J. Whiting at the helm. Cowie carried a crew of 208 and offered a cruising speed of 35 knots. She was armed with four five-inch anti-aircraft guns, six half-inch machine guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Cowie began her military duties serving on anti-submarine patrols off Cape Hatteras. By October 1942, however, she was en route to North Africa to screen transports off Morocco . She spent the end of 1942 and the first months of 1943 running escort duty to and from Casablanca.
In June 1943, Cowie joined the invasion of Sicily. During the effort, she guided the British submarine Seraph to its landings at Scoglitti and fired on shore targets to support the troops. In July, Cowie briefly returned to Oran before transferring to Bizerte to patrol. Later that month, she participated in the invasion at Palermo and swept the coast between Palermo and Cape Milazzo, hunting Axis ships.
Cowie returned to New York in August 1943 to escort a convoy to Belfast, Northern Ireland. The next 18 months were spent based in the United Kingdom, escorting convoys between locations therein and ports in the Mediterranean.
In May 1945, Cowie returned to New York for a major overhaul: she was converted into a high-speed minesweeper and reclassified as DMS-39. June, then, was devoted to minesweeping exercises at Norfolk before the ship sailed for the Pacific later that year.
From September 1945 through March 1946, Cowie swept mines in the Yellow Sea and near Kobe and Wakayama. She returned to San Diego in April for decommissioning and was placed on reserve. In July 1955, Cowie was reclassified as DD-632, but never re-entered battle. After receiving three battles stars for service in World War II, she was stricken from the Navy list in December 1970 and was later broken up and sold for scrap.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Cowie (DD-632)
Most compartments aboard the USS Cowie were contaminated by asbestos. Many of the sections aboard the vessel contained engine machinery which contained asbestos insulation to protect it from extreme fire and heat. The engineering and power plant compartments on Cowie had large quantities of asbestos materials in them for similar reasons; to insulate pipes, to cover steam boilers, and to fireproof elements of the ship's motors or steam turbines. Even sections of Cowie not containing machinery often contained asbestos.
The development of mesothelioma is known to be strongly correlated to the overall quantity of exposure to asbestos as well as the duration of exposure. When asbestos-containing material becomes frayed or damaged, the microscopic fibers in the material become friable. This means that the individual asbestos fibers in the material can be released into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested.
There are legal options available for naval personnel and civilian workers who have developed asbestos-related diseases. To help explain these options further, we have created a complete mesothelioma information packet. Please take a moment and complete the request form on this page and we'll mail you your packet, at no cost to you.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-632. http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd632txt.htmNavSource Naval History, USS Cowie (DD-632).