USS Long (DD-209) was a Clemson-class destroyer constructed for the U.S. Navy. She was named in honor of John Davis Long, who was the 32nd Governor of Massachusetts and who served as the Secretary of the Navy from 1897 through 1902.
Long was laid down on September 23, 1918 by William Cramp and Sons in Philadelphia. Sponsored by Mrs. Arnold Knapp, Long was launched on April 26, 1919. Commander A. B. Cook took command of Long on October 20, 1919.
Following shakedown, which took place along the Atlantic coast, Long was assigned to Destroyer Division 26. She then patrolled the Adriatic and Mediterranean before reporting for duty with Asiatic station in early 1921. Long then patrolled the South China Sea until July of the following year before being decommissioned on December 30, 1922 in San Diego, California.
Long was recommissioned on March 29, 1930 in San Diego, at which time Lieutenant Commander William J. Butler took command. Long then served out of San Diego for the next ten years, and also joined Destroyer Squadron 20 on two occasions as part of the rotating Reserve. Long was converted to a destroyer minesweeper and reclassified DMS-12 on November 19, 1940. She then operated with Mine Squadron 2 in Hawaiian waters and along the west coast.
On December 5, 1941, Long left Pearl Harbor to serve as a screen for Indianapolis. She returned two days after the infamous attack, at which time she provided antisubmarine patrols out of Pearl Harbor. In June, Long began providing patrol and escort duties within Alaskan waters. On July 27, heavy fog led to her collision with Managhan. Following repairs, Long continued providing screen and antisubmarine patrols.
In January 1943, Long assisted with the occupation of Amtchitka. That following may, she assisted TF 51 with the Invasion of Attu. Long then continued to perform escort and patrol duties throughout the summer before returning to Pearl Harbor on September 16. Long then continued to serve escort and patrol duties in Hawaii, Namur, New Guinea and a variety of other settings until April. At this time, Long assisted with the invasion of Hollandia before going to Guadalcanal to prepare for an assault in Marianas.
In December 1944, Long departed for Lingayen Gulf. On January 6, 1945, a Mitsubishi A6M kamikaze crashed into her portside. After losing power and internal communications, Lieutenant Stanley Caplan gave some of the crewmembers permission to abandon ship. Due to a miscommunication, all of the men abandoned ship, though they were rescued by Hovey, which had been standing by. The crew was unable to return to Long, which was subsequently attacked by a second plane. The second attack ultimately led to the sinking of the ship. Many of the men who were rescued by Hovey ultimately lost their lives when Hovey was also attacked and sunk by enemy planes. Long received nine battle stars for her service during World War II.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Long (DD-209)
The asbestos threat on pre-1930s vessels is often difficult to assess. The U.S. Navy is known to have employed asbestos insulation and fireproofing in engineering spaces when Long was built. Her subsequent conversion to a minesweeper may have also introduced new asbestos parts. If you or a loved one served aboard Long and later developed mesothelioma, the ship is one likely source of asbestos exposure.Sources
Long. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center.