The USS Pope (DD-225) served in the US Navy for a little over two decades before being sunk in World War II. She was named for Commodore John Pope who served in the Civil War. Pope was constructed as a Clemson-class vessel.
Pope was laid down in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by the William Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Company in September 1919, launched in March 1920, and commissioned in October with Commander Richard S. Galloway in command. Carrying a crew of 114, Pope 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.
Pope was initially assigned to Squadron 3, Division 39 of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, and operated at both Charleston, South Carolina and Newport, Rhode Island in 1921. In July, Pope escorted President Harding to Plymouth, Massachusetts, and by August 1923, was deployed with Squadron 15 Division 43 of the Asiatic Fleet. During this deployment, she operated in Chefoo, China and Cavite, Philippines, and helped protect Americans in China when civil war broke out. Pope conducted patrols in the region until 1931.
Pope remained off the China coast and Philippines, and was reassigned to Squadron 5, Division 15 in February 1933, and visited Japan in 1934 and 1935. In September 1937, Pope evacuated Americans from northern ports in China and brought them to Shanghai, following the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Pope returned to Manila, Philippines in October 1939 to conduct neutrality patrol, and then returned to China for patrol duty as part of Division 59 of the Asiatic Fleet. In June, she was assigned to neutrality duty at Manila until December 1941.
Pope engaged in combat at the Battle of Makassar Strait and helped to delay Japanese landings at Balikpapan by launching torpedo and gun attacks. She also served to impede the invasion of Bali, and escorted HMS Exeter out of harms way during the Battle of the Java Sea. Pope, HMS Encounter, and HMS Exeter sailed north from Soerabaja, Indonesia and were attacked between Java and Borneo. Up against several Japanese cruisers and destroyers, Pope damaged some of them, but with her ammunition used up, Pope was sunk on March 1942 by dive bombers. She was struck from the Navy list in May.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Pope (DD-225)
Using asbestos fireproofing in the construction of naval ships was ordered by Congress in the 1930s, after a deadly fire on the SS Morro Castle killed 137 people. Pope, like most Navy ships of the time, used asbestos insulation extensively in engines and engineering compartments, as well as in fireproofing throughout the vessel. When asbestos is worn or damaged it becomes "friable", which means that individual fibers can enter the atmosphere and be breathed in by crewmen and dockworkers, increasing their odds of developing mesothelioma. The damage done by asbestos fibers occurs when microscopic particles are inhaled; they infiltrate the lungs and occasionally other organs, leading to scarring in the case of pleural plaques and damage at the DNA level in the case of mesothelioma.
Even with modern medical help, the survival rate of mesothelioma sufferers is quite low - but palliative approaches including chemotherapy for mesothelioma offer some hope and can lengthen life expectancy. If you or someone in your family has been affected by peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma, be aware that there may be legal options available and finding a well-established mesothelioma attorney can help you understand them. We've also produced a mesothelioma information packet with up-to-date information on your legal options and available medical resources. All you have to do is complete the form on this page and we will mail you a packet, at no cost to you.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-225.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd225txt.htm Retrieved 29 December 2010.
NavSource Naval History, USS Pope (DD-225).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/225.htm Retrieved 29 December 2010.