The USS McDougal (DD-358) served in the U.S. Navy for nearly a decade and a half in the early 20th century. She was named for Rear Admiral David S. McDougal who served as Commandant of Mare Island Navy Yard. McDougal was commissioned as a Porter-class ship.
The second McDougal was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in December 1933, launched in July 1936, and commissioned in December with Commander Robert C. Starkey in command. Carrying a crew of 194, McDougal had a cruising speed of 37 knots and was armed with eight 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, eight 1.1 inch anti-aircraft guns, and eight 21-inch torpedo tubes.
McDougal began duty in the Pacific in 1937 and served as flagship of Destroyer Squadron 9 out of San Diego to conduct fleet exercises. In the spring of 1941, McDougal operated on the east coast and, in August, escorted Augusta with President Franklin Roosevelt to Newfoundland, where a meeting was held with Prime Minister Winston Churchill to discuss the Axis Powers.
In December, McDougal was assigned to convoy escort duty in the South Atlantic, and was informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while sailing heavy seas off South Africa. McDougal conducted patrol and escort duty off South America in January 1942, and between Brazilian and Caribbean ports. She was assigned to the Southeast Pacific Force in September and conducted widespread patrols off Latin America and South America until September 1944.
McDougal resumed escort duty after a stay in New York in September, and escorted convoy CU-39 to the United Kingdom on the first of four round trips between New York and Britain. In March 1945, McDougal arrived in New York from a convoy mission and sailed to Charleston, South Carolina for overhaul. McDougal began support duty with the Operational Development Force, Atlantic Fleet in September at Casco Bay, Maine. She was reclassified AG-126 and participated in gunner and radar experiments at Boston, Newport, and Norfolk.
McDougal was decommissioned at Tompkinsville, Staten Island in June 1946. Initially used as a training ship for reserves, McDougal resumed service in January 1947, but was deactivated in March 1949, stricken from the Navy list in August, and sold for scrap to H.H. Buncher Company in September.
Asbestos Risk on the USS McDougal (DD-358)
Like most destroyers of this era, the McDougal employed asbestos products in many heat- and fire-sensitive applications. It was wrapped around steam pipes and boilers. It was used in engines and turbines. It was even mixed into paints and woven into ropes. The U.S. Navy continued heavy use of asbestos until the late ‘70s, when new regulations were established.
Sailors that worked in engineering spaces and in damage control often had the highest exposure. Asbestos products that are worn down or torn create the greatest risk, as individual fibers can easily separate from them and enter the air. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause scarring in the lungs and the surrounding tissue. Many years later, the damage can lead to mesothelioma cancer.
McDougal veterans injured by asbestos during their service may have legal options available to them. Treating mesothelioma can be very expensive, and the disease often leaves its victims unable to work or enjoy their usual activities. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you obtain the maximum possible compensation for your injury.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-358.
NavSource Naval History, USS McDougal (DD-358).