USS Stack (DD-406) was a Benham-class destroyer constructed for the U.S. Navy. She was named in honor of Edward Stack, who was an officer in the US Marine Corps during the American Revolutionary War.
Stack was laid down by the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia on June 25, 1937. Launched on May 5, 1938, she was sponsored by Miss Teresa Stack. Lieutenant Commander Isaiah Olch took command of Stack on November 20, 1939.
Following shakedown, Stack operated with the Pacific Fleet out of Pearl Harbor until June 1941. She began conducting Neutrality Patrol off Bermuda in late November. Stack continued to patrol in the Caribbean following the Pearl Harbor attack until January 1, 1942, at which time she was assigned to patrol duty in Argentina. Two weeks later, she picked up two survivors from the torpedoed SS Bay Rose in an area off Cape Race.
On March 17, Stack collided with Wasp while patrolling out of Casco Bay. The accident caused her number one fireroom to become completely flooded, forcing Stock to return to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for repairs.
In early January, Stack participated in the invasion of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. She then conducted escort and patrol duty for the next several months before screening for Maryland from mid-July and early August. On July 17 and 18, Stack came under attack from Japanese aircraft in the area near New Georgia Island. On the night of August 6, she became involved in the Battle of Vella Gulf, during which she assisted with sinking three Japanese destroyers and damaging a fourth.
In November, Stack joined in the raids against Rabaul. During the ensuing battle, Stack took down one enemy plane and possibly two others. For the remainder of 1943 and for the much of 1944 and 1945, Stack participated in bombardments, assaults and patrol duties in a variety of areas, including New Guinea and North Moluccas.
In December 1945, Stack underwent a reduction of personnel before returning to Pearl Harbor for disposal. She was then assigned to Joint Task Force 1 as part of the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll.
Although Stack survived the testing, she was decommissioned on August 29, 1946 and was sunk by gunfire on April 24, 1948 near Kwajalein. Stack was struck from the Navy list on May 28. She received 12 battle stars for her service during World War II.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Stack (DD-406)
Nearly every compartment aboard Stack had contamination from asbestos fibers. Asbestos was used as insulation in engineering sections, ship's generators, and engines. Even parts of Stack with no heat-related mechanical function contained asbestos, as the mineral was used in putty, glues, caulk, seals and other hardware.
Prolonged exposure to asbestos insulation, particularly broken or brittle asbestos, increases the chance of developing asbestos diseases like mesothelioma. Stack’s collision with Wasp and the damage she suffered during battles in World War II likely damaged installed asbestos materials, thus putting her crew at greater risk.Sources
Stack. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center.