The USS Dortch (DD-670) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy for nearly a decade and a half in the mid-20th century. She was named for Captain Isaac Foote Dortch who served in World War I and was awarded the Navy Cross. Dortch was a member of the Fletcher-class of destroyers.
Dortch was laid down at Kearny, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in March 1943, launched in June, and commissioned in August with Lieutenant Commander R. C. Young in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Dortch 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.
Dortch safeguarded the shakedown cruise of Langley in October and November 1943 off Trinidad, returned to Norfolk, Virginia, and left for Pearl Harbor as an escort for Intrepid in late-December. The destroyer joined aircraft carriers for the major offensives in the Marshall Islands in January 1944, the Mariana Islands in February, and the invasion of Hollandia, New Guinea in April. Dortch was then assigned to duty during the capture of Saipan while aircraft carriers fought the enemy in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
Dortch was on patrol duty as a fighter-director ship west of Guam during the invasion there, and served with the 5th Fleet for the raids on the Bonin Islands in August. She continued to protect forces during various bombardments in the Philippines, and also served during the Battle for Leyte Gulf in October. In February 1945, Dortch was en-route to Tokyo Bay when Clarence K. Bronson led an attack on an enemy ship, resulting in 14 casualties on board Dortch, but she continued on to Iwo Jima for the major assault there.
Dortch continued protecting carriers for the Tokyo raids in late-February and for reconnaissance missions over Okinawa in March. Following an overhaul on the west coast, Dortch returned to the war zone in July 1945 to strike Wake Island, and then was assigned to occupation duty off Japan. Dortch was decommissioned from July 1946 until May 1951 at Charleston, and was then assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. A deployment to the conflict in Korea from April to October 1953 preceded a round-the-world voyage. Dortch served in the Mediterranean twice before being put on reserve status in December 1957. She was decommissioned in December 1957, loaned to Argentina as Espora, and finally broken up for scrap in 1977.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Dortch (DD-670)
Most areas on board Dortch were contaminated to some extent with material that was made of asbestos. Asbestos insulation was deployed in large quantities in certain compartments of Dortch such as the engineering and power plant areas. Here, asbestos insulation was used to insulate pipes, to fireproof boilers, and to insulate components of the ship's engines and steam turbines. Pipe insulation was commonly used to insulate pipes that ran throughout the ship.
Crewmen who regularly worked with frayed or damaged asbestos fibers over a long period of time, such as those serving on the USS Dortch, are at a much greater risk to develop an asbestos cancer known as mesothelioma. The legal system offers options for veterans and civilian workers who have developed mesothelioma as a result of this type of asbestos exposure. Our team has compiled a comprehensive mesothelioma information packet to assist you in understanding what these options are. All you need to do is complete the form on this page and we'll mail you your kit, absolutely free.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-670. (http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd670txt.htm) Retrieved 2 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Dortch (DD-670).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/670.htm) Retrieved 2 February 2011.