The USS McDermut (DD-677) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy for 20 years during the middle of the 20th century. She was named for Lieutenant Commander David A. McDermut who served in the Civil War. McDermut was laid down as a Fletcher-class destroyer.
McDermut was laid down at Kearny, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in June 1943, launched in October, and commissioned in November with Commander P. L. Wirtz in command. Armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1 inch anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, McDermut carried a crew of 273.
McDermut was deployed with the Pacific Fleet in January 1944, and operated at Kwajalein for most of March before joining carrier force Task Group 58 at Majuro, with which she served during the strikes on the Palaus, Woleai, Yap, and Ulithi. In June, McDermut conducted pre-invasion bombardments at Saipan and then provided fire support during the troop landings. McDermut took on anti-submarine and anti-aircraft patrols later in the month, and then moved on to protect troops landing at Guam.
McDermut supported the 1st Marine Division at Peleliu in September, and fought off enemy forces during the preparations for the Leyte invasion in October. She attacked Japanese vessels during the Battle of Surigao Strait and aided in the sinking of Yamagumo and the disabling of Michishio and Asagumo. Operations in the Philippines continued until McDermut was assigned to air support duty at Okinawa in April 1945, before she moved on with the force to strike Japan itself.
McDermut served during the occupation of Japan, and was in reserve on the west coast from January 1947 until December 1950. The destroyer was deployed to Korean waters from June 1951 until December, and then again from August 1952 until January 1953. McDermut then commenced a schedule of six months on the west coast with western Pacific deployments the rest of the year. In 1963, she remained on the west coast until being decommissioned at San Diego in December. Struck from the Navy list in April 1965, McDermut was sold for scrap to the National Metal & Steel Corporation in January 1966.
Asbestos Risk on the USS McDermut (DD-677)
The naval vessels of World War II were insulated and fireproofed with asbestos-containing materials. The McDermut used asbestos in nearly every compartment. In engineering, it was used in boilers, power plants, and pumps. Elsewhere, it covered steam pipes and was mixed into cements and paints. Every sailor aboard McDermut likely suffered some exposure to the dangerous mineral.
When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can lodge in the mesothelium, a thin protective membrane that surrounds many internal organs. There, they can cause scarring and tissue damage. In some cases, the damage eventually results in mesothelioma, an aggressive and often terminal cancer. A mesothelioma lawyer can examine your service and work history to identify where you were exposed, which asbestos products you may have used, and what your legal options are.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-677.
NavSource Naval History. USS McDermut (DD-677)