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USS Sampson (DD-394)

USS Sampson (DD-394)

USS Sampson (DD-394) was a Somers-class destroyer for the US Navy. She was the second of four naval vessels to be named in honor of William Thomas Sampson, a US Navy rear admiral who served during the Spanish-American War.


Sampson was laid down by the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine on April 8, 1936. Launched on April 16, 1938, she was sponsored by Mrs. Louisa Smith Thayer. Commander W. Granat took command of Sampson on August 19, 1938 at the Boston Navy Yard.

Naval History

Following shakedown, Sampson was assigned to the Battle Force of the US Fleet. She then participated in combined fleet maneuvers in Puerto Rico and Cuba before returning to Yorkstown, Virginia. After a short stay, she sailed to San Diego, California, which is where she remained for the next year as she participated in fleet exercises. Following her operations along the western seaboard, Sampson sailed to Norfolk, Virginia, where she engaged in Neutrality Patrol.

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Sampson conducted patrol off Newport, Rhode Island. She later joined the Southeast Pacific Forces as she participated in the search for submarine S-26 (SS-131), which had sunk after colliding with PC-460 near Isla San Jose in Panama Bay. Shortly after, she sailed to Balboa and spent the next year engaged in a series of coastal patrol sweeps spanning from Balboa to the waters off South America.

On October 3, 1943, Sampson fired upon an enemy submarine while she was escorting a convoy to Espiritu Santo from Noumea. Although a hit was not confirmed, her crew did see a heavy oil slick after dropping depth charges after the vessel submerged.

Sampson spent much of 1944 providing escort duties, conducting patrols and completing other routine wartime duties. On July 4, she traveled to the New York Navy Yard and became the flagship of Captain H.T. Read, who was the Commander of Task Force 63. On July 24, she sailed as the flagship while performing escort duties for Convoy USG-49. Sampson ultimately made four round trips to the Mediterranean before arriving at Boston on May 19, 1945.

Over the next several months, Sampson conducted training cruises and other training operations before being decommissioned on November 1, 1945. Her name was struck from the Navy list on November 28 of that year and she was sold for scrap on March 29, 1946. Sampson earned one battle star for her service during World War II.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Sampson (DD-394)

Installing asbestos-containing materials in the design of naval ships was mandated by the US Congress in the 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard the SS Morro Castle caused the deaths of more than 100 passengers and crew. Ships like Sampson deployed asbestos in large quantities, especially in ship's boilers and engine spaces, and in fireproofing in other parts of the ship. When asbestos is worn or damaged it can become friable, which means that fibers can break off and escape into the air, where they are breathed in by naval personnel and dockworkers, possibly causing mesothelioma. Asbestos has been known for centuries for its resistance to fire and heat, but it was also demonstrated to be the primary cause of life-threatening conditions such as asbestosis and pleural mesothelioma.

Since mesothelioma is often diagnosed after it has reached advanced stages, the prognosis in mesothelioma cases is usually poor. If you have developed pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma, you have legal rights and may be eligible for financial compensation. A good mesothelioma lawyer can explain those rights to you and counsel you about a plan of action.

Additional information about the disease is available in our mesothelioma information kit. It is a complete resource guide with information about legal options and choices for medical treatment, as well as a list of open clinical trials nationwide. Simply fill in the form on this page and we will send you a free packet.



Sampson. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center. Retrieved 1 January 2011.

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