USS Davis (DD-395) was a Somers-class destroyer constructed for the US Navy. She was the third naval vessel to be named in honor of Charles Henry Davis, a Rear Admiral in the US Navy who served during the Civil War and with the United States Coast Survey.
Davis was launched by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine on July 30, 1938. She was sponsored by Miss E. Davis, the namesake’s granddaughter. Commander T.D. Carr took command of Davis on November 9, 1938.
Following commissioning, Davis was assigned to Neutrality Patrol out of the North Atlantic. On November 13, 1939, she sailed from Boston, Massachusetts to Galveston, Texas, where she began patrolling the Gulf of Mexico. Davis then conducted training exercises until March 11, 1940, at which time she began patrol duty on the west coast. She continued to serve in this capacity until April 26, 1941, at which time she returned to the Caribbean for escort and patrol duty.
After the United States entered World War II, Davis sailed off Recife, Brazil. Here, she primarily provided escort and patrol duty while occasionally sailing to southern ports of the United States. On July 19, 1942, Davis rescued 10 men after the British sailing ship Glacier had been torpedoed.
In January 1944, Davis rescued survivors from the German blockade runner Burgenland and delivered them to authorities at Recife. On April 15 of that year, she escorted Franklin (CV-13) to New York before sailing for England for convoy escort duty. While on her way to Milford Haven, Wales, Davis joined a convoy that was on its way to Baie de la Seine for the invasion of Normandy. While on patrol on June 7, Davis was able to successfully repulse an attack from an enemy torpedo boat.
On June 21, Davis was heavily damaged by unknown causes, though the damage was likely caused by a mine. Following emergency repairs, she headed off to Charleston, South Carolina. She returned to convoy escort duty on December 26, 1944. From that date until June 21, 1945, she made four voyages between ports in England and New York.
Davis arrived at Norfolk, Virginia on July 10, where she remained until she was decommissioned on October 19, 1945. She was sold on November 24, 1947. Davis received one battle store for her service during World War II.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Davis (DD-395)
Installing asbestos in the construction of all ships was mandated by law in the United States in the early 1930s, after a deadly fire on the SS Morro Castle caused the deaths of more than 100 passengers and crew. Davis, like most Navy ships at the time, deployed asbestos-containing materials in great quantities, particularly in engines and engine spaces, and for fireproofing throughout the vessel. When asbestos-containing material becomes worn it can become friable, which means that individual fibers can be broken off and escape into the air, and then can be breathed in by sailors and shipfitters, possibly causing mesothelioma. The mineral asbestos was known even in ancient times for its fireproofing properties; however, it was also proven to be the main cause of serious illnesses including asbestos cancer and mesothelioma.
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Davis. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center.
http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/d2/davis-iii.htm Retrieved 1 January 2011.