The USS Grayson (DD-435) served in the U.S. Navy for less than a decade, but remained on the Navy list until 1972. She was named for Rear Admiral Cary Travers Grayson who served as the personal physician of President Woodrow Wilson during World War I. Grayson was laid down as a Gleaves-class destroyer.
Grayson was laid down by the Charleston Navy Yard in July 1939, launched in August 1940, and commissioned in February 1941 with Lieutenant Commander Thomas M. Stokes in command. Carrying a crew of 208, Grayson was 348 feet, four inches long and armed with four five-inch anti-aircraft guns, six one-half inch machine guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Grayson was assigned to Destroyer Division 22 and was made the flagship of Destroyer Squadron 11 in August 1941. During this deployment, Grayson operated in the Caribbean, and then was assigned to the Neutrality Patrol in the North Atlantic in October. Grayson served in the North Atlantic for 10 months and then was ordered to duty in the Pacific, where she served as part of an escort for Hornet off Japan.
Following repairs in California, Grayson departed Pearl Harbor in July 1942 with aircraft carriers Enterprise and Hornet and served in the Solomon Islands. Grayson engaged Japanese aircraft at Guadalcanal and sank a Japanese submarine in August. She continued duty near Guadalcanal as an escort for troop transports, a radar picket ship, and a rescue vessel for eight months. In October, Grayson rescued 75 survivors from torpedo-stricken Meredith.
Grayson was overhauled at Pearl Harbor in April 1943 and sailed to New Caledonia, noting Japanese barges transporting evacuees from the Battle of Kolomangara. She served three months of patrol duty, and then served in the Marshall Islands after an overhaul at the Puget Sound Navy Yard. Grayson then operated as a fighter-director ship in Dutch New Guinea and bombarded Biak Island while operating in the Solomon Islands and Marshall Islands from February to July 1944.
Grayson served with TG 28 in the Palau Islands during enemy strikes there in September, and served in Okinawa and the Philippines in October. In November, Grayson conducted radar picket and lifeguard duty off Saipan. After returning to Pearl Harbor in September 1945, when the Articles of Surrender where signed in Tokyo Bay, Grayson sailed to Charleston, South Carolina. She was decommissioned in February 1947, stricken from the Navy list in June 1972, and sold for scrap in June 1974.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Grayson (DD-435)
Since asbestos was so versatile, the toxic fibers could be found in almost every compartment on a ship. The engine and power sections of Grayson used asbestos extensively to insulate steam pipes, to line steam boilers, and to fireproof elements of the ship's motors and steam turbines. Asbestos was frequently mixed into cements and sealants used throughout the ship.
Material made from asbestos fiber becomes friable when it is damaged. Such materials easily release individual fibers into the surrounding air. Exposure to this asbestos dust can lead to illness later in life, including mesothelioma cancer. There may be legal options for veterans of Grayson diagnosed with mesothelioma.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-435. (http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd435txt.htm) Retrieved 13 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History, USS Grayson (DD-435)
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/435.htm) Retrieved 13 January 2011.