The USS Moale (DD-693) served in the U.S. Navy for approximately three decades during the mid-20th century. She was named for Lieutenant Edward Moale, Jr., a U.S. Naval officer around the turn of the 20th century. Moale was built as an Allen M. Sumner-class ship.
Moale was laid down in Kearny, New Jersey by Federal Shipbuilding in August 1943. She was launched in January 1944 and commissioned in February 1944, with Commander Walter M. Foster at the helm. Moale carried a crew of 336 and had a cruising speed of 36.5 knots. She was armed with six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, 11 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Moale began her military service in the Pacific in the fall of 1943. She participated in strikes against Luzon and Mindoro before joining forces at Leyte Gulf for the operation at Ormoc Bay. In February 1944, she joined a force deployed to prevent backup support and aid from arriving at Iwo Jima, but she was eventually removed from the operation when two other American ships collided and required an escort back to Saipan.
In July 1944, Moale traveled to San Pedro Bay, and was in this region when the Japanese surrendered in August. Moale spent the following month patrolling the coast of Japan. In September, she returned to the west coast of the U.S. for peacetime duty.
In 1949, Moale was transferred to the Atlantic fleet. She served in a variety of deployments throughout the Mediterranean and Europe in the years that followed, including an around-the-world voyage. Beginning in 1954, she operated in the Atlantic, the North Sea, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean. She served as a patrol ship during the Israeli-Egyptian war of 1956, as a recovery vessel for NASA’s Project Mercury mission, supported the quarantine of Cuba in 1962, and was available for the evacuation of Americans from Cyprus in 1964.
Moale was featured in the documentary USS Cooper: Return to Ormoc Bay, produced by Bigfoot Entertainment. She received five battle stars for her service in World War II, and an additional star for service in Korea.
Moale was decommissioned in 1973 and stricken from the Navy list. In 1974, she was sold and broken up for scrap.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Moale (DD-693)
Because of its usefulness and wide variety of applications, asbestos products were found in nearly every compartment and corridor aboard Moale. High concentrations of asbestos-containing materials could be found in certain areas of the ship, such as the engineering room. Even sections that had no particular mechanical function contained asbestos fibers, as the substance was a common ingredient in putty, glues, mortar, seals and other hardware.
Crewmen that were primarily employed in the ship's engineering section often suffered greater exposure than their fellow sailors. Also at high risk were sailors and dockyard workers handling damage control and repair. Handling damaged asbestos products can release clouds of tiny asbestos fibers into the air. Absent protective gear, such fibers are easily inhaled. Such exposure can cause tissue damage and mesothelioma cancer.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-693.
NavSource Naval History, USS Moale (DD-693).