The USS Parrott (DD-218) served in the US Navy for more than two decades in the early 20th century. She was named for Lieutenant George Fountain Parrott who served with the US Navy during World War I. Parrott was constructed as a Clemson-class destroyer.
Parrott was laid down in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by William Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Company in July 1919, launched in November, and commissioned in May 1920 with Lieutenant Commander W.C. Wiekham in command. Carrying a crew of 114, Parrott was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Parrott sailed out of Boston, Massachusetts for San Diego in August 1920, and was designated the flagship of Destroyer Division 38. She was reassigned to the Atlantic Fleet in December 1921, escorted the Presidential yacht Mayflower to Washington D.C. in May 1922, and was deployed to duty in European waters in June. Parrott assisted American relief agencies in aiding political refugees and protecting American interests in Turkey, and operated as a communications and station ship in the Black Sea, as well as the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.
Parrott was assigned to the Asiatic Fleet in January 1925 and operated off of Chefoo and Shanghai, China, and then was deployed to the Philippines in October. During this deployment, Parrott called to various Philippine ports, collected hydrographic data in French Indo China and Saigon, and conducted neutrality patrol off China in 1936. Parrott was fitted with anti-mine and sound detection equipment in 1941 and began patrols at the entrance to Manila Bay in October. In January 1942, she operated with several other destroyers in Balikpapan Bay, Borneo and sank four enemy transports and a torpedo boat.
In February 1942, Parrott encountered Japanese forces off Bali during a battle that disabled the Japanese destroyer Michishio. Parrott grounded in shoal water nearby but freed herself, and also resisted Japanese invasion forces in the Battle of the Java Sea. She then returned to the United States for repairs and operated as an escort between San Francisco and Pearl Harbor, and then joined trans-Atlantic convoys from New York as well as deployed on anti-submarine missions.
Parrott was rammed by SS John Morton in May 1944 at Norfolk, Virginia, was beached by tugs, and towed to Norfolk Naval Shipyard. She was decommissioned in June and sold for scrap to the Marine Salvage Company in April 1947.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Parrott (DD-218)
Installing asbestos fireproofing in the construction of all ships was ordered by the US Congress in the early 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard a cruise ship resulted in enormous loss of life. Parrott, like most Navy ships at the time, utilized asbestos insulation in great quantities in boilers and engine spaces, and for insulation in all parts of the ship.
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Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-218.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd218txt.htm Retrieved 28 December 2010.
NavSource Naval History, USS Parrott (DD-218).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/218.htm Retrieved 28 December 2010.