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USS Philip (DD-498)

The USS Philip (DD-498) was a Fletcher class destroyer in the U.S. Navy and the second ship named in honor of Rear Admiral John W. Philip (1840-1900).

Construction

Laid down in Kearny, New Jersey, by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in May 1942, she was launched in October and commissioned in November under the command of Commander Thomas C. Ragan.

Naval History

Philip proved her mettle during the Solomon Islands campaign. Obstructing the Japanese in their attempt to cut off Australia and New Zealand from the United States, Philip bombarded enemy positions at Shortland Islands, Mono Island, Choiseul Bay, Empress Augusta Bay, and on Bougainville. Nightly, she fought off and destroyed swarming Japanese raids and kept her guns blazing. She evaded torpedoes, weathered attacks and retaliated, successfully thwarting the Japanese in their attempts to expel the Americans from the Solomon Islands.

Philip encountered ferocious warfare when she launched an assault on Mindoro during the Philippines campaign. She engaged enemy aircraft in frequent attacks that worked in concert with bombers and kamikazes. Even when 6 planes attacked, Philip successfully fought off or destroyed them. Fortunately, Philip was one of the few ships to come away relatively undamaged and capable of future assaults, shelling enemy strongholds throughout the Philippines.

Having devoted April through July 1945, to the Borneo campaign, Philip joined a special attack unit, assembled to serve the 26th Australian Brigade situated on Borneo. Philip drove the enemy back, allowing minesweepers to destroy 246 enemy mines in Brunei Bay, clearing the path for invasion.

In January 1947, Philip was decommissioned and placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Charleston Naval Yard, South Carolina. In March 1949, Philip was reclassified DDE-498 (escort destroyer). Recommissioned in June 1950, Philip participated in the Korean War with Task Force 77 and Task Force 78. She remained active throughout the Pacific and operated with Task Force 95, assisting with the United Nations Blockade in July 1954.

In July 1962, Philipwas redesignated from DDE to DD. She was decommissioned in September 1968, and struck from the Navy List in October 1968. Philip was sold in December 1971, but sank in a storm on her way to be scrapped in February 1972.

Philip received nine battle stars for World War II service and five battle stars for Korean War service.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Philip (DD-498)

On Fletcher-class vessels, asbestos was installed in most compartments, used both to insulate ship sections and also as a protective covering for steam pipes. Engineering spaces made use of the most asbestos, as the mineral was great proof against the extreme heat produced by engines, boilers, and other heavy machinery.

Even the light damage done to Philip by kamikaze pilots increased the asbestos risk to her crew. The impact of enemy fire on the ship likely released clouds of asbestos fibers into the air. Asbestos-contaminated detritus posed a significant health risk to sailors performing damage control operations and repairs. Loose asbestos fibers were much more hazardous than intact asbestos products. Inhaling those fibers could cause scarring, tissue damage, and in some cases, mesothelioma.

Sources

Sources

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/p6/philip-ii.htm

Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog

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