The USS John Rodgers (DD-574) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy during World War II and later transferred to Mexico. She was named for Commodore John Rodgers, who served in the War of 1812, and his son, grandson, and great-grandson. John Rodgers was a member of the Fletcher class of naval destroyers.
John Rodgers was laid down at Orange, Texas by the Consolidated Steel Corporation in June 1941, launched in May 1942, and commissioned in February 1943 with Commander H.O. Parrish in command. Carrying a crew of 273, John Rodgers was 376 feet, five inches long and armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
John Rodgers sailed from Norfolk, Virginia in May 1943 and escorted a convoy to Pearl Harbor. After a period of training, John Rodgers began screening aircraft carriers at Marcus Island and Wake Island, served during troop landings at Bougainville and Betio Island in November, and moved on to the Marshall Islands in January 1944. John Rodgers fired on enemy installations as well as conducted anti-aircraft and anti-submarine duties during this deployment, and remained on patrol in the Marshall Islands until late March.
John Rodgers escorted troop and ordnance vessels to Hollandia in April and in May, protected convoys and bombarded the enemy at Guadalcanal, and also participated in the invasion of Guam in July. Remaining in the Mariana Islands until August, John Rodgers also served during the Morotai invasion, and patrolled there until the invasion of the Philippines at Leyte which began in October.
John Rodgers was overhauled at Mare Island Navy Yard, and returned to the war zone in January 1945 to engage Japan once again, with Task Force 58. During this deployment, John Rodgers participated in operations at Iwo Jima and then resumed duties with aircraft carriers for strikes on Okinawa and the main islands of Japan. John Rodgers then operated as a screen for the 3rd Fleet along the Japanese shore, and then protected troop transports for the occupation of Japan starting in September.
John Rodgers was decommissioned in May 1946, placed in reserve, and then transferred to Mexico in August 1970 as Cuitlahuac. The former John Rodgers was retired by the Mexican navy in July 2001 and donated to a museum at Tampico in November 2010.
Asbestos Risk on the USS John Rodgers (DD-574)
New industry technologies and methods introduced in the 1800s brought about a demand for products such as asbestos insulation. Asbestos insulation and fireproofing were used on board naval ships like the USS John Rodgers since the 1930s. Asbestos insulation was installed widely aboard ships and in naval bases by the U.S. Navy until approved use for the substance became much more restricted in the 1970s. This occurred after it was determined that the inhalation of asbestos can cause mesothelioma.
Crew members who were assigned to the engine room, worked on heavy machinery, or worked in damage control parties would have had a higher level of asbestos exposure. An individual's chance of developing mesothelioma increases considerably if he or she worked frequently with frayed or damaged asbestos insulation. Unlike some fibers, asbestos mineral fiber actually breaks or shatters when stressed, becoming friable. Asbestos insulation that has become friable is much more hazardous because the fibers can become airborne at which point they can be easily inhaled or ingested.
Mesothelioma lawyers can help former sailors who have been diagnosed with the disease understand what legal rights they have and how to go about receiving compensation for their injury.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-574.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd574txt.htm) Retrieved 24 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS John Rodgers (DD-574).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/574.htm) Retrieved 24 January 2011.