The USS Macdonough (DD-351) operated with the US Navy for a decade in the early 20th century, and earned 13 battle stars for distinguished service in World War II. She was named for Commodore Thomas Macdonough who served in the Tripolitan War, the War of 1812, and as Commandant of the Portsmouth Navy Yard. Macdonough was a member of the Farragut class of destroyers.
Macdonough was laid down by the Boston Navy Yard in May 1933, launched in August 1934, and commissioned in March 1935 with Commander Charles S. Alden in command. Carrying a crew of 160, Macdonough was armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four one-half inch machine guns, and eight 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Macdonough operated out of San Diego until being deployed to Pearl Harbor as a member of Destroyer Squadron 1 in October 1939. During the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, Macdonough engaged with enemy aircraft and shot down one Japanese plane. Macdonough participated in scouting assignments following the attack, and then escorted convoys between Pearl Harbor and the west coast.
Macdonough supported air strikes at New Guinea and then operated in the Aleutian Islands during the assault of Attu. During this deployment, Macdonough collided with Sicard in May 1943 and was repaired at Mare Island. Macdonough sailed for the Gilbert Islands in September, where she operated as a control vessel for landing craft during the invasion of Makin Island. Macdonough was then deployed to the Marshall Islands in January 1944, and protected the initial transport group at Kwajalein and Wotje Atolls. During the assault on Hollandia, New Guinea, Macdonough aided in the sinking of Japanese submarine RO-45.
Macdonough also participated in the invasion of the Marianas in May as well as the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and supported underwater demolition teams at Guam. She also conducted patrols of Leyte Gulf in October and then was assigned to escort duty in the Philippine and South China Seas. Following overhaul at Puget Sound, Washington, Macdonough spent the rest of World War II protecting Allied shipping in the South Pacific. When the war ended, Macdonough returned to the United States and was decommissioned in October 1945 at the New York Navy Yard. She was then sold for scrap in December 1946.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Macdonough (DD-351)
By the 1930s, asbestos was used in the engineering compartments of maritime vessels like Macdonough as a result of new laws regarding fire safety. Ships have a number of pieces of equipment that produce extreme levels of thermal energy, such as boilers and pumps. As the years went by, crewmen began to struggle with pleural mesothelioma and other asbestos-related ailments, and a ban was placed on asbestos in the 1970s.
As asbestos was found nearly everywhere, practically all members of the crew would have been exposed at some point throughout their years of service. Higher levels of asbestos dust could be found anywhere where work was being done on naval vessels, like dockyards. Boilermakers, shipfitters, and others who cut and shaped asbestos materials were at the highest risk. Asbestos material results in mesothelioma by injuring a thin membrane called the mesothelium when it is taken into the lungs.
Legal recourse is available for veterans living with pleural mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. In order to help those diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma understand their disease and the options available to them we have compiled a packet of useful information. To request your copy of this free kit, just take a minute to fill in the form on this page and we will send it to you immediately.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-351.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd351txt.htm) Retrieved 10 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History, USS Macdonough (DD-351).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/351.htm) Retrieved 10 January 2011.