The USS Rowan (DD-64) was the second Sampson-class destroyer built for the US Navy, with the other ships in her class being USS Sampson (DD-63), USS Davis (DD-65), USS Allen (DD-66), USS Wilkes (DD-67) and USS Shaw (DD-68). She was the second of four Navy ships to be named in the honor of Vice Admiral Stephen C. Rowan, who served from 1826-1889 and saw action during both the Mexican-American and American Civil wars.
Rowan was laid down by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company in Quincy, Massachusetts on May 10, 1915. She was sponsored by Miss Louise McL. Ayres, who was the great-niece of Admiral Rowen, and was launched on March 23, 1916. Five months later, Lieutenant William R. Purnell took command of Rowan when she was commissioned at Boston, Massachusetts on August 22. As was customary with all of the ships in her class, Rowan was outfitted with twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Rowan was initially based at Newport, Rhode Island, where she operated along the Atlantic coast. During the winter of 1916, she participated in winter exercises in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Following the United States entry into World War I, Rowan was based in Norfolk, Virginia and patrolled off the mouth of the York River. After undergoing repairs in New York, she departed to Queenstown, Ireland. She arrived there with Division 7 on May 27, 1917.
Throughout the war, Rowan escorted convoys to British and French ports while also conducting antisubmarine patrols. On May 28, 1918, she joined forces with two other destroyers to attack a U-boat. Rowan dropped 14 depth charges and, although the German submarine was not identified, Rowan reported seeing oil cover on the surface where the submarine had been attacked.
On December 26, 1918, Rowan departed Queenstown for New York. She arrived there nearly two weeks later. Here, she conducted exercises along the Caribbean and the east coast until she was placed in reduced commission at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. In the summer of 1920, she was designated DD-64. In March the following year, she rejoined the Atlantic Fleet for a year before being decommissioned on June 19, 1922 in Philadelphia. She remained inactive until she was struck from the Navy list on January 7, 1936. She was sold for scrap on April 20, 1939.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Rowan (DD-64)
Sampson-class vessels like the Rowan made extensive use of asbestos in the ship's boilers and engine rooms, as well as for pipe coverings and in pumps all over the vessel. Asbestos was used for its excellent heat and fire resistance, and because it was cheap, durable, and abundant. Unfortunately, the mineral was later discovered to pose significant health risks to anyone that inhaled it. The most serious asbestos disease is mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of internal organs.
Since asbestos was so abundant in naval vessels of this time period, sailors that served aboard the USS Rowan were likely exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers during the course of their service. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and served in the Navy, you can pursue compensation for your injury. Complete the form on this page and we'll send you an information packet that details mesothelioma, current treatment practices, and your legal rights and options, all at no cost to you.Sources