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USS Dahlgren (DD-187)

USS Dahlgren (DD-187)

USS Dahlgren (DD-187) was a Clemson-class destroyer that served in the US Navy during World War II. She was the second of three naval vessels to be named in honor of Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren, who is best known for heading the Union Navy's ordinance department during the Civil Ear. Dahlgren designed several different guns and cannons and is considered to have played a key role in helping the Union win the war.


Dahlgren was launched by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia on November 20, 1918. She was sponsored by Mrs. J. Pierce, who is the daughter of Rear Admiral Dahlgren. Commander L. Sahm took command of Dahlgren on January 6, 1920.

Naval History

Following her commissioning, Dahlgren joined Atlantic Fleet for training and exercises along the east coast and off Guantanamo Bay, as well as in Mexican waters and in the Panama Canal Zone. Dahlgren then participated in the Presidential Fleet Review, which took placed in April 1921 in Norfolk, Virginia.

During the summer following her Presidential Review, Dahlgren participated in bombing tests off the Virginia Coast. On June 30 of the following year, Dahlgren was placed out of commission at Philadelphia, where she stayed for more than 10 years.

On October 25, 1932, Dahlgren set sail for San Diego, California. After arriving there the following month, Dahlgren engaged in destroyer operations along the west coast. She continued to serve in this capacity until April 1934, at which time she sailed to the Atlantic to participate in fleet exercises. Following her fleet exercises, Dahlgren returned to San Diego and continued to engage in destroyer operations similar to those she had previously performed. On July 1, 1937, she rescued the crew of a Coast Guard seaplane and carried them to New York.

On June 14, 1940, Dahlgren began serving in engineering experiments. When the United States entered World War II, however, she began sailing out of Norfolk and Newport, Rhode Island on patrols while also escorting submarines in training. Dahlgren later served in the Patuxent River in Maryland as well as in Key West and in the Gulf of Mexico. While engaged in one operation in Key West, Dahlgren rescued 57 survivors from Pennsylvania Sun and 9 survivors from K-74.

After arriving in Charleston, South Carolina on January 11, 1945, D ahlgrenwas reclassified as AG-91. She then began serving the Mine Warfare Test Station at Solomons Island in Maryland, which she continued to do until she was moored at Philadelphia Navy Yard on November 16, 1945. Dahlgren was decommissioned on December 14, 1945, before being sold on June 17, 1946.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Dahlgren (DD-187)

Installing asbestos-containing materials in the design of marine ships was ordered by law in the United States in the 1930s, after a fire at sea on a luxury liner caused the deaths of more than 100 passengers and crew. Dahlgren, like most Navy ships at the time, installed asbestos insulation in great quantities, particularly in boilers and engineering compartments, as well as to insulate steam pipes in all sections of the ship. The damage brought about by asbestos happens when tiny particles are breathed in or swallowed; the fibers infiltrate the lungs and sometimes the stomach, leading to scarring in the case of pleural plaques and cellular damage in the case of lung cancer and mesothelioma.

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Dahlgren. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center. ( Retrieved 24 December 2010

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