The USS Ellyson (DD-454) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy for nearly a decade and a half in the mid-20th century, and remained on the Navy list for nearly three decades. She was named for Commander Theodore Gordon Ellyson who served as an aviator in World War I. Ellyson was a member of the Gleaves class of naval destroyers.
Ellyson was laid down at Kearny, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in December 1940, launched in July 1941, and commissioned in November with Lieutenant Commander L.B. Rooney in command. Carrying a crew of 208, Ellyson was armed with four five-inch anti-aircraft guns, six one-half inch machine guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Ellyson operated as a patrol vessel in the Atlantic to protect Allied shipping. In January 1942, Ellyson rescued survivors of SS Horness, and was designated the flagship of Destroyer Squadron 10 in June. She participated in the landings at French Morocco in November, and then spent two months as an escort on the east coast. In May 1943, Ellyson began operations with the British Home Fleet as a convoy escort and also conducted operations to lure German forces away from Sicily.
Ellyson returned to Norfolk, Virginia in August and was a member of the scouting line for Iowa, which was carrying President Roosevelt to the Tehran Conference, in November. In January 1944, Ellyson pursued and sank U-616 and served during the preparations for the invasion of France in May 1944. Ellyson patrolled in support of troop landings during the invasion in October, and then sailed to Boston in November to be converted into high-speed minesweeper DMS-19.
Ellyson participated in the preparations and the assault on Okinawa in 1945, and served as a radar picket in April. She attempted to tow kamikaze-stricken Emmons, which had to be abandoned and sunk due to the threat of explosion. Following the Okinawa operation, Ellyson became flagship for the minesweeping task group in the East China Sea in July 1945, and then joined the 3rd fleet to clean Tokyo Bay of mines.
Ellyson returned to Norfolk in January 1946 and then was based at Charleston, South Carolina to serve training duty. Following service with the 6th fleet in the Mediterranean in 1949, 1951, and 1953, she was re-designated DD-454 and decommissioned. Ellyson was transferred to the Japanese government in October 1954, and then to Taiwan in August 1970, where she was used for spare parts.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Ellyson (DD-454)
Most compartments on Ellyson contained asbestos. The mineral was used in so many areas and products that most every crewman was exposed during his time aboard. Steamfitters, electricians, and sailors laboring in the engineering areas had greater exposure to the mineral, and a correspondingly increased risk for mesothelioma later in life. Because no amount of asbestos is safe, any veteran sailor with an asbestos-related disease should discuss his naval service with his attorney when pursuing compensation for his injury.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-454.
NavSource Naval History, USS Ellyson (DD-454).