The USS Montgomery (DD-121) served in the US Navy for over two-and-a-half decades in the early 20th century, and received four battle stars for her service in World War II. She was named for Rear Admiral John B. Montgomery who served during the Civil War. Montgomery was built as a Wickes-class ship.
Montgomery was laid down in Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company in October 1917, launched in March 1918, and commissioned in July with Lieutenant Commander W.R. Purnell in command. Carrying a crew of 101, Montgomery was 314 feet, five inches long and was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, two 3-inch anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Montgomery was assigned to anti-submarine patrol in August 1918, and also conducted escort duty along the coast until the end of World War I. In 1919, she operated from Maine to Cuba and conducted training and fleet maneuvers. Montgomery was assigned to Joint Destroyer Squadron 4, Pacific Fleet at San Diego, California beginning in August and participated in fleet operations from Alaska to Panama until March 1922. She was decommissioned in June 1922 at San Diego.
In January 1931, Montgomery was redesignated DM-17, converted to a light minelayer, and recommissioned in September 1939. She was assigned to Pearl Harbor in December 1940, and during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, began anti-submarine patrols at the harbor’s approaches. Montgomery also conducted inter-island convoy duty and then performed mine laying operations around Fiji.
Montgomery collided with the minelayer USS Preble off Guadalcanal in August 1943, was repaired, and sailed for San Francisco, California in October. Montgomery spent much of 1944 on convoy escort voyages between San Francisco and Hawaii, and conducting mine laying operations across the Pacific. In October 1944, Montgomery served as mother ship for smaller minelayers when Ngulu atoll was captured.
In October, Montgomery sighted a mine when anchored off Ngulu, and the wind caused the ship to trigger it. The explosion killed four crew members and flooded both engine rooms, a storeroom, and also ruptured fuel tanks. Montgomery was kept afloat by salvage efforts, and sailed to San Francisco under her own power in February, 1945. Montgomery was decommissioned in April 1945 and sold for scrap in March 1946.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Montgomery (DD-121)
Asbestos was used for insulation and fireproofing throughout Wickes-class vessels like the Montgomery, with the highest concentration being found near the engines, boilers, and pumps. When asbestos insulation is damaged it can become "friable", meaning that individual asbestos fibers can be broken off and enter the atmosphere, allowing them to be breathed in by sailors or dockworkers, increasing the odds of developing mesothelioma.
Accurate information about malignant mesothelioma isn't always easy to unearth, so to help we've created a mesothelioma information package with information about legal options, available treatments, and a list of mesothelioma trials in the United States. If you or a member of your family was diagnosed with an asbestos related injury after serving on the Montgomery, please complete the form on this page and we will get you this valuable kit at no cost.Sources
Hazy Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-121
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd121txt.htm Retrieved 20 December 2010
NavSource Naval History, USS Montgomery (DD-121).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/121.htm Retrieved 20 December 2010