The USS Lansdowne (DD-486) was named for United States Naval office Lieutenant Commander Zachery Lansdowne (1888-1925), who was killed in the line of duty in Ava, Ohio.
Lansdowne was laid down in July of 1941 by Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Kearny, New Jersey. She was commissioned in April of 1942 under the command of Lieutenant Commander W. R. Smedberg III.
Lansdowne quite literally started her career with a bang, sinking an enemy submarine off of Cape Hatteras in July of 1942. A month later, she embarked for the Pacific. En route to Tonga, she rescued the crew of a downed plane from South Dakota (BB-57).
In September, Lansdowne arrived at Nukulaofa Bay and joined Task Force 18. TF 18 came under Japanese fire and on September 15, the USS Wasp (CV-7) was torpedoed. Lansdowne rendered immediate assistance, first trying to track down the enemy submarine responsible, but ended up rescuing 450 Wasp crewmembers. After the rescue was complete, Lansdowne, under orders, assisted in sinking the hopelessly disabled Wasp.
After this engagement, Lansdowne performed multiple screening and escort duties in the South Pacific, sinking several enemy vessels on November 30. The following spring saw Lansdowne transferred to the Aleutian Islands; she served there from May to July 1943. Later in the fall, she headed back to the South Pacific, resuming screening and escort responsibilities. Lansdowne also participated in landing operations off of Bougainville and Green Islands. In February of 1944, in various locales around Papua New Guinea, she sank two vessels—including a 6,800-ton enemy cargo ship—and severely disabled several others.
That spring, Lansdowne assisted Task Forces 77 and 78 in landings in the Aitape-Hollandia-Tanahmera area of New Guinea, launching air attacks at assorted enemy bases. After maintenance at Pearl Harbor in April, Lansdowne returned to action in June, just in time to join the Marianas and Palau Islands campaign. She participated in the raids on Bonis, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the assault on Guam, and the Battle of Tinian.
The remainder of Lansdowne’s wartime activity consisted of screening and assisting carriers. In August of 1945, she helped transport the Atomic Bomb Investigation Group to Okinawa, and on the 29th of August, she escorted South Dakota, Admiral Chester Nimitz’ flagship, into Tokyo Bay. On September 2, she conveyed Japanese emissaries from Yokohama to the battleship Missouri for the official surrender ceremonies.
Lansdowne arrived in the United States in December, and she was decommissioned into the Atlantic Reserve Fleet out of Charleston, South Carolina, in May 1946. In June of 1949, Lansdowne entered into the service of the Turkey Navy as the newly-christened vessel Gaziantep (D-344).
Asbestos Risk on the USS Lansdowne (DD-486)
Asbestos was installed in most areas of Lansdowne, both as fireproofing and insulation. The engineering and boiler sections of Lansdowne utilized the most asbestos containing materials, where the mineral was used to insulate pipes, to cover ship's boilers, and to safeguard components of her motors and power plant from heat. Asbestos cement and sealant was used in many applications ship wide.
Sailors working daily with asbestos insulation over many months or years have a much higher risk of becoming ill than personnel who had mild levels of inhalation over the same time frame, or a very high level of exposure over a short amount of time. Since asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma and asbestosis, there are generally legal options for Navy veterans who have developed asbestos-related medical problems.Sources
“Lansdowne.” Dictionary of American Fighting Ships.