The USS Murray (DD-576) served in the U.S. Navy for nearly two decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Captain Alexander Murray, who served in the American Revolution, and his grandson, Rear Admiral Alexander Murray. Murray was a member of the Fletcher class of naval destroyers.
Murray was laid down at Orange, Texas by the Consolidated Steel Corporation in March 1942, launched in August, and commissioned in April 1943 with Commander Richard F. Stout in command. Supporting a crew complement of 273, Murray was armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Murray served a period of escort duty in the Atlantic before sailing to Pearl Harbor in September 1943 with Destroyer Squadron 26. The destroyer participated in operations at Wake Island in October and supported troop landings at Bougainville in November, while engaging enemy aircraft. Murray was then assigned to anti-submarine patrols in the Gilbert Islands in November and December.
In January 1944, Murray served during the capture of Kwajelein and the assault on Aitape, New Guinea in April. Murray served with the 6th Fleet for operations on Saipan and Guam, and then as a patrol and escort ship in the Mariana Islands until August, when she returned to New Guinea to continue bombardments and protective duties. In October, Murray was assigned to duty during the Philippines invasion.
Murray was overhauled at San Francisco, but returned to Hawaii in January 1945 and was assigned to picket duty during the Tokyo raid in February, as well as during the attacks on Iwo Jima and the Ryukyus. She conducted anti-submarine duty prior to the Okinawa invasion, was struck by a bomb in March, and then was repaired at Pearl Harbor. Murray returned to the war zone in July, and was the first ship to intercept a Japanese submarine during the country’s surrender. The destroyer then returned to the United States and was put in reserve at Charleston, South Carolina.
Following conversion to escort destroyer DDE-576, Murray was re-commissioned in October 1961. Service after this reactivation included plane guard duty for naval training off Pensacola, and rescue duty along the route of President John F. Kennedy’s flight to Paris in May 1961. Re-designated DD-576 in June 1962, Murray participated in the Cuban quarantine in October and November. Murray was struck from the Navy list in June 1965 and sold for scrap in August 1966.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Murray (DD-576)
Inhaling asbestos fibers is linked to malignant mesothelioma. Clouds of asbestos dust surrounded sailors and repair personnel working on Murray. The risk was greatest around the boilers, engines and turbines, but every crewman aboard Murray was likely exposed to the dangerous mineral while serving. There are usually legal options available to Navy veterans suffering from asbestos-related diseases.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-576.
NavSource Naval History. USS Murray (DD-576).