The USS Glennon (DD-620) served in the U.S. Navy during the early 1940s. She was named for Rear Admiral James H. Glennon who served as Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard and Commandant of the Thirteenth Naval District. Glennon was laid down as a Gleaves-class destroyer.
Glennon was laid down at Kearny, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in March 1942, launched in August, and commissioned in October with Lieutenant Commander Floyd C. Camp in command. Supporting a crew complement of 208, Glennon was 348 feet, four inches long and armed with six one-half inch machine guns, four five-inch anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes. She was driven by Westinghouse geared turbines supporting a cruising speed of 35 knots and range of 6,500 nautical miles at 12 knots.
Glennon received initial training off the coast of New England, and then served as a guard for troop and supply convoys during the occupation of Sicily in July 1943. The destroyer remained in the Mediterranean until December 1943 and the conducted convoy escort duty from New York to the British Isles and Gibraltar. Glennon departed New York in April 1944, sailed for Gibraltar, and arrived at Belfast, Ireland with a task group to be assigned to Assault Force “U” of the Western Naval Task Force. Prior to the invasion of southern France, Glennon operated as a patrol unit for the bombardment group, and then provided gunfire support during the invasion.
In June, Glennon operated off Quineville, firing to support onshore troops. Glennon struck a mine soon after, and was towed by minesweepers Stag and Threat while survivors were rescued by a whaleboat. The effort was also assisted by destroyer escort Rich, which was severely damaged and sank following an explosion near Glennon. Minesweeper crew efforts were hampered by the fact that Glennon was stuck, but during efforts to salvage her, Glennon was struck by German fire from shore batteries until she was ordered abandoned. Glennon sank on June 10, 1944 with 25 casualties, and was struck from the Navy list in July. The destroyer was awarded two battle stars for her service in World War II.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Glennon (DD-620)
Asbestos products were used throughout Navy ships of this era, putting all that served at some risk for exposure. Crewmembers performing engineering, damage control, and firefighting duties aboard Glennon likely suffered significant asbestos exposure during their service.
The more frequently a person comes into contact with asbestos materials, the greater the risk for injury. Unlike normal cloth fibers, material produced from asbestos actually breaks or shatters and becomes friable. It is easy to inhale asbestos that has been damaged because fibers that have become friable create a fine dust. This dust is linked with a number of serious illnesses, including mesothelioma. The damage Glennon suffered from the mine likely increased the exposure risk of her crew.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-620.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd620txt.htm) Retrieved 28 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Glennon (DD-620)
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/620.htm) Retrieved 28 January 2011.