The USS Noa (DD-343) served in the US Navy for nearly two and a half decades in the early 20th century. She was named for David Bernard Loveman Noa who was killed while on duty in the Philippines after the islands were acquired as a territory by the United States. Noa was laid down as a Clemson-class destroyer.
Noa was laid down by the Norfolk Navy Yard in November 1918, launched in June 1919, and commissioned in February 1921. Carrying a crew of 114, Noa was 314 feet, five inches long and armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes. She was driven by geared turbines and had a cruising speed of 35 knots.
Noa participated in training exercises on the east coast, out of Charleston, South Carolina, and sailed for the Mediterranean in May 1922. In September, Noa joined the Asiatic Station and operated out of Cavite, Philippines. Noa helped protect American interests during the Chinese Civil War before returning to the west coast of the United States in August 1929. She operated with the Battle Fleet at San Diego, and in 1929, served as plane guard for aircraft carriers, and then conducted fleet exercises from 1930 to 1934. She was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in November.
Noa was fitted with a seaplane, along with a lifting boom, when re-commissioned in April 1940. Over the next two years, Noa conducted experimental and midshipmen training operations at Annapolis, Maryland. In December 1941, Noa was damaged by a wave off Hampton Roads, Virginia, was repaired at Boston Navy Yard, and was assigned to patrol, training, and convoy escort duty out of Key West, Florida.
By September, Noa was converted to high-speed transport APD-24, and conducted escort duty out of Pearl Harbor and Samoa, and then operated as a landing craft control ship off New Guinea. She also operated as a patrol and escort in the Solomon Islands, and transported troops at New Guinea in April 1944 and to Saipan in May. Noa served as a screening ship at Guam in July and August, and then patrolled Purvis Bay. In September, Noa was rammed by Fullman while sailing to the Palau Islands and sank, but all hands abandoned ship and survived.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Noa (DD-343)
The use of asbestos-containing materials in the design of naval vessels was ordered by law in the United States in the early 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard a cruise ship resulted in great loss of life. Noa used asbestos frequently, particularly in boilers and engineering compartments, and for fireproofing all through the vessel.
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Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-343.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd343txt.htm Retrieved 7 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History, USS Noa (DD-343).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/343.htm Retrieved 7 January 2011.