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USS Ellet (DD-398)

USS Ellet (DD-398) was a Benham-class destroyer for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She was named in the honor of five members of the Ellet family, who all served during the Civil War. These family members include Colonel Charles Ellet, Jr., Colonel Charles R. Ellet, Brigadier General Alfred W. Ellet, Edward C. Ellet and Lieutenant Colonel John A. Ellet.


Ellet was launched by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Kearny, New Jersey on June 11, 1938. She was sponsored by Miss Elvira Daniel Cabell, who was the granddaughter of Colonel Charles Ellet, Jr. Lieutenant Commander F.J. Mee took command of Ellet on February 17, 1939.

Naval History

Following commissioning, Ellet conducted Neutrality Patrol off the Grand Banks before operating with Destroyer Division 18 on West Gulf Patrol. She then joined in Battle Force maneuvers before Pearl Harbor became her home port in 1941.

At the time of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Ellet was returning from duties at Wake Island. She continued to screening duties with TF 8 throughout the rest of December. Following screening duties with TF 16 in April, and participating in the Halsey-Doolittle B-25 raid on Tokyo, Ellet returned to Pearl Harbor.

On June 4, 5 and 6, Ellet participated in the Battle of Midway before heading to Guadalcanal on August 7 for pre-invasion bombardment. Two days later, Ellet rescued 451 men and 41 officers from Quincy as well as one man from Astoria after those vessels had been sunk during the Battle of Savo Island the previous night. Following the rescue, Ellet assisted Selfridge with sinking HMAS Canberra, which had been damaged during the battle.

Ellet continued to conduct regular patrols while also providing screening and escort duties into 1943. At the end of 1943, Ellet underwent an overhaul before being placed back into action in January 1944. Ellet then participated in the invasion of the Marshalls as well as the Marianas. She also saw action in New Guinea when she provided support to the operations in Hollandia. In December 1994 and January 1995, Ellet participated in the bombardment of Iwo Jima before conducting escort and patrol duties in Guam and Saipan.

Following the war, Ellet underwent repairs at Mare Island. She was decommissioned on October 29, 1945 and was sold on August 1, 1947. Ellet received 10 battle stars for her service during World War II.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Ellet (DD-398)

Asbestos was employed in most sections of the USS Ellet, both in machinery and on steam pipes. The engineering and power areas of Ellet used the most asbestos products, as the boilers and engines produced significant heat and required robust insulation and fireproofing. That said, even areas with no heat-related function contained asbestos, as the fiber was extensively used in cement, paste, paint, seals and common hardware. All sailors that served aboard this ship were likely exposed to some amount of asbestos. Inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers is linked to mesothelioma.

The law allows Navy veterans injured by asbestos to seek compensation. Our free mesothelioma information packet has up-to-date information on the disease, treatment options, and your legal rights. Complete the form on this page to be sent this valuable guide today.



Ellet. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center. 8 January 2011

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