The USS Frazier (DD-607) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy during World War II and remained on the Navy list until the early 1970s. She was named for Daniel Frazier, a Navy seaman who served in the First Barbary War. Frazier was built as a member of the Benson-class of naval destroyers.
Frazier was laid down at San Francisco, California by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in July 1941, launched in March 1942, and commissioned in July with Lieutenant Commander Frank Virden in command. Carrying a crew of 208, Frazier was armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, six one-half inch machine guns, and four five-inch anti-aircraft guns.
Frazier was deployed to Noumea, New Caledonia in December 1942 as a transport escort, and then remained on escort and patrol duty in the South Pacific. During this deployment, Frazier protected troop transports to Guadalcanal, patrolled off Espiritu Santo, and also protected aircraft carriers while they patrolled between Efate and the Solomon Islands.
In May 1943, Frazier sailed to Pearl Harbor and served during the troop landings at Attu in May, and conducted patrols there and at Kiska following the initial assault. The destroyer launched attacks on enemy submarines in the Aleutian Islands, and helped sink Japanese submarine I-81 in June. Following her service in the Aleutians, Frazier was overhauled at Puget Sound, Washington, and was then deployed to Wellington, New Zealand. From there, Frazier escorted troop transports to the Gilbert Islands, where she engaged in pre-assault bombardment, patrols, and the ramming of submarine I-85.
Frazier was deployed from Pearl Harbor in January 1944 to the Marshall Islands invasion, where she operated as a protective screen for San Francisco while it struck targets on Kwajalein. After a period of escort and patrol duty in the Marshalls, Frazier was assigned to screen aircraft carriers during the raids on Palaus, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai in late March/early April.
Frazier served similar duty during attacks on New Guinea. Following an overhaul on the west coast and training at Pearl Harbor, Frazier resumed escort duty out of Ulithi in December, and then participated in the invasion of Lingayen Gulf in January and February 1945. Frazier also operated during invasions at Borneo and, following escort duty in the Philippines, returned to the United States. She was decommissioned in April 1946, struck from the Navy list in July 1971, and sold for scrap in October 1972.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Frazier (DD-607)
Since the 1800s, asbestos has been widely used in high-temperature applications. Merchant and naval ships like Frazier used asbestos as a material for insulation for their boilers. Asbestos has many properties that made it seemingly ideal for use in ships. The engineering and power plant areas aboard Frazier used asbestos in large quantities to insulate steam pipes, to cover steam boilers, and to insulate parts of the ship's motors and turbines. Sailors working with the engines and boilers were most frequently exposed, but all crewmen were likely to have some exposure.
When inhaled, tiny asbestos fibers can become lodged in the lining of internal organs and cause scarring, tissue damage, and mesothelioma. An exposed individual's chance of developing an asbestos-related disease increases significantly if he or she worked daily with damaged or worn asbestos products. Veterans with mesothelioma often have the legal right to compensation for their illness.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-607.
NavSource Naval History. USS Frazier (DD-607).