The USS Rodgers (DD-254) served in the US Navy for over two decades in the early 20th century, and then as part of the Royal Navy. She was named for Rear Admiral John Rodgers who served in the Civil War. Rodgers was laid down as a Clemson-class vessel.
Rodgers was laid down in Quincy, Massachusetts by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in September 1918, launched in April 1919, and commissioned in July with Lieutenant Commander A.M. Steekel in command. Carrying a crew of 114, Rodgers was 314 feet, five inches long and was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Rodgers was assigned to Division 28, Destroyers, Atlantic Fleet until the spring of 1922, and was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in July. When World War II began in Europe, she served with the Atlantic Fleet when reactivated in December 1939, but was soon transferred to the United Kingdom and commissioned by the Royal Navy as HMS Sherwood.
While serving in the Royal Navy in November 1940, the former Rodgers was diverted to search for survivors of ships lost from convoy HX 84 and also participated in the hunt for German battleship Admiral Scheer. The former Rodgers joined the 12th Escort Group, Western Approaches Command in Northern Ireland, which was then transferred to Iceland in April 1941. During this deployment, she assisted in the hunt for German battleship Bismarck in May, and also rescued survivors from destroyer HMS Mashona.
In 1942, the former Rodgers was assigned to the 2nd Escort Group, and then the 22nd Escort Group, and served with aircraft carriers on trial runs. She operated as a target ship for aircraft, from April to August, in Scotland, and also served with the Newfoundland Command before returning to Scotland in February 1943 and resuming escort duty. During this deployment, major runs included a convoy escort to Tunisia. The former Rodgers was stripped of parts and weaponry, beached so she could be used as an aircraft target, and scrapped in 1945.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Rodgers (DD-254)
Using asbestos fireproofing in the construction of oceangoing ships was required by law in the United States in the 1930s, after a fire at sea aboard a cruise ship resulted in great loss of life. Rodgers, like most Navy ships at the time, utilized asbestos insulation in large quantities around ship's boilers and engineering spaces, as well as for fireproofing all over the vessel. When an asbestos-based product becomes worn it can become "friable", which means that the fibers can break off and escape into the surrounding air, allowing them to be inhaled or ingested by ship's crew and shipfitters, possibly causing mesothelioma. The damage caused by asbestos fibers occurs when microscopic fibers are inhaled or ingested; they can penetrate the mesothelial lining and occasionally the stomach, leading to scar tissue in the case of pleural plaques and damage at the cellular level in the case of mesothelioma cancer.
Unfortunately, the prognosis in mesothelioma cases is generally not good; most mesothelioma disease patients survive for less than two years once they are diagnosed. Because mesothelioma is a relatively uncommon disease, not all facilities and physicians specialize in the treatment of mesothelioma. If you or someone you know has contracted malignant mesothelioma, you should be aware that there are legal remedies that might be available to you and a qualified mesothelioma attorney can advise you as to what they are. We have also compiled a mesothelioma information package with complete information about legal options and treatment resources, as well as a list of mesothelioma clinics in the United States. Simply complete the form on this page and we'll send you a free packet.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-254.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd254txt.htm Retrieved 31 December 2010.
NavSource Naval History, USS Rodgers (DD-254).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/254.htm Retrieved 31 December 2010.